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Declare war, or don't fight

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My promise to you: 

I will not support war, without a declaration of war.



When was America's last war? I was thinking it was World War II, but full confession – I had to look it up. And most Iowans will probably have to do the same.


That's right – the Korean War, the First Indochina War, the Vietnam War, the Laotian Civil War, the Cambodian Civil War, the Soviet War in Afghanistan, the First Gulf of Sidra Incident, the Invasion of Grenada, the Invasion of Panama, the Persian Gulf War, Operation Restore Hope (Somalia), the Bosnian War, Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti), the Kosovo War, The War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, the military intervention in Libya, the War on Poverty, the Drug War, the War on Terrorism – none of these were wars. Funny how many people got killed in these not-wars. Funny how much they cost. Funny how they all seemed to justify eroding some of our fundamental liberties, you know, the ones in the Bill of Rights.


What's going on?


The way I see it this is going on – the President and Congress have abdicated their Constitutional responsibilities. They want to fight, but they don't want to declare war, as outlined in Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution. Jefferson and probably every other founding father would have been appalled.


In case you haven't been paying attention, war is hell. Soldiers die. Innocent civilians die. Mothers, children, babies, the sick, the infirm, the weak, the old, they all die when the young and the reckless go to war. Wars create hatred that can last for centuries. Wars destroy buildings and roads and bridges and airports and ports and dams and gorgeous churches and synagogues and mosques and temples that took decades and sometimes centuries to build. Wars waste crops, kill animals, and starve people. Wars fill the hospitals. Wars empty the public purse.


War is hell.


When the President and Congress do not declare war, but instead authorize a 'military engagement' they are not taking war seriously. By calling it something else, they attempt to reduce its importance. Just a little military engagement, dear, nothing to worry about … we'll be giving them a ring.


Of course I am anti-war. Who isn't? But I am also a realist, and sometimes war really is the necessary action. At that time the President and Congress should declare war. Otherwise, they should not fight one.


War is hell.



There are none. War is serious. War is hell. There is no joke in war.

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