Continuous Presidential wars have stolen too much of our national genius and wealth, have diminished our image worldwide and have divided our country. The money spent on them has been at the expense of our infrastructure, our children’s economic future and that of our elderly population.
15 years of continuous wars has not made us safer and has left the Middle East in a shambles. We cannot fix the problems that the Middle East faces at the point of a gun. Most of their issues and conflicts began long before our country was born.
Since 9/11 and the passing of the AUMF, Government has been so focused on its wars in the middle East it has lost track of some of our greatest threats; the Security of our borders both real and cyber to prevent criminal and terrorist threats from invading the US; the securing of our national data systems, banking, infrastructure and defense, from malicious hacking; loss of manufacturing capability and a national debt that will cripple future generations.
We have 17 intelligence agencies that have the capability to eavesdrop on virtually any phone conversation or email in the world, yet when confronted by congress in hearings today, they said they have no contingency plan to respond to cyber attacks against us. That is unconscionable. Congress and recent administrations have been too busy playing rulers of the world and policemen of the world to do an effective job for their citizens. The peoples of the sovereign nations of the world have every right to expect to be left alone to conduct their affairs as they see fit. Just as citizens of the US have every right to expect their Congress to place the best interests of America and its citizens first. That’s why congress is referred to as the first branch.
The flood of jobs and wealth leaving for foreign countries puts our economy at great risk and deprives government of much needed revenue. We’ve seen 10 Million Manufacturing jobs leave the country in recent decades followed by the loss of 20 million support jobs. That’s 30 million sidelined workers who are not paying taxes or contributions into social security, Medicare or Medicaid which puts those programs at risk.
The dismal future for young people in the US where only 20% of HS grads can go on to college, get a degree and find a degree level job, while another 20% get a degree but no job to pay off the debt, or the 20% Who don’t make it all the way through but are still saddled with a measure of debt and then there is the 40% who were totally left out, they have no college debt, but are not prepared in the least to enter the work force and must now compete against college grads for the available jobs, is just another major fail of government’s lack of sound policy.
The list of failures by our distracted congress goes on and on, far too many examples to discuss tonight .
And what have these 9 wars gotten us in addition to the Congressional failures at home? Well for starters a less safe world, trillions of dollars in debt, hundreds of thousands dead around the world, millions injured and maimed and millions more displaced, many of whom are coming here. In our own country thousands of families have suffered and continue to do so over the loss of loved ones. Many are struggling with handicapped family members as a result of war. More than 20 veterans a day commit suicide as a side effect of PTSD resulting from their war service.
And then we have the moral question, you know it’s one thing for a religious leader to defend killing and maiming in the course of self defense but how can they reconcile it if it’s the result of Presidential wars that are not in self defense.
The Founders included the Declare Wars clause in the constitution as a means of ensuring that no one person would have the ability to take the country from a state of peace to a state of war, knowing full well what the dangers would be. The decision to go to war was so important that they vested that power in the legislature so that there would be a public debate and consensus by the citizen’s representatives.
Since the attacks of 9/11, congress has relied on the Authorization to Use Military Force which they continue to renew, as the president’s authorization to conduct war in lieu of a declaration of war. The problem is that the AUMF is very narrow in scope it applies only to those involved in the 9/11 attacks and those that support or harbor them. Congress has abdicated its authority and responsibility under the constitution, erroneously citing the AUMF as authority in the wars since Iraq, Afghanistan and Al Qaeda were authorized.
Indeed more power rests in the president’s hands today, than did in King George’s at the outset of the Revolution, with perhaps the exception of the Government quartering troops in our homes, at least for now. History has shown that when too much power rests in the hands of an individual the fortunes and safety of a nation become at risk.
President Eisenhower warned us about the danger we faced from pressure put on congress by the Military Industrial Complex to support the endless war state in exchange for support at reelection time.
During the 2016 presidential campaign Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both struck a nerve with the citizens, both agreeing that the system is rigged, the corruption in DC had to end and the enormous costs of endless war were crippling. The people showed that they were not only paying attention but wanted genuine change.
This was reminiscent of other citizen uprisings in recent years, namely Tea Party, Coffee Party, Occupy Wall Street and others. Members of our board questioned if this energy could somehow be harnessed to solve this problem of ending the Presidential wars that were destroying the country. After much discussion John and Bruce came up with the idea for the Pledge and the Resolution, the board weighed in and after several tweaks and revisions we were ready for prime time.
The Pledge to be signed by congressional members says I will do my sworn duty under the constitution to uphold the war powers clause and will support articles of impeachment if a president were to prosecute a war without getting a declaration from congress beforehand.
The Resolution cuts through the fog of what constitutes war and offers a definition which has been lacking since the framing of the constitution. It also defines belligerencies which are acts of material support to others engaged in war. This is historic in itself, to our knowledge it has never been done before. But in a climate where the congress regularly abdicates its authority and yields power to the executive thus eroding the separation of powers, a finite definition is needed to ensure they accept their responsibility and preserve the balance of powers which is one of the most crucial elements that allowed our fledgling republic to grow to become the world’s greatest power.
The website provides in depth discussion about the need for the resolution and the pledge in addition to insights into the founders original discussions and intent. It also features some constitutionally relevant writings. There is a place for citizens to sign up and show their support for ending presidential wars to their congressmen.
We also have a place to list links to associate organizations that support ending presidential wars and restoring the balance envisioned by the constitution. We encourage anyone hear that has or belongs to an organization which shares our sentiments to contact John Henry about becoming an associate.
We are also going to post articles about the Pledge and Resolution online with links to the webpage.
We will be taking this effort not only to Congressmen and women directly but also to the people they serve. Initially we will be reaching out to activists in Virginia, Ohio and Iowa. We have identified several groups of people that have in some ways been more adversely affected by the government’s preoccupation with presidential wars and neglect of their duties at home, whether it is a result of distraction or a lack of money.
Among these groups are: Young people and students who have had their future prospects greatly diminished; Black community in the inner cities who have seen their jobs and opportunities disappear and their safety become increasingly more at risk; Activist groups that represent the silent majority, the working middle class, to name a few Tea Party, Coffee Party and Occupy Wall Street to the extent they are still active, Church groups and associations who have a vested interest in ending needless wars, Veterans and their Families affected by the ravages of war and problems in getting care and support, Women who traditionally bear the brunt of family care and are faced with the death or handicap of a family member as a result of war, Immigrants who came here in search of a job or a new future in America the great shining light, the land of opportunity and found something quite else.
I would now like to turn things over to Del Spurlock to explain how the outreach to a few of these groups will work.