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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 2016/ 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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    • avatar
      michaelin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
      cezum, another sad loss...:(
    • support
      The entire function of the past 70 years' US military folly has been to re-direct the anger of the US citizenry away from their disgust at the conduct at their politicians' actions and transparent pocket-lining greed against fictitious and most often implausible external threats.

      For no other reason but to amuse a group of very experienced veterans during a commemorative dinner, a distinguished military scholar from the US Army War College held forth with maps, charts & stickpins to illustrate the exact requirements for conquering, subjecting and conducting the military administration of the USA by a foreign invader. His conclusion was that it would require no less than 120 fully-reinforced divisions of invading infantry, a sea forced of no less than 900 combat vessels (not counting transport & aircraft carriers), 12 air wings and 15,000 armoured combat vehicles. This requirement does not include maintenance, spares, nor other logistical support.

      Where is such a "threat?" Over seventy years ago between Germany and Japan that was a reality. Now? Nowhere to be seen.

      The US military exists for no other purpose now except to impose internal controls through fear.
    • avatar
      ptcjm
      What is interesting is that if there isn't constitutional jurisdiction in function:

      ....for maintaining a prosperous policy towards the citizens of the country as basic needs of international standard for civilised state.
      ....for conducting international relations in accordance with international laws
      ....for executing impeachment towards politicians and governments who brake laws of international agreements.

      Etc.,etc.,etc.,
      The state is lost just like the empire of Rome.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, I will also like to add that apart from the ostrich-like posture of a thoroughly discredited congress, the bogus notion of 'American Exceptionalism' is complicit in legitimating these illegal wars. Exceptional identity confers on one the ability to act as one pleases, to disregard global opinion and to elevate hubris and arrogance of power to a state of high morality. It is time genuine American patriots sustain the project of weaning an insouciant public from the moral damage occasioned by exceptionalist thinking and behaviour.
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toUDENTA O UDENTA(Show commentHide comment)
      UDENTA O UDENTA, This is an extremely difficult road we have before us. The origins of American Exceptionalism go all the way back to the Puritan and Calvinist origins of the country. It originally came from the religious idea that they are the chosen people of God. Usually along with the Jews and sometimes the English. We are trying to counteract an idea that has had centuries to become a part of a peoples consciousness. Even though few Americans now are aware of when and how their thinking originated, which they are immersed in from birth.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, thanks for this brief but fascinating historical excursion. A religio-social construct such as this which is deeply embedded in a people's ontology is always difficult to combat. That said, as a non-American, I am glad that great mind such as you are helping in deconstructing an idea that could be very dangerous if the experience of 20th century is anything to go by. I believe that President Putin alluded to this in an OP-ED in one of America's leading newspapers during the regime change bombing debate about Syria in 2013- he made specific reference to American Exceptionalism while drawing tragic lessons from Nazi Aryan Exceptionalism of the early to mid-20th century. Though the agendas proclaimed by these two Exceptional ideologies are far apart in their declared moral intent and purpose, its always a slippery rope to travel when others who abhor the culture and mindset of others being 'set apart' oppose it vigorously. The result could be a neo-messianic crusade to destroy all that stand in the way of the Exceptional visioners (Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc etc); a destructive adventure that is as unhuman as the savage plunder of the global terrorists the Exceptionalists avow as an implacable enemy.
    • Angus Gallagher
      This is how the machine keeps ticking over and in both the US and EU the liberal left has continued using force in multiple theatres with a seamless continuation of previous policies. If anything, the hypocrisy is worse, transparency much less, and the liberal open society rhetoric more insidious than the less sophisticated versions employed prior to 2008. Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize set the Orwellian tone right from the start.
    • bugei009
      Humiliating & digusted w/ the fail & leadership of the US.
      “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through...all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself.

