This is a letter in response to a question about my Constitutional stand on war. Hit the contact button and let me know your thoughts on this.
Before I give you my position on wars, I want to give you my position on American security. I don't believe we as Americans have an obligation to build up and financially support all other countries. I believe in the principles of self determination, the same self determination that drove America away from Great Brittan and towards independence.
I served our country as a US Marine infantryman, hand to hand combat instructor, jungle scout, and squad leader in Americas war against terror in the aftermath of 911 and I participated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, I was a dedicated Marine. I have absolutely no problem with America sending me, or my brothers in arms, to destroy those who wish to destroy our Constitution and the American life as we have known it.
During the Presidential election of 2004 my stomach turned and my blood boiled when I heard Senator Kerry say, "I was for the war before I was against it." The first question I wondered was what made him change his mind and what principle is this man using that keeps him guessing as to whether he is for a war or against it. Senator Kerry was not alone either, John Murtha (a former Marine) and several others often voted in favor of the war until all the Bush bashing became popular and then he got on the band wagon and began to vote and speak out against "Bush's War." Meanwhile, over in Iraq and Afghanistan, my friends and your countrymen continued to die.
It wasn't long before I figured out that these politicians were using the blood of American troops as political leverage and they had created a loop hole to allow them to do this too.
Article I Section 8 of the Constitution states that Congress must declare war. The problem with our current wars is that there was no formal declaration of war. Our Congress created a "resolution of war" instead and all they did was resolve to give the President the authority to send American troops to war.
Our founding fathers intended for this power to remain with Congress because they understood better than anyone else that war is a serious commitment that will either change the lives of thousands or end the lives of thousands altogether and therefore the people must have a say in the commitment. It is the Congress which provides the will of the people with the most direct route the actions of the federal government and if it is the American people who are going to suffer the loss of life and make the countless sacrifices, then a war commitment should be left entirely up to the will of the people and peoples will should manifest itself through representation in Congress. I have no problem killing our enemies, I have more professional experience as a Marine than I do in any civilian profession but the truth of these two wars is that Congress did not declare war before we invaded two countries and these wars are therefore unconstitutional.
We can't hold congress accountable for the wars for the following two reasons:
1) They can all say that they didn't vote for war (because they did not vote to declare war as per Art I Sec 8 US CONST)
2) At the same time they can say they DID vote for war because they did vote to give the president the power to make a war commitment.
After the signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin told his fellow signers, "Gentlemen, we must now hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately."
The point is this: Our founding fathers put their name to the DECLARATION of INDIPENDENCE and then sent it to King George III to basically say, "If you get through our troops, you know who to come for." Our founding fathers had something that is seriously lacking in Washington D.C. today, its called CHARACTER.
Our politicians are using the blood of American troops as political leverage and I for one am tired of it, after all, it might have been my blood along with my two friends. If anyone doesn't believe this is happening then why is it that our Nave SEALs , Marines and Army Rangers, are constantly being court-martialed for doing what we send them over to do? Why is it that they put hate-crime laws into defenses spending bills? A bill that funds the troops who protect our freedom and at the same time this bill takes freedom of speech from us; so what's the point? It’s the same political shell game and it’s costing us our freedom and costing our men and women in uniform there lives. The federal government is becoming less accountable and more powerful, this is dangerous.
The doctrine of warfare states that if you get hit within your perimeter, the first thing you should do is to secure your perimeter. My question is this: Why are our borders still unsecured after 911? Why are we going overseas before we secure our borders? Its a reasonable question I think. If our troops failed to secure their perimeter after they were hit, we would no doubt relieve them from duty for incompetency.
I am not against justly fought wars. I would have voted for a Declaration of War in Afghanistan for sure. Looking back, I can say that there were several important questions that needed to be answered before a vote of Declaration of War could be made in Iraq, but then again, hind sight is twenty twenty.
A declaration of war would also solve an entire host of problems we are currently experiencing:
1) It would require that an official Mission statement be acknowledged. In other words, what is our objective, how do we reach our objective, and what do we do when our objective is met.
2) It would bring back something we used to have called accountability.
3) It would prevent us from "nation building" in the same nation where we are carrying out combat operations, this doesn’t even make any sense anyway. Why are we spending money to build buildings in a nation where we are always blowing up the buildings almost on a daily basis? Talk about perpetual going into perpetual debt! We spend money on building and the bombs use use to blow them up if we have to. At the end of the day we don’t have the building anymore, we don’t have the bomb anymore. I believe it all could have been avoided if we would have just followed the Constitution before we went to war.
I am one of the troops, I support the troops, I just don't support the spineless politicians who are to big of cowards to go on record stating what they actually believed. I don't support the political games being played especially when they could have been avoided. I believe, and understand with absolute clarity, that our founding fathers were right. If we are going to go to war, let’s do it the way our founding fathers said to do it: require that our elected leadership sign there name to a DECLARATION of WAR.
A great American General once said, "There is no substitute for victory." If we are going to have war, let’s have war. My friend should never have been required to ask permission to return fire into a mosque. Politicians wanted us to fight a sensitive war and they got their way and now the last words that ever left the lips of this Marine was a request to defend himself; thank congress for depriving two American parents of their American son; no doubt it made the jihadist feel good to know that this Marine couldn't return fire, our politicians will pull out all the stops to be sensitive (as long as they aren't the ones wearing the body armor I suppose). Declaration of War is the only way to acquire the definition of victory and expose the gutless politicians who would like to create these absurd rules of engagement.
Let me summarize my view. I am 100% against the way these wars have been handled, from the very beginning, and I am 100% FOR the absolute destruction of our enemies. I hope I have made my view crystal clear to you sir, and I hope you understand where I and the Framers of the Constitution are coming from.
Missouri State Representative