Donald Trump’s Alarming Expansion of Presidential War Powers


by Robert J. Bentley

With the United States Congress distracted by health care and supreme court confirmations, the sitting President is on the verge of expanding the power of the President twofold and most in the Congress could care less.

With the most recent missile strike into Syria, the new President ignored the advice and consent of the Congress and took unilateral action against a country that did not attack the United States. Instead, acting as the world police, Trump by stepped the leaders of Congress and launched a series of cruise missiles into the middle east in hopes that it would put pressure on a tyrant like Assad that gassed his own people. Instead of using the United Nations he took action without the approval of the American people’s representatives.

The problem is that we did this to ourselves. In the past century, this country has expanded the power of the President to wage war and Congress turns a blind eye to the actions that President’s take. But what happens when President Trump wants to drop a nuclear weapon on a middle east country? What is going to stop him if he makes that decision?

According to Bonnie Kristian at the Politico the following actions are already being taken in Washington:

Already, the Pentagon has used this expanded authority in Yemen, where the U.S. has recently conducted significant air operations against AQAP, an Al Qaeda offshoot. And on Friday, Trump extended the authority to parts of Somalia where the U.S. is targeting Shabab, a terrorist group. In military terms, Yemen and Somalia are now “areas of active hostility,” a bureaucratic way of saying that the U.S. is conducting military operations there, with little input or oversight from either the White House or Congress.

This expanded bombing campaign, though, could be just the tip of the iceberg. In early March, The Guardian reported that the White House is considering a secret Pentagon proposal to designate temporary areas of active hostility in which the military could launch what amounts to six-month wars without congressional approval. Under the proposal, once the president signs off on a temporary battlefield, commanders would be given “the same latitude to launch strikes, raids and campaigns” as they now have in active U.S. warzones like Iraq. Protections for civilians would also be scaled back.

The problem of stepping up our military involvement is that over the past 16 years since 9/11 it really hasn’t gotten us anywhere. What do we have to show for it?  Yes, Osama Bin Laden was killed, but other than that we are still experiencing problems in that region and the answer is not more bombs.

If we give Trump too much power over the military then he will take this to new extremes. Are we ready for more perpetual warfare?

Categories: Libertarian

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1 reply »

  1. More war would be horrible, however if the air strikes result in the Chinese putting serious pressure on the North Koreans and the Russians stay out of our business than it will be well worth the strikes. That’s a big if though.


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