Acts of war are ugly, but they’re also necessary at times. The world is safe because of war whether we like it or not. One place where we mustn’t shy away from acts of war is in the upholding of the global standard on the use of chemical weapons.
The multilateral treaty developed at the Chemical Weapons Commission that entered into force in 1997 was a great enhancement of the Geneva Conventions. The global community must protect this treaty and the current standard of not using chemical weapons. Battlefields must remain as humane as possible and any government willing to violate the sacred standards of warfare must be dealt with swiftly. Should the responsible nations of the world fail to act when they have the means necessary, they risk setting a new global standard, or, better put, they risk reverting humanity back to our brutal past.
That’s why, when reports of Syrian chemical weapons use surfaced, the responsible nations of the world had to move, and had to move quickly.
A few things should be noted: The U.S. intelligence community is extremely capable. If U.S. intelligence agencies find evidence of a chemical attack, it’s more than likely one occurred, despite previous errors in judgment. And if the intelligence community corroborates the reports, then our weapons, which have incredible accuracy, should be used to destroy chemical weapons creation, storage, and deployment capabilities.
Therefore, if U.S. intelligence believes the government of Syria, a signatory of the treaty mentioned above, used chemical weapons, then it’s more than likely they violated a global standard and responsible nations must punish them for it. The U.S. and its allies did just that.
However, the process used to authorize the U.S. strikes continues a new, dangerous standard of unbridled executive power first utilized by the Obama Administration.
The President of the United States is Commander in Chief of our military, there is no doubting that. The constitution clearly states, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;”
However, the Constitution grants the U.S. Legislative Branch the ability “To declare War.” Attacking another sovereign nation is a clear act of war. By not getting Congressional approval to conduct such an attack, President Trump violated our constitution.
The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2013
We the people must enforce this standard, just as the U.S. and its allies must enforce the standards of warfare. We can do this in two ways:
First, we must force Congress to speak out against the current Administration’s violation of our constitution. There must be a unified voice from the Right, Middle, and Left condemning this type of executive overreach.
Second, we must get our representatives to revoke and replace the current authorization for use of military force (AUMF) with an AUMF whose text isn’t so vague it leads to creative interpretations. This almost occurred in 2017 but was tabled due to fear of leaving America vulnerable. It’s time we get our lazy, divided Congress to finally fix this egregious oversight.
Executive overreach, if left unpunished, poses a greater threat to our nation than any chemical weapons do.