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    Members of the House of Representatives meet on Capitol Hill January 6, 2015 in Washington, DC

    In Pilate's Footsteps: Congress Washes Its Hands of Responsibility for Wars

    © AFP 2017/ BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI
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    Paradoxically, although the US Congress "loves war," it habitually shirks its Constitutional obligation to "authorize" America's overseas operations, Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams note, warning that it smells danger.

    US congressmen "love war," why then they don't like to have to vote for it, former US Republican congressman Ron Paul and political analyst Daniel McAdams ask in their latest Ron Paul Liberty Report.

    "Congress perpetuates a willful misunderstanding of the role of the President in times of war. How many times you hear them saying 'the President is the Commander in Chief'. But they fail to point out to the American people that Congress is the authorizing body and the President is not the Commander in Chief until there is a declaration of war. So, I think they purposely conflate that because they don't want to take responsibilities for these wars," Daniel McAdams, the Executive Director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, underscored.

    "When you vote for a war you are on record having supported it," McAdams stressed.

    Therefore, US congressmen, like biblical Pilate, are habitually washing their hands of the responsibility for authorizing military actions.

    By shirking its Constitutional obligations Congress is paving the way for general policy recklessness, the experts warned.

    Meanwhile, the US has found itself in a vicious cycle of perpetual overseas campaigns, having to deploy its military forces again and again to conflict zones — Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "Once you started using force to solve problems, there is no stopping of this. I think you must draw a much sharper line that they [Washington leadership] don't have this Constitutional authority, they don't have the moral authority to use force to mold the world in the way they see it. And it costs a lot of money and it is very damaging," Dr. Paul continued.

    To complicate matters further, the US foreign policy is very expensive, the experts noted, referring to the fact that Washington bears the burden of maintaining its numerous military bases around the world and protecting its NATO allies in Europe, Asia Pacific and elsewhere. However, it is the American people who are paying the price.

    And still some people believe that war will be good for the economy, Dr. Paul remarked.

    "How that can be the case, I don't know," he said, pointing to the fact that wars are exhausting the US economy and the people.

    American historian Andrew J. Bacevich shares a similar stance. In his recent article for Politico magazine, Bacevich calls into question Washington's foreign policy based on use of force.

    "To an unseemly and ultimately self-destructive degree, we have endorsed the misguided militarization of US foreign policy," the American historian points out.

    "Perhaps most important, there is this: Thus far, at least, Americans themselves appear oblivious to what is occurring. Policymakers have successfully insulated the public from the war's negative effects. Reliance on a professional military places the burden of service and sacrifice onto a very small percentage of citizens and lets everyone else off the hook. The resort to deficit spending to underwrite the war's costs sloughs off onto future generations the onus of paying the bills," Bacevich highlights.

    The experts insist that the US leadership should reconsider the US' foreign policy strategy. The question remains open whether the new US president will take steps in the right direction. 

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    Tags:
    Middle East, US foreign policy, military action, interventionism, constitution, Afghanistan War, Iraq War, NATO, US Congress, Pentagon, Ron Paul, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, United States
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