Back to Iraq? It's Up to Congress
Founding Fathers' decision allows for 'vigorous national debate': Rachel Maddow
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 23, 2014 1:09 PM CDT
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio arrives to talk to reporters at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 19, 2014.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – As the US debates its future in Iraq, all eyes are on President Obama—but where we should be looking is Capitol Hill. Yes, congressional leaders recently said Obama needed no new authorization for further military action in Iraq. "But they're wrong," writes Rachel Maddow in the Washington Post. The Founding Fathers gave "the responsibility for war and peace to the clamorous Congress." The War Powers Act puts power in Obama's hands for 60 days; after that, it's up to lawmakers to decide whether to authorize additional troops.

The Constitution puts Congress in charge "so that decisions about war and peace would be made not on one person’s say-so but only after vigorous national debate," and we need that debate on Iraq. There is a precedent here: A year and a half after the US departure from Vietnam, North Vietnam planned a new offensive, and President Ford sought $700 million "to stabilize the military situation." Lawmakers' views on the matter were clear: "Congress knew that it was in its power to say no, and it said no. There would be no second coming of America’s war in Vietnam." Click for Maddow's full piece.