Message to the Swamp: American voters still are supposed to be in charge. That means they get to decide who gets elected. For example, in 2016, they elected a man named Donald Trump. He is still the president. Go suck an egg if you don’t like it. It also means that American voters get to choose where our soldiers, sailors and airmen get deployed around the world. They choose that by electing “representatives” to Congress, who vote to declare wars. They also get to choose the commander in chief of America’s mighty military. (Again, see previous paragraph about a man named Donald Trump, who is still president. And feel free to go suck another egg.) In addition, American voters get to choose — again, through the “representatives” they have elected — how much money we spend on bombs and ammunition and where we deploy them. Most important, American voters choose where all that firepower gets launched and who, exactly, gets killed by American bombs and bullets. That is the way this is supposed to work. For more than two years, Britain under Prime Ministers Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill begged American President Franklin D. Roosevelt to join the fight against Nazi Germany. Roosevelt was more than sympathetic. But he understood that he could not do so unless and until the American people understood the fight, knew who the enemy was, comprehended the risk of getting involved and supported the mission. Then — and only then (with a little push from the Japanese navy) — could Roosevelt join Churchill to defeat the greatest threat to the civilized world in the 20th century. And with the approval and enthusiasm of the American voter, the enemy was annihilated. There are a lot of differences between the global threat Roosevelt defeated in Germany and the global threat Mr. Trump faces now in the Syrian civil war. But one thing remains the same: American voters are still in charge. Therein lies the great political sickness of our time. American voters of every stripe are nearly unified against U.S. involvement in these endless wars in places like Syria at the very same moment when American politicians in Washington of every stripe are nearly unified in favor of same said wars. The disconnect between voters back home and politicians in Washington is cavernous. Mr. Trump is one of the only politicians to hear the voice of the people and obey it. Of course, these very same politicians could be brave adults about it and Congress could vote to declare war in Syria. But that might cost them an election back home. A common response around here when you suggest that Congress should vote to declare war is: “Declare war on whom?” Exactly! Even these people don’t know whom to fight over there. Yet it is the American people (and Mr. Trump) who are so deeply immoral for wanting to get out of this insane, faraway fight. The other explanation you hear from people around here is that we are not really at war over there. Sure, we are helping kill people and all, but we are actually on a “peacekeeping” mission. OK. That’s probably the biggest reason to get out of Syria. All our “peacekeeping” is not working.
Thanks to Charles Hurt for that op/ed. Charles makes a good point.. Ever since the end of WWII Congress has abdicated its role in the process. Even the Korean and Vietnam Wars were never technically declared by Congress. And, now.. We’ve been involved in several long-term military wars in the middle east over the last two decades which has cost the American taxpayers BILLIONS, and thousands of lost American lives. As someone who went to Afghanistan as a “field grade” Army officer, I’m proud of that service, and strongly believe that our involvement was appropriate AND in our national security interests. That said, I also recognize Charles’ points here and agree that either Congress needs to step up, or shut up.