The following post is sponsored by The Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy (CRFP).
The bipartisan initiative Committee for Responsible Foreign Policy will host an event this week examining the role of constitutional war powers in military interventions abroad, as the United States faces increasing scrutiny for its support for the wars in Yemen and Syria.
The event, which will take place in Washington, DC, near Capitol Hill, will also examine how defending constitutional war powers can prevent human suffering and protect religious liberty.
The event takes place on the symbolic date of the 17th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, which prompted U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and provided policymakers with a casus belli to invade Iraq two years later.
Today, U.S. forces are still in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in Syria fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as well as providing support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. ISIS was an off-shoot of al-Qaeda formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Under the 1973 War Powers Resolution, a U.S. president is authorized to deploy forces into an armed conflict for 60 days with a 30-day withdrawal period, but then must seek congressional authorization.
The U.S. military is still relying on 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force for its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, although the missions have changed drastically and the U.S. is now fighting a different enemy in Iraq. U.S. forces are also deployed to Syria under the same authorizations, although their current mission has expanded from fighting ISIS to stabilizing and training local Syrian forces. Congress has regularly renewed those authorizations with little debate on how the missions have changed.
Outside of Iraq and Syria, the U.S. is providing intelligence support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has killed more than 16,000 civilians. The U.S. has come under fire recently for its support, after nearly 30 children were killed in an airstrike.
“You wouldn’t have a clue from big legacy media, but we’re standing at a corner of history now where insisting on Constitution war powers could have a huge impact in protecting innocent human lives and helping America come home,” said Robert Naiman, policy director at Just Foreign Policy, a non-partisan organization.
“Insisting on it could end the catastrophic war in Yemen. It could end the catastrophic war in Syria. It could even end the war in Afghanistan. All it would take is a majority of the House insisting that the War Powers Clause of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973 are good law,” added Naiman, who will speak at the event.
Former Rep. John Hostettler (R-IN), who served in the House of Representatives for six terms, will also speak at the event.
“The Constitution’s framers wisely provided that the power to take the Republic to war must be ‘confided to the federal councils’ — the Congress,” he said.
“They’d learned from millennia of human history as well as recent experience with George III that no one person, either of his own desire or, as James Madison put it, ‘misled by the artful misrepresentation of interested men,’ can be trusted to make that profoundly fateful decision alone,” he added.
The discussion will take place Tuesday at the National Indian Gaming Association Building, 224 2nd Street SE, Washington, DC, from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m Eastern.