It was no mistake that Congress is the subject of Article I of the Constitution, nor that the power to declare war should rest with Congress. The framers of the Constitution wanted the people to rule, and the Congress would represent the people.
Nowadays, with decades of presidents initiating hostilities across the globe, it is almost a throwback to put the issue of war and peace to Congress. But with the prospect of air strikes in Syria, our representatives will once again have to not just acquiesce in a decision made, but choose.
We urge the members of the Louisiana delegation to support the administration to the extent they feel they honorably can.
A senator, John McCain, of Arizona, and a former senator, John Kerry, of Massachusetts, acquitted themselves with distinction in Vietnam. Now, as statesmen, they are united in expressing the abhorrence for the slaughter of innocents in Syria with chemical weapons.
Secretary of State Kerry has made a strong moral case for intervention. But as members of Congress are well aware, it’s not the first case of wholesale slaughter in the region by chemical weapons, nor is it likely to be the last.
Nor is an intervention likely to be popular. The American people’s skepticism, though, can and should be addressed in Congress by a searching examination of the case for intervention. We believe that the enforcement of international bans on the use of these weapons is needed.
In the 18th century, Congress was called upon to make decisions for the people, without much direct input from email and other innovations. Today, members will debate the issues, and a healthy debate should give a lead to America’s policy.