Make Opposition to Unconstitutional War a Litmus Test for Washington
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To end the persistence of unconstitutional war, we must make it a prerequisite of being President of the United States or a Member of Congress that one has to regularly swear unbreakable allegiance to the Constitutional idea that Congress, not the President, decides when to use military force.
The best way to prepare for this task is to do it, and to keep doing it, continuously, through the 2018 primaries, through the 2018 general election, through the 2020 primaries, through the 2020 general election. Every candidate for President, every candidate for Senate, every candidate for the House, must pledge allegiance to the Constitutional idea that Congress, not the President, decides when to use military force. Many things divide Americans. But we all share the Constitution. There isn’t one Constitution for red states and another one for blue states. There’s just one Constitution for all of us.
A key way to make sitting Members of Congress pledge allegiance to opposing unconstitutional war is to make them vote on it, including by invoking the War Powers Resolution to force votes on unconstitutional wars. Whether we’re talking about unconstitutional war in Yemen, or in Syria, or in Ukraine, a fundamental idea is that opposition to unconstitutional war is a litmus test. Members of Congress who pass the test with their votes, their signatures, and their statements will be praised and supported. Members of Congress who fail the test with their votes and with their silence will be sanctioned and have support withdrawn.
When 44 Senators voted in March to end unconstitutional U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen, it was the first time in three years either house had voted up or down on that war. It was also the first time in three years that either house voted up or down on any current war, Constitutional or not.
Ending unconstitutional war would not end all war. But it would end a lot of war. It would save a lot of lives. It would stop the diversion of a lot of resources to war. We have to start somewhere. Let’s start with the wars that are indisputably unconstitutional.
According to Section 2c of the War Powers Resolution, which is the law of the land,
“The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”
Urge your Senators and Representative to do all they can to make opposition to unconstitutional war a litmus test for Washington by signing our petition.
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