Congress Yawns Over Warmaking Power


Under the War Powers Act, the president can commit troops to a military operation for 60 days before getting congressional approval. Next week, that 60 days is up for the war in Libya. So what happens then?

Doug Mataconis rounds up some reporting on this, and the answer is…..nothing. Apparently no one in Congress really cares, and President Obama, like every president before him, doesn’t recognize the WPA as a legitimate check on his commander-in-chief powers anyway.

Whatever else you can say about Bush’s wars, he did get Congress’s approval for them. Obama isn’t even bothering with that much. Still, it’s hard to come down on him too hard over this. It’s up to Congress to defend its authority in the warmaking arena, and they’re tacitly agreeing that Obama’s actions have been just peachy. If both branches agree on this, then I guess that’s that. The president can deploy troops any time and in any way he wants. I just hope congressional Democrats don’t start whining about this sometime in the future when a Republican president does the same thing.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate