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Limitation of war amendment

middleagedgamer

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If the Libertarian Party can manage to get a respectable amount of power in the federal government, how's this for an amendment that requires non-interventionism in foreign policy?

Section 1
The Congress shall not declare war, except in the circumstances described in Section 2 and Section 3 of this article.

Section 2
The Congress may declare war in the event that the United States has been directly invaded, or in the event that a foreign nation, being directly invaded, expressly requests the intervention of the United States.

Section 3
The Congress may declare war with the vote of four fifths of the Senate and House of Representatives, or the vote of three fourths of the Senate and House of Representatives and the approval of the President.

Section 4
No declaration of war shall last for more than two years, or until the invasion spoken of in Section 2 of this article shall be successfully driven back, whichever occurs first.

Section 5
In the event that the United States Armed Forces continues a military action without standing under this article, a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, having reached the age of adulthood in his or her state, may bring a cause of action against the Secretary of Defense for an injunction to cease fire. The Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction in such a case.

Here, let me break this down, clause for clause, and explain exactly what this means.

The first part of Section 2 is obvious. Even Libertarians would support war in this case. Remember, after Pearl Harbor, only one Congressman voted against war with Japan, so this is probably the easiest to garner support for.

The second part of Section 2 allows the United States to intervene, but only if they actually want us to intervene. A lot of the world's hatred for the United States stems from the fact that we shove our beliefs down their throats, without their consent. They point to Vietnam and Iraq as prime examples of this. However, if they actually want our help, like the UK and France did in WWII, we should give it to them.

Section 3 allows us to take the preemptive strike, but only with incredible support.

Section 4 is designed so that, if the people grow weary of the war, like we're doing with Iraq, now, it won't take legislation to end the war; it will take legislation to continue it.

Section 5 gives the power to enforce this article, not to Congress (fox in the charge of the hen house, anyone?), but to the people whose tax dollars pay for the war. The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction because litigation can typically take years to finish, and the military can do a lot of harm during that time frame. Just have the Supreme Court decide it, and let's get it over with!

Thoughts?
 

Goshin

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Allow me to parse that.


Section 1
The Congress shall not declare war, except in the circumstances described in Section 2 and Section 3 of this article.

Section 2
The Congress may declare war in the event that the United States has been directly invaded, or in the event that a foreign nation, being directly invaded, expressly requests the intervention of the United States. What about existing treaties with allies and Nato?

Section 3
The Congress may declare war with the vote of four fifths of the Senate and House of Representatives, or the vote of three fourths of the Senate and House of Representatives and the approval of the President. This boils down to "Congress Shall Never Declare War, Even If We Are Invaded, Because You Never NEVER get 4/5ths of both Houses to Agree On A Damn Thing."
Section 4
No declaration of war shall last for more than two years, or until the invasion spoken of in Section 2 of this article shall be successfully driven back, whichever occurs first. So if the invasion goes on longer than 2 years, we must surrender, or unilaterally cease fire until Congress passes a new Declaration of War??

Section 5
In the event that the United States Armed Forces continues a military action without standing under this article, a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, having reached the age of adulthood in his or her state, may bring a cause of action against the Secretary of Defense for an injunction to cease fire. The Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction in such a case. The Supreme Court decides if we must end a war before we win it. Umm....



Nah... no thanks.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Section 2
The Congress may declare war in the event that the United States has been directly invaded, or in the event that a foreign nation, being directly invaded, expressly requests the intervention of the United States. What about existing treaties with allies and Nato?

I'm pretty sure that living up a mutual defense treaty would be considered a request for intervention.

Section 3
The Congress may declare war with the vote of four fifths of the Senate and House of Representatives, or the vote of three fourths of the Senate and House of Representatives and the approval of the President. This boils down to "Congress Shall Never Declare War, Even If We Are Invaded, Because You Never NEVER get 4/5ths of both Houses to Agree On A Damn Thing."

I think if we were invaded, they'd manage to muster the votes.

Section 4
No declaration of war shall last for more than two years, or until the invasion spoken of in Section 2 of this article shall be successfully driven back, whichever occurs first. So if the invasion goes on longer than 2 years, we must surrender, or unilaterally cease fire until Congress passes a new Declaration of War??

The clarification in post 2 made it clear that this meant a re-authorization would be required.

Section 5
In the event that the United States Armed Forces continues a military action without standing under this article, a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States, having reached the age of adulthood in his or her state, may bring a cause of action against the Secretary of Defense for an injunction to cease fire. The Supreme Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction in such a case. The Supreme Court decides if we must end a war before we win it. Umm....

No, the Supreme Court and a lack of appropriate authorization would decide that.

