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Austin Noyes, Moorhead, Published September 13 2013

Letter: Executive power going unchecked

In recent days, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has led to claims of horrific chemical weapons being used to end the devastating civil war that has ravaged the country for nearly two and a half years. President Barack Obama, in response, has hinted, along with his advisers and press secretaries, that he might be willing to bypass Congress in an attempt to unilaterally send U.S. military forces to Syria without the express consent of the legislature.

I think that it is decently well-known as the War Powers Resolution, passed in Congress in 1973 in response to the Vietnamese conflict. This resolution authorizes the president to use his far-overused war powers to send troops unilaterally to any place on Earth without congressional approval for 60 days, at which time the president must seek Congress’ approval for further use of our military.

Flashback just a couple of years to the Libyan incident where Obama himself enacted this resolution to send troops to Libya for 60 days. But, at the end of the 60-day period, he said that he did not owe Congress a request to keep our troops there because he had transferred command to NATO, which he was still involved in until completion of the mission, somewhat unconstitutionally. Allowing our president to bypass Congress again when he has abused this power in the past cannot be a smart move for Congress or the American people.

I urge you call your representative and tell him that Obama must seek congressional approval before sending our brave men and women overseas for something only he deems necessary. Ensuring that power is checked and authority is balanced is the best way to preserve our American way of life.

Lord Acton put it well when he said: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Make sure that your voice is heard in telling the president and the executive branch that they are subject to the will of the people in the U.S.