Why Are We Still in Syria, Mr. President?
Last week, President Donald Trump made the unequivocal statement that the United States was pulling its troops out of Syria. “Bring soldiers home,” he said. “Let someone else fight over this long-bloodstained sand.”
But then he overturned himself later in the same speech saying, “We’ve secured the oil and therefore a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the area where they have the oil. And we’re going to be protecting it and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.” Later on, the President mentioned sending ExxonMobil into Syria to extract the oil “properly.”
This week former Congressman Ron Paul commented:
Where does President Trump think he gets the legal or moral authority to send U.S. troops to illegally occupy foreign territory and determine what that foreign country can or cannot do with its resources?
The good Congressman was both speaking constitutionally and correctly.
As we discussed last week, quoting George Washington, “The Constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress. Therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.”
The operative clauses to look up here are Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, of the U.S. Constitution, which grants Congress the power to declare war. The President, meanwhile, derives the power to direct the military after a Congressional declaration of war from Article II, Section 2, which names the President Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Because there has been no declaration of war by Congress, the president has no authority to keep troops in Syria or steal another country’s resources.
Imagine with me for a moment that my house had been vandalized and my family and I were painfully assaulted.
In an attempt to apprehend those responsible for the tremendous damage to my home and family, I chased after the perpetrators. Following a long series of clues left by the felons, I realized they were in your home unbeknown to you. I immediately called local law enforcement and together we surround your home. After some destruction to your property, we apprehended the criminals and they were brought to justice.
As we were in the midst of the struggle, however, both the police and myself notice some very valuable articles of artwork in your home. To your surprise, I leave a security guard in your home to watch after the artwork until I decide what I would like to do with it.
This, of course, would be outrageous and unrealistic…or would it be?
We the People have been entrusted to defend the Constitution. In his Farewell Address, George Washington declared, “the free Constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained.”
I certainly hope that the American people rightfully resist this unconstitutional use of power and sacredly maintain the administration of the executive branch.
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