Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Our ISIS Problem Starts In Congress

"Circumventing the Constitution is not being faithful.  It’s being
unfaithful.  It’s breaking an oath.  It’s forsaking a duty." - Jarrin Jackson
The following is an except from a 3-part essay from Jarrin Jackson.

Why the Buck Starts in the House

  The short answer is that the ISIS problem tying our country in knots is because people do not understand war.  What they understand is a political concoction used to resolve conflict in the least disagreeable way.  In other words, war has become an exercise in political correctness.
  The Constitution gives Congress the authority to declare war (Art. 1, Sec. 8).  Yet Congress has not done that since 1942.  Instead, there has been the use of military force started, more or less, by the President, and tolerated, more or less, by the Congress.
The difference between war and the use of military force is more than wordplay.  War requires an enemy be identified.  Using military force does not.  War ends with victory or defeat.  Using military force does not.

  It is no coincidence that the last war declared and fought by the United States was WW2.  It ended with the enemy surrendering.  Compare that to every U.S. military conflict since then.  No clear beginning and end.  Mission creep.  Fluctuating objectives.  Rules of engagement set by politicians, not military professionals.  We don’t know if we won or lost.  We just quit.
  This arrangement offers plenty of cover.  The President and Congress can just point fingers at the other when things go bad.  Politicians are good at posturing when situations are muddled.  It is when responsibility is clearly placed on them that they squirm.
  The point is that they should follow the Constitution.  If the U.S. has an enemy, Congress should declare war against it, and the President should conduct that war until the enemy is defeated.

It’s about Leadership & Duty

  It is possible to see omnibus spending bills as the inevitable result of strong-willed lawmakers who simply disagree, and because they disagree, compromise is good and necessary.
  That assumes the process used in reaching that point, though, is one meant to avoid it, leaders in charge of the process honestly want to avoid the gridlock, and there is no other truth.
  Take a look.  Every year, the House begins a process of determining how much money to spend.  It does this by voting on 12 separate bills that fund the government.  Once approved, the bills are sent on to the Senate. Or so we’re taught in civics.
  This past year, only 6 of those 12 bills were approved by the House.  Why?  Majority rules.  No filibuster.  Still 365 days in the year.  Why weren’t all 12 approved?
  Because House leaders did not want them to be.  They knew of the other side’s filibuster and veto threats and so calculated, well in advance, an omnibus endgame where a chosen few on each side would privately negotiate the outcome.
  Why?  It has to do with intransigence, but it has also to do with leaders wanting to protect their followers from having to cast unpopular votes, and getting little jewels passed that wouldn’t have passed otherwise.  Instead of a bunch of votes that allow for amendments, sunlight, and thoughtful consideration, they roll everything into one big vote that has to pass immediately or the government runs out of money, immediately.
  The Founders’ idea that all Americans, through their representatives, should equally participate in the process?  Circumvented.  We rightly rage when the President circumvents the Constitution by executive fiat.  It is no less outrageous when Congress does it by legislative deceit.
  Intriguing to me, though, are the followers.  Why don’t more call out their leaders?  Do they see it, but follow so they can enjoy the fruit of party loyalty?  Do they think they have no choice, or because they think they are putting the country first?  Or do they just not see what’s going on?
  Every House member takes an Oath of Congress.  Read it sometime.  It is similar to the oaths other elected federal officials take.  Note the words “support and defend”, “true faith” and “faithfully discharge.”
  I think of those words when I see veterans past and present, parents clawing and scratching for their young, and my generation wondering where our future went.  Then I think of the mess in DC.  Those words must mean something different up there than they do down here.  Circumventing the Constitution is not being faithful.  It’s being unfaithful.  It’s breaking an oath.  It’s forsaking a duty.

  Retired Army Captain, Jarrin Jackson, is a 5th generation Oklahoman who grew up in Oologah. He lives in rural Rogers County with his wife, Katie, and two sons, Lloyd and Dale. Katie is a pediatrician at a pediatric emergency room. 
  Inspired by 9/11, he volunteered for the military out of high school, and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point with a degree in History.
  He chose infantry as his service branch & served in the Army for 7 years after West Point. After two combat tours in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger (the first with the 101st Airborne, the other with the 3d Cavalry). he left the Army in 2015 as a Captain with a honorable discharge.
"I left for two reasons. One, I joined the Army to fight. After 7 years in the trenches, it was clear that we were not fighting to win. I decided I could do better by serving in a different role."
 Jarrin Jackson is a declared candidate for U.S. Congress in Oklahoma's 2nd district Republican race.
About War

  If flash-mobs can be generated by social media, so can enemy force structures.  Cybermaster locations are irrelevant.  They can be next door or across the globe.  Couple this with ideology birthed in religion, and two distinctions that make new thinking about war critical become clear.

  1.  The force structures our enemy manifests is not overseas in the form of standing armies.  They are here in the U.S.  They consist of fighters embedded within our civilian population.
  2.   The jihadist ideology, being rooted in religion, uses our intuitive value for religious freedom against us.  It isn’t that we’re too dumb to discern ideologies that suck.  Trees are known by their fruit.  It’s that more and more of our leaders, having risen through political kabuki, are more suited for stroking factional sensitivities than those whose ideology is to kill us.  Any ideology that calls for killing others to advance religious beliefs should not be pampered.  It should be defeated.

  We have defeated ideologies before.  British imperialism, Nazi fascism, Soviet communism.  We can defeat Islamic jihadism.
  The first step in waging war is identifying the enemy.  The enemy is Islamic jihadism, a strain of religious thought that wants to usher in apocalypse through terrestrial conquest.  ISIS is one face of that ideology.  Al Qaeda is another.  We, through Congress after debate, should declare war on ISIS, Al Qaeda, and any other like-minded group that threatens our existence.
  The next step, ironically, is to constrain our military in a way that conforms to the law of Posse Comitatus.  It is not enough to invoke the rules of war wherever the battleground may be.  We should do it while preserving the Constitutional power we wield to enforce domestic laws ourselves, through civilian officials ultimately accountable to us.
  Once war is declared and military action within our borders is so constrained, we can then fight wherever we need to fight.  Note the importance of first declaring war though.  Once war is declared, the laws of treason become more relevant.  Enemy not killed can be processed through civilian courts like they are now, or through military courts where the rules are quite different and justice is much swifter.
  This does get complicated and it does require balancing, but no less than our failing effort ongoing now.  The point is the battlefield is within our gates whether we like it or not.  Our military is not allowed to fight, our law enforcement is not equipped to fight, and our political leaders mostly lack the acuity or will to fight.
  We have seen on U.S. soil the chaos following random acts of war.  We have yet to see acts of war that target our kids.

- Jarrin Jackson
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