Congress: Remember Us?

March 2, 2018 GMT

Congress long ago ceded to the executive branch its constitutionally bestowed authority to declare war. The last declaration of war passed by Congress was on June 4, 1942, when it officially added Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria to Germany, Japan and Italy during World War II.

Since then, Congress has contrived an array of devices to fund even major conflicts such as the Korean and Vietnam wars, the first Gulf war and the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, while declining to take the responsibility of declaring war.

Today, Americans have been surprised by the deaths of U.S. soldiers in places such as Niger and Syria, and by massive U.S. airstrikes against Russian-controlled mercenaries who threatened U.S. special forces in Syria. The U.S. is engaged almost continuously, with Congress mostly on the sidelines.

Wednesday, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution in a specific case that could get Congress back into the decision-making and accountability process.

Introduced by independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the resolution calls for ending U.S. support of the Saudi-led war inside Yemen.

Senate rules require a vote on the resolution by March 9. Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey should support it as a step toward greater transparency and accountability for war.