Foreign Policy and National Defense
One of the most significant issues we deal with in the United States Senate is foreign policy. And in my opinion, one of the most important votes a Senator could take is on the declaration of war to send our men and women of the Armed Forces into battle. If the military action is justified and there is no other recourse, I will cast my vote with a heavy heart.
I believe that the primary Constitutional function of the federal government is national defense, bar none. I believe that when we must go to war, we must have a Congressional declaration of war as the Constitution mandates, and we fight to win. And we must fight only under U.S. command and not the UN.
I believe that defending this country is the primary and most important Constitutional function of our federal government.
The President of the United States often faces unforeseeable dilemmas that demand tough decisions based on reliable intelligence. The recent events in Syria presented President Obama with such a scenario. But how our Commander in Chief chose to handle this new dilemma raises serious questions about his understanding of constitutional checks and balances.
The Founding Fathers understood the seriousness of war and thus included in our Constitution a provision stating that only Congress can declare war. The decision to wage war should not be taken cavalierly. As Madison wrote:
The Constitution supposes what the history of all Governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature.
While the President is the commander of our armed forces, he is not a king. He may involve those forces in military conflict only when authorized by Congress or in response to an imminent threat.
We are borrowing money from countries like China to pay for our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and it would be interesting to know how many Americans believe we should continue borrowing money and saddling future generations with debt to pay for our current actions in Syria, or anywhere else a new military adventure is taken up.
We are already in two wars that we are not paying for. We are waging war across the Middle East on a credit card, one whose limit is rapidly approaching. And to involve our troops in further conflicts that hold no vital U.S. interests is wrong.