      For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero
    • avatar
      tanksbb
      He's right, Congress simply does not want the moral or the financial responsibility. Presidents come and go, if it doesn't work out you can always wipe the slate clean with a new one who always promises to do better than the last one (but more often makes things worse.) The founders had a good reason for sitting things up the way they did and the country would be much better off if they tried following the constitution to the letter. Most of our ongoing problems a direct result of not doing so. Ron Paul was another one the establishment didn't want in - he was much too honest and sincere.
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toUDENTA O UDENTA(Show commentHide comment)
      UDENTA O UDENTA, It is a difficult or impossible thing to defeat an enemy that you don't understand. But if you can manage to understand them then you can anticipate what they are going to do and counter it before they even think of it themselves. It enables you to win a battle before the first blow is struck. Sometimes you can win without an actual physical battle being fought. People around the world don't really understand the American mind and until they do they are never going to defeat the American Empire. Not knowing any better they try treating the symptoms rather than the underlying disease. American aggression, both economic and military. is the product of an idea. That idea is the enemy that must be defeated if there is to be any morality, peace, and freedom in the world. The American people must learn that the idea is just as much their enemy as it is anybody else's. The world cannot have a golden age until stronger nations cease to believe that they have a right to exploit weaker nations.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, very well said. We are on the same page here, and even this modest exchanges go a long way in shaping the contours of our struggle. I also agree with you hat until the very original idea is eliminated from mass consciousness efforts in other directions can only but provide temporary relief. However, the fact that you and I know what the real issue is gives me hope that, sooner than later, millions of other people will possess this knowledge too.
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toUDENTA O UDENTA(Show commentHide comment)
      UDENTA O UDENTA, To be successful we must have access to some form of mass communication. Only then will we be able to sway a sufficient number of people with real influence to make a difference. I believe we could influence them if we could present our case to them. Those who control the West know this and as a result have monopolized the mass media for themselves. They know better than to give us a fair hearing before the public. I am speaking primarily here of the situation in the United States. From what I have heard some of the other Western nations have a press which isn't quiet as tightly controlled as it is in the US. It is still controlled but not quiet to the same degree.

      A site like Sputnik is only a small beginning, but it is nonetheless a beginning. Even if we personally can't seem to be able to change anything ourselves. Perhaps someone who can will see our conversation and be inspired to do something. A thing that seems to be of trivial importance of and by itself, can affect other things and cause a chain reaction that results in a change of decisive importance. That at least is what I am hoping for at this point.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, like I did stress in a comment somewhere else in this forum, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a simple step.. Slow, gradual, and incrementally, but we are surely pushing into their spaces, extending the boundaries of human dignity and freedom. Most crucially, in a psychological sense, to ventilate, to pour out our heart and express our innermost thoughts and feelings, is a form of liberation, of being free. Like you I am grateful to Sputnik for providing this worthy platform of speaking truth to unjust power and for meeting and exchanging ideas with great minds like you.
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toUDENTA O UDENTA(Show commentHide comment)
      UDENTA O UDENTA, The modern nation-state is not synonymous with any particular ethnic group, with only a few rare exceptions. Thus there is no such thing as Americans, spoken of as an ethnic group. Instead you have a polyglot assortment of various peoples who are frequently hostile to each other. The only thing that they have in common is the same central government with its heal on everybody's neck. This is because the United States is an empire as opposed to a nation. Some astute observers have noted the similarity of the American Empire to the ancient Roman Empire. The worst parts of the ancient empire have been reborn in the guise of the United States. The current US Presidential Election is very similar in a number of ways to the transition from the Roman Republic to the Empire over 2,000 years ago for example. If one can understand Roman history one can more easily understand the characteristics of the United States. In a manner of speaking what you see in the United States is the Roman Empire transported forward in time to the modern day.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, very well said. The grave picture you have painted is a wake up call to us all. Like the Roman Empire of yore, it's contemporary reincarnation will ultimately be consumed by its internal contradictions chief among which are unrestrained hedonism, moral degeneracy, spiritual aridity, social licentiousness, vulgarity and the rise of new barbarism, not to talk of unspeakable crimes committed abroad on the behest of a degenerate Empire.
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toUDENTA O UDENTA(Show commentHide comment)
      UDENTA O UDENTA, That was part of what I was talking about. Like Rome became at a certain point, the American Empire has only two things going for it. The power of its military and its ability to control the worlds economy. The first of course stemming from the second. Any number of nations have more efficient militaries than the US, Russia for one certainly does, but when it comes to shear naked power they are still way ahead. As long as the dollar continues to be the worlds primary reserve currency and as long as it continues to be the primary currency used in the oil trade then the economic power of the US will remain. Hopefully things are beginning to change but there's still a long way to go.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, a long way indeed but hopefully it is going to be far shorter than the 1000 years it took the Roman Empire to decline and fall!
    • avatar
      Randall Lee Hilburnin reply toUDENTA O UDENTA(Show commentHide comment)
      UDENTA O UDENTA, The shear incompetence of the American leadership is going to end up meaning their empire is going to be a very short lived one if you look at the vast span of human history. Unlike the Romans who for a very long time and in spite of the spiritual bankruptcy of the empire kept producing some really brilliant leaders.
    • avatar
      UDENTA O UDENTAin reply toRandall Lee Hilburn(Show commentHide comment)
      Randall Lee Hilburn, very well said. Thanks for the opportunity to engage with you on this vital matter that touches our shared humanity.
    • Annin reply toteddy j(Show commentHide comment)
      teddy j, I think the world owes it to the US to HELP them go under ASAP.
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