EDITOR, Daily News:
I wrote to our Senators and House Representative, as a result of my reflections from Veterans Day, to ask that they live up to the words I have heard over the years in their messages. They have repeatedly expressed their admiration and devotion to our active duty service members and veterans. But their service in Congress makes them complicit in the betrayal of veterans' sacred oaths and the voluntary sacrifices they’ve made.
Since the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the authority and responsibility of Congress to declare war has been eroded. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, yet our elected representatives have not debated and declared war since World War II. Instead, Congress has abdicated its responsibility and the power to make war to the President, resulting in numerous undeclared conflicts and the ongoing “War on Terror.” Generations of Americans have suffered due to our representatives being unable or unwilling to face their most difficult duty: determining when our troops should be sent to war.
Instead, Congress has put forth disastrous resolutions like the Authorization for Use of Military Force, signed three days after 9/11. Not only did this half-effort fail to name an enemy, but it also left the geographical scope undefined, no time frame, and no clear conditions for victory. Because of this, the 2001 AUMF has been used to justify U.S. military action at least 41 times in 19 countries (Congressional Research Service). And our nation’s longest war has cost an estimated $8 trillion and killed nearly a million people (Brown University’s Cost of War Project).
All but the most junior members of Congress are to blame for this continued betrayal of our troops. The Constitution demands appropriation for war shall be for no longer than two years, which means an opportunity for debate and proper declaration has been avoided every two years since Sept. 18, 2001.
It is past time for all members of Congress to recommit themselves to the intent of our founding fathers, their defined powers and responsibilities under the Constitution, and their solemn duty to the men and women who volunteer to place themselves in harm's way in defense of the American people and this Republic.
I am asking our Alaskan delegation to lead this effort. For every veteran we honored this day, and for every veteran to come.
PAUL ROBBINS JR.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran