The current wars throughout the Middle East are being waged without a constitutionally required declaration. Until we have a constitutionally declared war by Congress, I do not recognize Presidential authority to endanger the valiant members of the Illinois National Guard. I do not consider Nation building and police actions to be constitutional. It will be my duty, as Commander of the Illinois National Guard, to recall any Illinois troops home from foreign lands. And I will not release them to service overseas without a Congressional declaration of war.
I want to make it clear from the outset that I am neither a dove nor a hawk. As a gubernatorial candidate, I am not in a position to review sensitive national security papers nor to have access to intelligence that is in the hands of Congress and the President. However, I do have an understanding of what the Constitution of the United States says and some insight into how the powers of the President have grown over more than 200 years. And I detest the political maneuvering that goes on when the lives of our brave soldiers are at stake.
The Constitution clearly states that the power to declare war is in the hands of Congress, NOT the President. Past presidents have pushed the limits of their power with the blessing of Congress. In fact, with each foreign policy emergency, Congress seems willing to grant ever increasing war powers to the President. The fact is that the last declared war we sent our men and women to fight was World War II.
If we had a constitutionally declared war, and that war was prosecuted with the full might of our military force, we would have achieved our goals in a few years. Instead, our elected leaders are using this hostile action as another tool in their political squabbles. Sending another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan is not the way to win a war. It is political appeasement. It recklessly puts our troops in harm's way.
The current police actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are authorized by the President under the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Public Law 107-40 [S.J. RES. 23] and the Authorization for Use of Military Force, Public Law 107-243 [H.J. RES. 114] passed in 2001 by the 107th Congress. Both resolutions specify no enemy other than "terrorists". Neither resolution sets objectives, geographical boundaries, or time limits.
Those resolutions rely on the War Powers Resolution of 1973 for validity. That resolution is considered by most to be unconstitutional but never tested. It was passed over a presidential veto. The limit of those powers was that it forbade armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days. Thus, Congress, President Bush, and now President Obama are relying on illegal declarations to justify the continued involvement of our brave men and women on foreign soil against an unspecified enemy. It is time we bring our brave men and women of the Illinois National Guard home.