Who’s in charge?

Our Founders balanced the powers between three branches of government out of concern that a president might act unilaterally like a king. Based on this principle, President Trump is being considered for impeachment for overreaching constitutional constraints.

A parallel concern is a president initiating war without congressional authorization. The Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war. After 17 years and counting, the war in Afghanistan has obscured its original goals with no end in sight.

Another volatile flash point is Iran with its allied Shiite militaries/militias in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. They now surround U.S.-allied Sunni Gulf kingdoms (e.g. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). This ancient Shiite/Sunni schism has become increasingly volatile and has been exported to other countries. To some degree, it pits oil-rich Sunni countries with strong ties to the West against Shiites and their quest for Islamic theocracy. Islam contends that the rich have a duty to share with the poor, which exacerbates current tensions. In these contexts, President Trump could ignite the ever-growing powder keg along the Sunni/Shiite divide with executive-ordered military action.

It’s important Congress reassert its constitutional war-making authority by repealing the 2002 Iraq Authority for Use of Military Force (AUMF). The wording of the AUMF is sufficiently ambiguous, allowing the pursuit of “conflicts that stem from Iraq, Syria or elsewhere” to be used as a military entrée against Iran.

To ward off possible war, the House of Representatives has introduced HR 2456 and the Senate has introduced SJR 13 to repeal the open-ended AUMF of 2002. This repeal is being considered as part of the appropriations bill for the defense department and may be voted on in upcoming weeks. I encourage you to voice support for repeal of the 2002 AUMF through your congressional representatives.

In a related event, Waco Friends for Responsible Government invites the public to view and discuss the film “An Endless War: Getting Out of Afghanistan” on Oct. 22, 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Unity Spiritual Center, 400 S. First St.

John Fox, Waco

EDITOR’S NOTE: John Fox served as a professor of anthropology and chair of international studies of an American university in the Persian Gulf.

Pesky preamble!

The Preamble to our Constitution reads “We the people,” not “Me the President.” It clearly states the intended power is to reside in the legislature (Congress) which has the largest number of members because it represents “the people” — us.

Perhaps we have given up our power because we are too busy or even too uninformed to care, allowing the executive branch to rule as in a monarchy or eventually a dictatorship.

Nancy Marquis, Waco

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