Congress Must Stop Ignoring Article 1, Section 8

If Congress had debated recent wars, we'd have saved trillions: Walter Rodgers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 28, 2011 1:32 PM CDT
Fix the Budget Deficit: Stop Undeclared Wars: Walter Rodgers
In this Nov. 6, 2008 file photo, Vice President Dick Cheney applauds President Bush during an event at the White House in Washington.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Congressional Republicans have been hard at work cutting a few million in funding from NPR; but if they’d just played by the rules a decade ago, they could have saved at least $4 trillion, writes Walter Rodgers in the Christian Science Monitor. That's one estimate of how much the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost us, "wars that Congress putatively authorized but never formally declared." The Constitution's Article I, Section 8 makes it clear that only Congress “shall have the Power ... to declare war”—but over the past half-century, we’ve been sending our troops to battle with hardly a thought for the legislature, he writes. "And now it’s happening again, as the US began bombing Libya without a congressional declaration—or even a single hearing or debate."

“In Vietnam, and later Iraq, our presidents misled us while the stampede to go to war might have been averted with a serious congressional debate,” Rodgers notes. As for Afghanistan, some two-thirds of Americans now say it “hasn’t been worth fighting.” The Tea Party and its GOP allies were furious about President Obama’s stimulus spending. “I’m waiting to hear their shouts about the reckless cost to our national debt and national security of continuing to ignore Article I, Section 8.” (More Congress stories.)

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