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News out today that President Obama has unilaterally decided to send troops to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa. I am all for fighting these guys, as they are seriously evil. I mean, if you read about these guys (a large portion of which are just enslaved children), they are on the level of Chechnya. I know, it is wrong to compare atrocities. But really, these are some seriously messed up guys.
The only problem I have with this is how he is going about sending troops into battle. As I said, I don’t have a problem with him sending the troops. However, he is doing it without congressional authorization. Much like Libya, Yemen and Pakistan. This isn’t just Obama either; Bush (and Bush), Clinton, and Reagan all went about invading foreign nations like this. In fact, most presidents do this, and unlike most people, I have a problem with it every time.
What’s the big deal? Well, it all comes back to the Constitution. It clearly states that the President needs a War Resolution to send troops overseas (with the exception of the Navy, and I guess that now includes the Air Force). In an ideal world, or even a world which does something correctly every once in a while, the President would ask for approval, Congress would vote and then we would go kill some really, really evil people.
Does the President think that he won’t get approval? I don’t think so. There’s nothing to lose here. If he gets the approval, he gets to go ahead with his plan. If he doesn’t, then he can’t go to war. Which is okay, because no Americans will then die as a result. On top of that, he is covered if the whole region blows up, because he can just say, “Well, the American people didn’t want to go to war, not my fault.” A cynical plan, for sure, but something to consider. He didn’t do this, though, and there is no evidence to suggest that he is thinking of changing his M.O. Someone needs to challenge him on this.
However, we don’t really have anybody left who will challenge this, and no one left who will demand that the right thing be done. So I guess we’re left with the President deciding to invade countries on his own. Could be worse. He could just not be telling us at all (see: Yemen).