Friday, March 18, 2011

On the Road to Another Unconstitutional War?

Korea, Vietnam, Iraq1, Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq2 all have something in common:  wars the US pursued without the Declaration of War explicitly required in our Constitution by both houses of Congress.   Call them military actions, joint efforts pursuant to UN resolutions, whatever.   Grant that they were justified, for security or ethical reasons, or not.   What they all have in common is that they were (and are) illegal.

And they by and large have not been very successful, with Vietnam the least, and Iraq and Afghanistan not very far behind.   Some of these started with small commitments of our military, others with massive "shock and awe".   But unlike World Wars 1 and 2 - the last two wars which we did declare and therefore pursued legally - we achieved no clear-cut victories.  Korea is still split, Vietnam went totally over to the adversary, and the fates of Iraq and Afghanistan are still in contention.  Only Serbia can be counted as the one sort-of success.

And now, President Obama has told us that we've moved to the verge of another unconstitutional war.  The US will help enforce a no-fly zone in Libya.  That means taking out Libyan air defenses and shooting down their planes, if necessary.  Very close to war - indeed, actually in a phase a war, by any reasonable standard.

Once again we'll be gambling - that his action turns out more like Serbia than Vietnam.

But we'd be better off not going down that road again at all.

*Noted added 19 March 2011:  And the US has just launched its first missile against Libya - so much for staying out of the action ...

10-min podcast on this subject
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