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Declaring war

To the Editor:

Why is it so hard to “declare” war on ISIS (or ISIL)? Hell, we declare war on everything else. There’s the war on women, the war on the wealthy, the war on poverty, the war on religion, and the war on Christmas. We declare war on everything but the enemy of our nation. And why do so many people casually use the term “war”?

What happens with war? Sure, heroes arise in war, sometimes there’s gallantry, and true leadership is exposed in war. But mostly, war leaves dead and mangled bodies. It’s destructive, it’s violent, it’s scary, it’s expensive and it’s ugly. It kills the innocent. Yet, it’s necessary sometimes.

But the “war” on women doesn’t incinerate buildings and homes. The “war” on the wealthy doesn’t leave bodies broken. The “war” on religion doesn’t lead to traumatic brain injuries within congregations. And families and lives aren’t forever altered by the “war” on Christmas.

As a vet, I request that people stop using that term so loosely. Everybody does! It shows ignorance and lack of respect to those who have truly experienced war in its horrifying manner. I’ve never experienced combat, but was in the service of our country. And when they ask all vets to stand for recognition, I keep my seat; because I am not worthy of the recognition compared to those who fought and experienced war.

Who can “declare” war? Only Congress. It’s a constitutional thing, you know.

Our founders made it that way for a reason. They believed, from my readings, that war should be rare; but when it does occur, it should be victorious. That is achieved with the support of the nation. Carl von Clausewitz, the military theorist who stressed the “moral” and political aspects of war and author of the book “Vom Kriege (On War),” would have agreed with how our founders worded the Constitution on the subject of war. Declaring war, if it has the backing of the people, will mobilize the nation. Declaring war also has military, economic, trade and political force. You don’t achieve that with a “military authorization” or funding rebels.

It is the most solemn duty of Congress to declare war. The commander-in-chief is not granted those powers, only the supreme authority to command our Armed Services.

As for our congressman, do your job. Debate it, fund it, declare it, or don’t. If you don’t trust President Obama to lead it, vote it down. Get the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) to meet with our military leaders.

Find out how much it will cost. No more ongoing supplementals, no more putting it on my credit card (or on my children’s). Find a way to fund what you’re declaring. Figure who to tax and how much. Make it as temporary as the war’s duration. But in your cowardly way, you will ask our brave servicemen and women to put themselves in harm’s way.

Yet you’ll avoid the debate and this major vote till after the midterms. Afraid your job will be in jeopardy? At least you won’t have to worry about going through months and months of rehabilitation to rebuild what you once had.

David Range

 

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