On Tuesday Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) rose to speak in the House of Representatives and promised to thwart any effort by the president to initiate military operations in Syria without a formal congressional declaration of war, as required by the Constitution:
This week I am introducing legislation to prohibit the Administration, absent a declaration of war by Congress, from supporting — directly or indirectly — any military or paramilitary operations in Syria,” the constitutionally consistent congressman declared.
Sounding almost biblical in his address, Paul said that “Plans, rumors, and war propaganda for attacking Syria and deposing Assad have been around for many months.” Of course this is as true as the mainstream media that is often nothing more than an organ of the Establishment has been prepping the American people for that for some time.
Decrying all of the foreign conflicts into which the United States has entangled itself, Paul continued his speech, saying:
The total waste of those wars should cause us to pause before this all-out effort at occupation and regime change is initiated against Syria. There are no national security concerns that require such a foolish escalation of violence in the Middle East. There should be no doubt that our security interests are best served by completely staying out of the internal strife now raging in Syria.
The amount of American blood and treasure spilled already on the altar of global “security,” is unconscionable.
For example, the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan siphon about $13 billion per month from the U.S. Treasury. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, estimates are that Congress has approved a total of $1.283 trillion in military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care spread over three operations: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF).
The human cost of building the American empire is much higher still. Estimates put the number of American troops killed in action in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan at over 6,000, with the number of civilian dead approaching 138,000.
The relevant question for Ron Paul and for all friends of liberty is: Has the sacrifice of all those lives made the world a safer place?
Another important question asked by Paul in his House address was, “From where does a president get such authority?”
"Since World War II the proper authority to go to war has been ignored. It has been replaced by international entities like the United Nations and NATO, or the President himself, while ignoring the Congress. And sadly, the people don't object," Paul lamented.
"Our recent presidents explicitly maintain that the authority to go to war is not the U.S. Congress. This has been the case since 1950 when we were taken into war in Korea under UN Resolution and without congressional approval," he continued.
What perhaps Representative Paul didn’t know at the time he was making his speech from the floor of the House is that Ron Paul’s fellow Republican and a man who may be the next U.S. president shares the view of the “recent presidents” spoken of by Paul.
Appearing with Bob Schieffer on Sunday’s Face the Nation, Republican presidential candidate and “presumptive nominee” Mitt Romney said that if he is elected in November, he would not need congressional approval to start a war with Iran.
Specifically, Romney said:
I can assure you if I'm president, the Iranians will have no question but that I will be willing to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming a nuclear threat to the world. I don't believe at this stage, therefore, if I'm president that we need to have a war powers approval or special authorization for military force. The president has that capacity now. I understand that some in the Senate for instance have written letters to the president indicating you should know that a containment strategy is unacceptable. We cannot survive a course of action which would include a nuclear Iran. We must be willing to take any and all actions.
Many of Representative Paul’s followers question how Romney’s stance differs significantly from that of President Obama, who famously exercised these imagined “war powers” to initiate military action in Yemen, Libya, and likely Syria.
Speaking of Iran, Paul recognizes in his speech that daily our country is moving inexorably closer to armed conflict with that nation:
Most knowledgeable people now recognize that the planned war against Syria is merely the next step to take on the Iranian government, something the neo-cons openly admit. Controlling Iranian oil, just as we have done in Saudi Arabia and are attempting to do in Iraq, is the real goal of the neo-conservatives who have been in charge of our foreign policy for the past couple of decades.
In light of Romney's comments on Face the Nation, it would appear that his administration would be little more than a perpetuation of that neo-con foreign policy mentioned by Paul in his address.
Demonstrating what many hope is a continuing fidelity to the Constitution despite his recent endorsement of Mitt Romney, Ron Paul’s son Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) mirrored his father’s sentiments in a speech he gave on the floor of the Senate:
Our Founding Fathers were quite concerned about giving the power to declare war to the Executive. They were quite concerned that the Executive could become like a king. Many in this body cannot get boots on ground fast enough in a variety of places, from Syria to Libya to Iran. We don't just send boots to war. We send our young Americans to war. Our young men and women, our soldiers, deserve thoughtful debate. Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications of and over the authorization of war and over the motives of the war. James Madison wrote that the Constitution supposes what history demonstrates. That the Executive is the branch most interested in war and most prone to it. The Constitution, therefore, with studied care vested that power in the Legislature.
Concluding his remarks, Representative Paul said:
It's time the United States tried a policy of diplomacy, seeking peace, trade, and friendship. We must abandon our military effort to promote and secure an American empire.
Besides, we're broke, we can't afford it, and worst of all, we're fulfilling the strategy laid out by Osama bin Laden. whose goal had always been to bog us down in the Middle East and bring on our bankruptcy here at home.
It's time to bring our troops home and establish a non-interventionist foreign policy, which is the only road to peace and prosperity.
The question is: Whom can the American people rely on to get us back on that straight and narrow road?