Category Archives: Republic of Letters

The Spirit of the Republic and Syria

I must admit, I’ve been a bit stunned by the negative reaction to President Trump’s announcement of troop withdrawal from Syria. I’ve never been a Trump supporter, but I also wish him and the country well. It’s quite possible that this withdrawal is a bad idea for all involved. Two men I respect immensely–John Zmirak and Eric Metaxas–have been writing this on twitter over the last 24 hours.

There are three terrible problems, though, that the United States has simply not come to grips with. First, we’ve not been in a constitutionally-sanctioned war since 1946, when Congress announced the end of our involvement in World War II. And, second, deeply related to the first, we’ve turned all of our war-making abilities over to the Executive, in direct violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution. And, finally, third, we’ve been in almost constant war since President Bush’s invasion of Iraq in early 1991.

I’m no pacifist, and I believe war is often inevitable and necessary in this world. Yet, there’s a very good reason why the Founders placed the war-making ability in the hands of Congress, not in the hands of the Executive. If we go to war, it must be because the American people has a whole have decided that we must be at war. We should never take the killing of another–no matter how foreign–lightly. We must wrestle mightily with such decisions. We have avoided all such decisions since 1946.

I’m also aghast at how many people turned a blind eye to Obama’s atrocities abroad but now see Trump’s *reduction* of our presence abroad as a horror for all involved.

Zmirak and Metaxas might very well be right–that we should be in Syria.

If so, those who believe such should make the case to the entire American people, and declare it to the world. As it is, the pro-war forces have had their way for the past 27 years, and I’m tired of it. Very, very tired of it. The pro-war forces are, for all intents and purposes, the boy who cried wolf.