As the Ruling Class circles the wagons around Obama and determines upon war in Syria to pull Obama’s bacon out of the fire, the question becomes: what can we do? My answer: start an anti-war movement.
To be sure, the anti-war movement in the United States has heretofore been the province of leftists – and very often the most kooky of leftists. The left’s anti-war activity has tended towards being anti-American in effect – and more commonly anti-GOP, because we see how invisible it is now that a liberal Democrat is proposing war. But just because leftists kooks have been anti-war that doesn’t mean that being anti-war is wrong, provided your being anti-war for sensible reasons.
War is a terrible, cruel and nasty business and should be avoided if at all possible. Some times it is, however, necessary. War will come when it comes – and there may even come times when it is necessary for us to start the war. But what we have here in Syria is a war that isn’t coming to us and which we have no need to start. The United States is not threatened. US allies are not threatened. The two sides in the Syrian civil war are equally bad – think of it like the Spanish civil war of the 1930’s where communists and fascists battled it out. What possible good would US intervention have done back then – we’d have either midwifed a communist or fascist dictatorship. In Syria, we can back Assad’s hideous regime, or back the al-Qaeda-like rebels. No good.
The problem we have today started a long time ago – when Truman criminally hurled us in to the Korean War without obtaining Congressional approval. That is when the war-making powers of Congress first began to atrophy. These days, we have plenty of people – including some who are not at all dumb – saying that the President has authority to launch military action in Syria based upon his powers as Commander in Chief. That is an absurd reading of the Constitution – but it is entirely in line with practice over the past 63 years. A conservative anti-war movement must have as its goal the reform of this pernicious doctrine – we must return war-declaring power to the Congress.
While getting 100,000 people in to DC by Monday next might short-circuit this war in Syria, I doubt much that such a crowd can be gathered on such short notice. Looking for the longer term, we should be seeking a law which will specifically prohibit the expenditure of defense funds on offensive actions not authorized by Congress (it is the power of the purse which gives Congress its actual power). No money can be drawn from the Treasury without Congressional authorization, so all military expenditures would be covered by a law which says that the money can’t be used for offensive operations until Congress declares war (and it is preferred that it be an actual declaration of war – not an authorization to use force). This would still allow the President to use military force to defend – to defend the United States and our allies. But it would not allow the Syrian strike (nor would it have allowed the Libyan war…and for you liberals out there if you want a piece of this, it would have prevented Panama in 1989 and Grenada in 1983) unless Obama obtains a declaration of war against Syria, first.
This all fits in with the broader, conservative desire to reform government by re-limiting its powers as intended by the Founders. Only a limited government is a free government – and if we don’t stop this sort of thing, we will find ourselves living in an unfree nation very shortly.