Biden's Bombing Campaign Is a Trumpian Assertion of Presidential Power

This is sometimes called a naked Article II assertion by presidential power. This means that the executive branch claims the right to use armed forces without reference to authorization from Congress. Kirby made almost the exact same argument in February, when Joe Biden bombed northeastern Syria. He stated that the President took this action under his Article II authority to protect U.S personnel.The legal basis for Monday's airstrikes in Syria and Iraq by the Biden administration was straightforward. According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby the President took the action under Article II authority to safeguard U.S. personnel in Iraq.Madison urged that we adhere to the basic, the accepted, and the fundamental doctrines of the constitution. Madison stated that the legislature has the power to declare war and to judge the causes. The executive does not have the right to decide the issue.This clause is based on a 1793 polemic by James Madison. Madison was considered to be the father of the Constitution that had been ratified only four years prior. Madison maintained that Congress must have the power to declare war because history has shown that the executive is the most powerful department of power. Therefore, all states are required to disarm this tendency of their influence in proportion to their freedom.This view constrained the executive branch in a limited way through the end World War II. In 1950, President Harry Truman sent hundreds of thousands of U.S. soldiers to Korea without any congressional authorization. Instead, the State Department issued a memo explaining that the President's authority to send Armed Forces abroad is not dependent upon Congressional authorization. Because the President has control over the Armed Forces of the United States based on Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution, the President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.Although the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed under false pretenses it did give some authorization to Congress for the massive expansion of Vietnam War. The secret military campaign that America launched against Vietnam's neighbor, Cambodia, was not supported by Congress. The U.S. dropped half a million tonnes of bombs on the peasant country, roughly the same amount as we used in the entire Pacific theatre during World War II. According to the Nixon administration, this was legal and acceptable. This is because the Korean War serves as a precedent for executive actions in committing United States Armed Forces to extensive hostilities, without formal declaration of war by Congress. Nixon did not need authorization from Congress due to his constitutional status as Commander in Chief.This view of presidential power has been adopted by many Democrats and Republicans alike. The 1991 Gulf War was authorized by Congress, but Dick Cheney, then-Secretary to Defense, felt that this was unnecessary. Cheney stated that we had the Truman precedent from 1950's Korean crisis. We had all the authority that we needed from a constitutional perspective.Soon after 9/11, the Justice Department gave Cheney and other members of the George W. Bush Administration a legal basis for presidential power. It stated that Article II establishes that the Founding Fathers gave the President the primary responsibility and the power to use military force in emergencies. This meant that Cheney and the rest of the George W. Bush administration did not require congressional authorization to attack terrorist groups or States that harbor them or support them.However, the presidents prefer to do a legal two-step approach on this matter. They love to claim they are acting according to some type of congressional authorization, even though Article II says they don't need it. The 2001s Authorization for Use of Military Force was passed by a single no vote following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It has been particularly helpful in this regard. A 2018 Congressional Research Service report found that 41 presidents had cited the 2001 AUMF: 21 by Obama, 18 by Bush, and two by Trump.The 2001 AUMF could not be extended to cover U.S. involvement in the overthrow of Libya's government. Obama's legal reasoning was Article II. Trump then bombed Syria several times, explaining in a 22-page 2018 memo how Article II gave the President the authority to direct U.S. forces in conflicts necessary to advance American national interests overseas.Washington officials saw Trump's recklessness during his first year as president, which could have led to nuclear war between North Korea and the United States. But, on one decree, there was a brief window of opportunity when it seemed that the next administration might place limits on its war power, either by Congress or itself. This window seems to have closed with Biden's actions since taking office. Although it is not surprising, America's continued retreat from Madison's practice of all states in proportion to their freedom is extremely concerning.