As the latest U.S. military fiasco in Afghanistan unfolds, political pundits point out that there is plenty of blame to go around. But ultimately, Congress bears the responsibility for this latest tragedy. Beginning with the “police action” in Korea during the 1950s, our elected leaders have abrogated their responsibility under the Constitution, to debate and then vote on a declaration of war before troops are committed to an armed conflict. Somalia, Syra, Iraq and of course Vietnam lead the list of military misadventures, where America squandered its treasure of men and material. Apparently, Congress feels that this approach is safer because it absolves them of any responsibility. If a conflict goes well, they can take credit but when the mission heads south, they can criticize the president who authorized it.
To change this twisted logic, Congress needs to step up and preform its constitutional duty to determine when and if American troops should be committed to the next armed conflict. In addition, Congress should reinstitute drafting our young people into military service. This dramatic action would result in Senate and House members dealing with the reality that their children, and those of their friends and relatives could be in harm’s way when the next conflict arises. This will be the impetus for real Congressional debate to determine if a war declaration is warranted.
As a Vietnam veteran, I am disgusted that history seems to repeat itself and that the lessons of past conflicts have been totally ignored.