The United States has formally declared war against foreign nations at least five separate times, each upon prior request by the President of the United States. To that end, I believe the President must seek the advice and approval of congress members before initiating war or any act relative to war.
Article 1, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution provides: “The Congress shall have the power to...declare war.”
As a future member of the U.S. Congress, I can appreciate the fact that the United States has engaged in multiple battles and wars over time from 1775 to the present day which I believe have played a significant role in creating what we now know as the fabric of our country.
Only about eight wars have commenced without the President seeking Congressional approval (Truman: Korea, Eisenhower: Lebanon, Johnson: North Vietnam, Reagan: Grenada, Clinton: Serbia, Bush: Panama, Obama: Libya, Trump: ISIS, Syria).
Nevertheless, I am a proponent of strengthening congressional oversight and transparency when it comes to declaring war. I’ll take it a step further by co-sponsoring and otherwise supporting legislation that demands the approval of congress for any acts relative to or likely to result in war.
The purpose of providing congress with this type of power is obvious: to ensure that a great body of wisdom stands as a barrier to any U.S. president who thinks he/she can arrive in the White House with their finger on the trigger.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has exclusive jurisdiction over authorizations for use of military force, and I believe they had intentions on replacing the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for use of military force (AUMFs), particularly against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and other Islamic states.
With that said, I intend to support that effort along with the doing following:
Generally strengthening congressional oversight and transparency with regard to the President’s decisions to engage in acts of war
Working closely with my colleagues in the Senate and holding the Department of State accountable as the chief adviser to the President on foreign relations in an effort to ensure that the United States has exhausted any and all measures of peace and negotiation before engaging in acts of war and conflict
Doing everything in my power to ensure that military operations are carried out as humanely and quickly as possible with benevolence on the part of our soldiers by inflicting the minimum of pain with a minimum of violence and collateral damage. Each year, the loss of civilian life unfortunately equates to millions of lives lost innocently from around the world, which include mothers, babies, and the elderly. As the world’s leader, the United States must do everything it can to curb as much loss as possible, be environmentally responsible, and hold individuals within our military accountable for their mistakes.