The President’s job is never easy. Each decision is likely to make someone angry or upset. And it seems that each can also be quite controversial. But there is one thing we should all agree on: keeping America and her citizens safe is always the right decision. And yet, when President Donald Trump made the recent decision to carry out an airstrike on Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani to avenge and protect her people, many were critical.
And most of the balking seems to be coming from the Democratic Party. But why is that?
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow party leaders claim that the President has overstepped and taken advantage of his power as commander-in-chief by ordering the airstrike on Soleimani because he did not first get permission from Congress to do so.
The Speaker wrote that she would be proposing a new war powers resolution, “mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Ira cease within 30 days.”
In addition, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer says that Trump has no authority to start a war with Iran. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin and Senator Tim Kaine are upset enough to have introduced a new war powers resolution that would block Trump from any further action on Iran.
According to a statement put out by the two senators on Friday, “The resolution requires that any hostilities with Iran must be explicitly authorized by a declaration of war or specific authorization for use of military force, but does not prevent the United States from defending itself from imminent attack.”
However, it seems that these same leaders had no problem with the president carrying out similar attacks overseas just a few short years before without Congressional consent. In fact, former President Barack Obama was pretty much given free rein to do whatever he wanted regarding military operations.
And according to The Washington Times, he didn’t seek approval for any of it. They reported that in 2015 that by April of that year, Obama had carried out over 2,800 military airstrikes and other operations in both Syria and Libya.
“The U.S. military has been conducting strikes in Iraq for 10 months, and began striking directly at targets in Syria last September as part of Mr. Obama’s announced campaign to degrade the capabilities of the Islamic State.”
They noted that Obama had carried out at least 1,458 strikes in Iraq and 1,343 in Syria.
So how did he get away with all of these and keep Congress off of his back without their permission or sometimes even their knowledge?
Well, he claims that his powers as Commander-in-Chief gave him that right. In addition, his administration used the “Authorization for Use of Military Force” (AUMF) resolution that was passed in September of 2001. The AUMF says the “the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States.”
The Times also mentioned Obama’s use of a 2002 AUMF resolution that allowed for the removal of Saddam Hussein from leadership in Iraq. And even after new authorization was created by not passed by Congress, Obama continued to use military force in Iraq and Syria without anyone else’s say so.
We might excuse his unsanctioned actions against the Islamic State as fighting justly against terrorism, not all of his military efforts were quite so noble.
For instance, in 2011, he used American military forces to help cripple the Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gadhafi. Do you think he took to Congress before this action? Absolutely not. And as of June 2011, nearly three months later, with airstrikes to Libya still taking place, the former president had still not looked for such approval.
This means that he knowingly and deliberately violated the 1973 War Powers Resolution, also known as the War Powers Act, which states that the president must either get congressional approval before such action or make sure that US forces are pulled out within 60 days.
And yet many in Congress at that time had no problem with his violations. Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time, even backed it, saying, “We came, we saw, he died.”
So why is Trump being called out for this one-time act against a known terrorist? He even let Congress know about what he was going to do and still, it wasn’t good enough.
Their patriotism is dead, just like Soleimani.