President Obama, in what may be reported historically as the most cost effective way to handle international crisis and a display of statesmanship not seen over half a century, may have just put an end to US involvement in other countries’ affairs; at least, history would report that he has set the precedence for such. Despite mounting pressure from Republicans to re-engage in the Iraq internal conflicts, President Obama is right to decide not to get involved. To send (300) military advisors, provide intelligence and logistical support are not just smart, it’s brilliant. It spares our soldiers from being sent into whimsy escapades at the cost of their lives (and for what?), it spares the Country from having to open its wallet to fund another fantasy idea of taking democracy abroad. Best of all, it spares the servicemen’s family of unnecessary emotional tolls. I wholeheartedly applaud President Obama for not caving in to the pressure of the raging political debates over the best course of action. I submit that the American people would be best served if future presidents adopt similar approach to international crisis.
The Iraq War was one of the many escapades the US Government had embarked into without any true justification. It is one of the many dilemmas We The People would wish away in a blink. It is however the greatest irony the American Democracy has known. Article I section 8 of the US Constitution states that “The Congress shall have the power … To declare war…” As such, Congress had officially declared and taken the country to war in five major occasions:
- In 1812 against Great Britain (War of 1812)
- In 1846 against Mexico (Mexican-American War)
- In 1898 against Spain (Spanish-American War)
- In 1917 against Germany and Austria-Hungary (World War I)
- In 1941 against Japan, Germany, Italy; in 1942 against Bulgaria, Hungary and Rumania (World War II)
After World War II however, there was a major shift in declaration of wars. US Presidents had engaged in major “wars” without Congressional Declarations of War or Approvals; President Harry Truman’s Korean War in 1950, President Lyndon B. Johnson’s and President Nixon’s Vietnam War 1965-1975 are the first two that started the trend. Other presidents including Ronald Reagan followed their footsteps. However, it wasn’t so for George W. Bush; by a vote of 297 Yeas, 133 Nays in the House of Representatives and 77 Yeas, 23 Nays in the Senate, a resolution was passed on October 10, 2002 providing Mr. Bush the authorization to go to war with Iraq. Mr. Bush did not circumvent the process like his predecessors; he followed the letter of the Constitution.
Irrespective of your views on Mr. Bush’s administration in handling a war he started on false premises, concocted evidence and aftermath cover-ups, it was up to Congress to approve or reject the president’s request. In a democracy, in a true democracy, the Congress and the Senate would have engaged the constituents, We The People, and educated them before voting on any issue of such importance. Just like George W. Bush sought Congress’ approval, Congress should have consulted with We The People before making the decision to grant or deny the request to go to war. Well, that’s how it is supposed to work in a real democracy. Did you recall having been contacted by your Rep or Senator prior to his vote granting George W. Bush authorization to take the country to war? Did you attend a meeting where s/he explained what was going on? I would guess not. I did not.
Much like everything else the Representatives do in Washington, they have no need for your approval; We The People do not matter. As such the country went to war, an unprovoked war. One billion dollar (still counting), 4,500 dead soldiers and 30,490 wounded servicemen later, the Iraq War orchestrators – minus George W. Bush whom I applaud for staying away from all this – are now paraded – like rock stars – on News Networks offering their expert opinion on solving the current problem in Iraq, a sectarian fight that’s spreading over the country and threaten to explode into an all out civil war.
Should US get involved? The same group that took the country to war, the same group that fabricated the evidence for war, the same group that architected the cover-ups is now passing its business card to any shameless Host and News Networks that offer them a microphone and a stage. News Networks have become nothing more than propaganda machines for one or the other political Party. Irrespective of political affiliation, one with a grain of patriotism and decency should not find it hard to turn away from those experts in all Iraq matters and those News Networks that promote their illusions. At the end of the Bush administration, the United States standing in the world stage was the worst in history. Those rock stars Iraq experts would serve the country best by hiding into their cocoons. To Mr. Bush’s credit, he stayed away from the political stage, making him much smarter now than when he was in office and also much smarter than those who are posing as Iraq’s experts.
It’s not wise for the United States or any other Superpower to get caught in a foreign country civil war. Obama made the right call. Everyone should set partisanship aside to recognize that the move is indeed best for the country.
Follow Mike Ducheine on Twitter: @mducheiney
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