War Cowards

In this Alice-in-Wonderlandish age of "pre-emptive wars," there are many absurdities, but none is more embarassing than the pathetic performance of our congressional leadership.

There is no decision more significant for a congress than war -- all the more so when the president appears to be making war on executive whim. War is not a mere "policy," it is a decision by elites to send other people's youngster's off to kill and be killed.

So where is our congress in this crucial moment of history? Cowering, that's where. Hiding from its Constitutional duty and its ethical responsibility to the men and women killing and dying. The Constitution is plain: "Congress shall declare war." Not the president. Only congress. But the congress has run from such a declaration. Worse, the leaders (so-called) have refused even to debate this most momentous decision.

The good news is that there is a strong minority in congress that's also appalled by the AWOL leadership -- an outspoken minority that ranges from such conservatives as Robert Byrd and Ron Paul to such liberals as Russ Feingold and John Conyers. One of this group, Senator Mark Dayton, recently took on the cowardly leadership. Noting that the senate had just spent 100 hours debating a judicial nomination, Dayton Said: "Compare that 100 hours with the number of hours we've spent this year discussing and debating a declaration of war before commencing a war. Zero. Not one hour. Not one minute."

Noting that the defense secretary had declared that "we are entering what may prove to be the most dangerous security environment the world has known," Senator Dayton pointed out that congress has responded with nothing: "In the midst of this ominous, dangerous, fateful time, the 108th session of the United States Senate devoted no time to debate or discussion."

If they won't do their Constitutional duty, shouldn't we dock their pay? To read Dayton's challenge go to http://dayton.senate.gov.

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