Skip to main content

Has Obama Sold Us Down the River Again?

Michael T. Hertz: The United States has had a long history of Middle East involvement, but even in the past 14 years it has made pretty much of a mess of things.

Back in September 2014, I wrote an article asking if President Obama had sold us down the river by deciding to go against ISIS (or ISIL) without seeking congressional approval. I wrote:

Obama ISIS

“Although supposedly Americans are in favor of taking military action against ISIL, President Obama's decision to go forward without congressional approval and a vote makes little sense, either politically or strategically. The War Powers Act clearly states that the President may act unilaterally only if there is imminent danger to the United States (“a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”) In the absence of such an imminent threat, the President may act unilaterally for only sixty days and must thereafter wait for a congressional vote.”

At the time, with elections on the horizon, neither party wanted to go on record about going to war. “It is pretty obvious that neither party wants to have a vote on this issue, because individual senators and representatives think that they would be risking their positions by voting for war (or voting against war). So that is really what is going on and why the President is acting unilaterally when by all rights he should be leaving the decision up to Congress. He is taking the political responsibility because his party in Congress doesn't want to.”

Of course, now things are entirely different. The 2014 election is over, and the Republicans control both houses of Congress. So now President Obama is requesting Congressional authority even though he apparently felt perfectly comfortable acting for nearly five months without Congressional authority.

So, the history of the past two years is as follows. First, President Obama was going to bomb ISIS in Syria but the public demanded that he request Congressional approval. Then about a year later he decided that he could use the Congressional authority (granted back in 2002) to go against ISIS and has done so since September 2014. And now with both houses of Congress in Republican hands, he is asking for limited authority even though he has been acting without renewed authority for over five months.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

What does all this mean? It just means that (as I said before) “ . . . the people who control him and the government want war.” It's all about the money, and nothing else.

The United States has had a long history of Middle East involvement, but even in the past 14 years it has made pretty much of a mess of things.

Rather than war, what should the United States be doing? For one thing, it should be staying out of the Middle East. The United States has had a long history of Middle East involvement, but even in the past 14 years it has made pretty much of a mess of things. Although virtually everyone agrees that Saddam Hussein was a bad man, the American attempt at nation building in both Iraq and Afghanistan has been a failure, and the situation in 2015 is worse than it was in 2001. Assuming that the Iraq war had something to do with oil, the situation is very different now. The oil market is flooded. And perhaps that's the reason why we are going to war. If we have war, oil production in Iraq will continue to be low, and that may boost the price of oil.

Since the end of the Second World War in 1945 (70 years ago) the United States has rarely not been involved in and armed conflict somewhere. And since 2001 its involvement in military action has been constant. The result has been enormous economic pressure on the country, a declining American infrastructure, and a host of other ills. We have spent $10 trillion in the Persian Gulf alone protecting oil.

It's time to start rethinking America's role in the world. We can no longer afford to be the world's policeman, and we need to start thinking about how to improve our own country rather than do injury to places around the world.

michael-hertz

Michael T. Hertz

Tags
terms: