Do we really want to give the next President Bush the right to wage war without end?
It was bad enough that George W. Bush dragged us into a disastrous war in Iraq when he was president.
But what if he'd had sweeping powers during his administration to make war anywhere in the world without the consent of Congress? It's what Dick Cheney dreamed of, and it's on the verge of becoming an all-too-real nightmare.
Congress will soon vote on a "sleeper provision" hidden inside defense legislation currently pending before Congress. If passed it would be what the ACLU describes as "the single biggest grant of unchecked war authority from Congress to the executive branch in modern American history."
Tell Congress: Don't give unchecked power to wage war without end to future presidents, including the next President Bush!
In the Senate this legislation is being advanced by Sen. John McCain and in the House by Rep. Buck McKeon.
The proposed legislation would allow the president to use military force anywhere in the world where terrorism suspects are purported to be present, even if no U.S. citizen has been harmed, the United States has not been attacked or is not under threat of attack.
The legislation would even allow the president to use military force within the U.S. against American citizens.
These are not provisions sought by President Obama who has made it clear that the executive branch already has the tools it needs to fight terrorism at home and abroad.
Tell Congress: Don't give unchecked power to wage war without end to future presidents, or the right to use the military against citizens on American soil.
The power to declare war is clearly assigned to Congress in the Constitution. Even during the rush to war back in 2002, Congress held fifteen hearings, and passed legislation that cited specific harms, set limits, and defined an objective, before authorizing war.
If Congress expands the president's power to wage war without checks from the legislative branch, it will be nearly impossible to rein it back in. No president -- current or future -- should have the right to wage war with no mechanism other than the ballot box to ensure accountability.
Tell Congress: Don't give up your Constitutional power to authorize war.
After the September 11th attacks, Congress launched a rollback of our civil liberties that is still largely intact despite the election of a new president. Authoritarian powers once given over are much harder to take back. That's why we must soundly defeat this legislation before it ever has the chance of going into effect.
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