Recently, we celebrated the return of 138 brave members of the West Virginia National Guard from deployment in the Middle East. It’s great to have them back with their families and in their communities.
But the clouds of war still hang over that troubled part of the world. The Guard could be redeployed overseas at any time for any duration without the consent of Congress. Perhaps they will go to a war we would not choose to fight if we had a proper, constitutional deliberation first.
Why? Because Congress ceded its authority to declare war to the president in two open-ended authorizations to use military force in response to the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Congress very nearly repealed these dangerous resolutions this year, and it can still repeal them in the pending Defense Appropriations Act.
The Republicans, whose platform asks for a return to constitutional government and bemoans presidents who take us into war without congressional authorization, are strangely silent. Don’t they still support the Constitution as firmly as when they adopted their platform?
Four Republicans are running for the House or Senate from West Virginia this November. If you are tired of having West Virginia’s bravest and best taken away at the whim of a president to fight endless wars in the Middle East, now is the time to ask them to support the Constitution.
Presidents don’t need blank checks, and we don’t need another 20 years of bloodshed and wasted dollars in Middle East conflicts.
Charles P. Schade