This section provides a mechanism for disputing an improperly authorized war -- which gives the Court the ability to say STFU if it's painfully obvious that said war is necessary for the continued survival of the nation.



ETA: Sorry, got confused, the clarification was in the latter portion of post 1, not in post 2. Whoops. :lol:
 
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Disputatious71

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Why have section one at all if it is a direct reference to sections three & four with no added feature using the exact same or similar wording, as a matter of fact why have sections at all just spell out what is intended without breaking down any further than paragraphs? Where is the "Pearl Harbor" clause, is the Congress not to have the power to declare war if the nation is attacked but not invaded without a majority and does the declaration in section 2 not have to be carried by a majority? Section 4 goes against the spirit of war, what I mean by this is if your enemy knows you cannot fight a war of attrition beyond two years then he wins its a surrender clause in my opinion. Section 5 is not practical as it turns warfare into a civil lawfare at home.
Those are my thoughts, the goal behind the statute is commendable but when writing it out it needs to encompass more options instead of preventing the operations of a military and the rights of a nation to defend itself.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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Why have section one at all if it is a direct reference to sections three & four with no added feature using the exact same or similar wording

The point is to say that Congress can't declare war except as outlined as follows. If you take out section 1, then all the amendment does is outline circumstances under which Congress may declare war without specifically forbidding it under its existing war powers.

Where is the "Pearl Harbor" clause, is the Congress not to have the power to declare war if the nation is attacked but not invaded

I think most people would put "attacked" and "invaded" together under the same heading, but a simple rewording would take care of that technicality.

Section 4 goes against the spirit of war, what I mean by this is if your enemy knows you cannot fight a war of attrition beyond two years then he wins its a surrender clause in my opinion.

The clause, as middlegamer explained, was intented to require a re-authorization of the war after 2 years time.

Section 5 is not practical as it turns warfare into a civil lawfare at home.

Only if it is not properly authorized.
 

middleagedgamer

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What about existing treaties with allies and Nato?
Do these treaties explicitly state that the United States is to intervene if the other nations are directly invaded?

This boils down to "Congress Shall Never Declare War, Even If We Are Invaded, Because You Never NEVER get 4/5ths of both Houses to Agree On A Damn Thing."
First of all, regular legislation can still pass if we are directly invaded, or another nation asks for our help.

Second, 4/5 consensus has happened before, and in war, no less. I've already given an example of one.

The Supreme Court decides if we must end a war before we win it. Umm....
No. The Supreme Court decides if we meet one of the three criteria to be eligible for war. Those criteria are

1. Being directly invaded
2. Helping an ally nation that is directly invaded and asks for it, or
3. The consensus explained in Section 3.

If even one of the above three is met, then the war is not unconstitutional. Whether or not it's justified is a different story.

The only valid point you had in your entire post is...

So if the invasion goes on longer than 2 years, we must surrender, or unilaterally cease fire until Congress passes a new Declaration of War??
Point taken. An exception to that limitation would be applied if the United States is directly invaded.
 

middleagedgamer

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Where is the "Pearl Harbor" clause, is the Congress not to have the power to declare war if the nation is attacked but not invaded without a majority
All attacks involve invasion. "Invasion" is when another country, by force and hostility, enters the soil that rightfully belongs to another.

If planes cross into American skies to bomb them, that is an invasion. They are invading, specifically to attack, but they are invading nonetheless.
 

Disputatious71

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I think most people would put "attacked" and "invaded" together under the same heading, but a simple rewording would take care of that technicality.
One would have thought that the Constitution was settled yet today their is debate over the meaning of words in it to support different domestic factions goals.
 

middleagedgamer

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One would have thought that the Constitution was settled yet today their is debate over the meaning of words in it to support different domestic factions goals.
Again, an attack and an invasion are different, but so similar that they might as well be synonyms, as I've already explained in my last post.
 

Disputatious71

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All attacks involve invasion. "Invasion" is when another country, by force and hostility, enters the soil that rightfully belongs to another.

If planes cross into American skies to bomb them, that is an invasion. They are invading, specifically to attack, but they are invading nonetheless.

Would you call Pearl Harbor and the September 11th attacks an invasion then if no foreign soldiers occupied the property? If that is your definition of invasion when does it become "ttruned back" as per section 4?
 

Goshin

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This would probably, arguably, disallow a counter-attack against an attacking country, as in Pearl Harbor or 9/11.
 

samsmart

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If the Libertarian Party can manage to get a respectable amount of power in the federal government, how's this for an amendment that requires non-interventionism in foreign policy?



Here, let me break this down, clause for clause, and explain exactly what this means.

