National Security

The Real Meaning Behind the Fight Over War Powers

Democrats are ticked that Trump reversed Obama's policy of appeasing Iran.

Nate Jackson · Feb. 14, 2020

The Senate voted Thursday to prevent President Donald Trump from taking military action against Iran without congressional consent. Democrats were joined by eight Republicans — Lamar Alexander (TN), Bill Cassidy (LA), Susan Collins (ME), Mike Lee (UT), Jerry Moran (KS), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Rand Paul (KY), and Todd Young (IN). That follows the House vote last month. It is certain, however, that Trump will veto Congress’s largely symbolic fist-shaking effort.

As we’ve said before, there are legitimate arguments about presidential and congressional war powers, which is the main reason for the votes of those eight Republicans. The problem is primarily because Congress has become content with leaving those decisions to the president. The president wants the freedom to move troops without the partisan and political squabbling inherent in going before Congress. Members of Congress want all of the political benefit from criticizing the president with none of the responsibility for the policy. No one seems to remember the Constitution’s general prescription for war.

In the case of Iran, however, this resolution is particularly interesting coming on the heels of the successful mission to terminate Gen. Qasem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s elite terrorist Corps-Quds forces and murderer of hundreds of American soldiers. It was a legitimate operation against an enemy of the United States, undertaken in an authorized theater of American military operation.

When Barack Obama ordered the mission to terminate Osama bin Laden — not in a theater of American operation, by the way — Mitch McConnell wrote letters of credit and appreciation. Democrats showed no such magnanimity after Trump’s strike against Soleimani. Yet we all know that if Obama had killed Soleimani, there would not be a Democrat on the planet complaining about it.

Speaking of Obama, most of the Democrat consternation over Trump and Iran stems from Trump keeping his campaign promise to exit the sham nuclear deal. Whereas Obama gave Tehran’s mullahs everything they wanted in terms of nuclear development and sent them pallets of cash as ransom for hostages, Trump is having none of it, exiting that deal, increasing sanctions pressure, and killing Iranian terrorists. Democrats can’t stand it and thus are left with toothless resolutions to undermine American foreign policy and national security.

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