Trump must seek Congress’ consent for US to go to war


Americans watched President Trump announce on TV this weekend that the United States was bombing Syria. Moreover, while he floated trial balloons—”Never said when an attack on Syria would take place. Could be very soon or not so soon at all!”—to test public sentiments about a possible bombing, the President never requested Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force in Syria, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

Why is this important?

First, because ours is a nation of laws; and even the President must follow the law.

Second, because a decision to engage in military conflict with another country puts the lives of the men and women of our military at risk. These men and women have sworn to uphold the Constitution and to follow the orders of their commander-in-chief.  But, if the commander ignores Article I of the Constitution that gives Congress—and only Congress—the authority to go to war, then our men and women in uniform have been betrayed.

As the President risks the lives of our military attacking Syria, many members of Congress—the delegate from the Northern Marianas included—have called for him to articulate a comprehensive strategy and come to Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Congress then has a solemn responsibility to debate an AUMF. If approved, the American people will know the decision has been made by their many representatives, not by one man. We will all clearly understand our nation’s goals and objectives. And our men and women in uniform will have the confidence to fight with valor knowing they are engaged in lawful conflict.

Gregorio Kilili C. Saplan

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