The first part of Section 2 is obvious. Even Libertarians would support war in this case. Remember, after Pearl Harbor, only one Congressman voted against war with Japan, so this is probably the easiest to garner support for.

The second part of Section 2 allows the United States to intervene, but only if they actually want us to intervene. A lot of the world's hatred for the United States stems from the fact that we shove our beliefs down their throats, without their consent. They point to Vietnam and Iraq as prime examples of this. However, if they actually want our help, like the UK and France did in WWII, we should give it to them.

Section 3 allows us to take the preemptive strike, but only with incredible support.

Section 4 is designed so that, if the people grow weary of the war, like we're doing with Iraq, now, it won't take legislation to end the war; it will take legislation to continue it.

Section 5 gives the power to enforce this article, not to Congress (fox in the charge of the hen house, anyone?), but to the people whose tax dollars pay for the war. The Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction because litigation can typically take years to finish, and the military can do a lot of harm during that time frame. Just have the Supreme Court decide it, and let's get it over with!

Thoughts?

I would rather not place any Constitutional limitations on warfare because our national defense policies and national security policies may change so often and in ways we can't imagine that I don't want the government's hands to be tied.

I really don't like how much power the President has to unilaterally commit troops to military action. On the other hand, I don't think an amendment to the Constitution would solve anything. Rather, I'd prefer it if Congress started having some balls and cut military funding for actions it doesn't like. Unfortunately, Congress is full of so many people that some are bound to find ways to support funding for unpopular military actions. Even so, I'd rather keep it a power of Congress and not let them be tied down by an amendment.
 

Paschendale

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I like the idea of limitations on war. Not sure if I like these specific limits, but putting measures in place that would have stopped Vietnam, our current wars, and many of our smaller military actions would be great. You might want to include an actual provision limiting the use of military force outside of a war. The US bombs other countries all the time without official wars, and you'd need to include provisions for fighting enemies that aren't countries. For example, the attack on Afghanistan that followed 9/11, to essentially take revenge... I wouldn't want to make that kind of move impossible. There was, perhaps, an invasion, but it was not ongoing. Destroying someone who hurts you is a damn good preventative measure so no one else will do so in the future.

To sum up: Good idea, but it's a lot more complicated than your list.
 

rathi

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Why not start with something simple? I'd like a bill that limits "police actions" on foreign soil to two weeks. Either congress issues a formal declaration of war by that time or the operation ends.
 

middleagedgamer

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Why not start with something simple? I'd like a bill that limits "police actions" on foreign soil to two weeks. Either congress issues a formal declaration of war by that time or the operation ends.
We already have that. It was passed shortly after Vietnam, specifically to prevent that President from simply sending troops to other countries, like that.

And, the grace period is not two weeks; it's two days.
 

rathi

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We already have that. It was passed shortly after Vietnam, specifically to prevent that President from simply sending troops to other countries, like that.

And, the grace period is not two weeks; it's two days.

Except it doesn't, seeing as how there have been numerous conflicts lasting longer than 2 days, and yet there hasn't been a formal declaration of war since WW2.
 

donsutherland1

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Thoughts?

Such an amendment would amount to little more than an aggressor's "bill of rights." It would shred deterrence. It would undermine vital U.S. interests and security commitments i.e., all but preclude the U.S. from responding militarily were Iran to choke off the Strait of Hormuz or a NATO ally come under attack. Would-be aggressors could be certain that the U.S. would very likely not possess the willingness to respond were they to exploit U.S. overseas interests or attack U.S. allies, hence the U.S. capacity to deter such aggression that falls short of attacks on the U.S. would no longer exist. Over time, the resulting de jure U.S. power vacuum would create a more dangerous security environment for the U.S. Aside from the benefits of posturing in the name of non-interventionism, it is difficult to find any actual security benefits that would flow from such an amendment. I guess if there were a benefit, it is that this amendment falls squarely on the common ground shared between Liberal Internationalists, Realists, and Neoconservatives and, therefore, is all but certainly dead even before arrival to the Congress.
 

donsutherland1

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All attacks involve invasion. "Invasion" is when another country, by force and hostility, enters the soil that rightfully belongs to another.

If planes cross into American skies to bomb them, that is an invasion. They are invading, specifically to attack, but they are invading nonetheless.

And if an enemy is massing its forces for attack, one must wait until one suffers the attack even as a preemptive strike on the massing forces could shorten the war, thwart the enemy's prospects of success, and lead to a smaller loss of life than would otherwise have been the case.
 

rathi

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Bull ****.

We've formally declared war on Iraq, now.

No we haven't. The U.S. has no issued a formal declaration of war since WW2. Source your claim.
 
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