David Kirkpatrick

October 14, 2009

Congress and war power

A very sane proposal from the Cato Institute on returning the power to make war back to Congress and bringing back some semblance of the separation of power. The executive branch has co-opted war power, and the results have been not so stellar. The framers of the Constitution created the separation of power for a good reason and the recent power grab by the executive branch really exposes the sound reasoning behind that concept.

One of the reasons I voted for Obama is I thought he offered the best opportunity to get U.S. government back in balance after the Bush 43 administration. I didn’t see any of the GOP candidates making any substantial changes to Cheney’s rollback to the Nixon administration (and then some) and I certainly thought Clinton would have happily grabbed the full reins of an overly empowered White House.

From CATO Today in today’s inbox:

CATO HANDBOOK: RECLAIMING THE WAR POWER

No constitutional principle is more important than congressional control over the decision to go to war. In affairs of state, no more momentous decision can be made. For that reason, in a democratic republic, it is essential that that decision be made by the most broadly representative body: the legislature. In the Reclaiming the War Power chapter of the Cato Handbook for Policymakers, Gene Healy explains why Congress should:


– Cease trying to shirk its constitutional responsibilities in matters of war and peace,


– Insist that hostilities not be initiated by the executive branch unless and until Congress has authorized such action,


– Rediscover the power of the purse as a means of restricting the executive’s ability to wage unnecessary wars, and


– Reform the War Powers Resolution to make it an effective vehicle for restricting unilateral war making by the president.