Sunday, April 3, 2011

American War Making: The Role of the President, Congress, and the Citizenry

Continuing our discussion of foreign policy, this week will talk about the US President and his ability to make foreign policy -- especially, his capacity to make war.

Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon:

Back in January, 2006, the Bush Justice Department released a 42-page memo arguing that the President had the power to ignore Congressional restrictions on domestic eavesdropping, such as those imposed by FISA (the 30-year-old law that made it a felony to do exactly what Bush got caught doing: eavesdropping on the communications of Americans without warrants). That occurred roughly 3 months after I began blogging, and -- to my embarrassment now -- I was actually shocked by the brazen radicalism and extremism expressed in that Memo. It literally argued that Congress had no power to constrain the President in any way when it came to national security matters and protecting the nation.

To advance this defense, Bush lawyers hailed what they called "the President's role as sole organ for the Nation in foreign affairs"; said the President’s war power inherently as "Commander-in-Chief" under Article II "includes all that is necessary and proper for carrying these powers into execution"; favorably cited an argument made by Attorney General Black during the Civil War that statutes restricting the President's actions relating to war "could probably be read as simply providing 'a recommendation' that the President could decline to follow at his discretion"; and, as a result of all that, Congress "was pressing or even exceeding constitutional limits" when it attempted to regulate how the President could eavesdrop on Americans. As a result, the Bush memo argued, the President had the power to ignore the law because FISA, to the extent it purported to restrict the President's war powers, "would be unconstitutional as applied in the context of this Congressionally authorized armed conflict...

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives that "the White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission." As TPM put it: "the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama's power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions," as such attempts would constitute "an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power." As Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman noted, Clinton was not relying on the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (WPR); to the contrary, her position is that the Obama administration has the power to wage war in violation even of the permissive dictates of that Resolution. And, of course, the Obama administration has indeed involved the U.S. in a major, risky war, in a country that has neither attacked us nor threatened to, without even a pretense of Congressional approval or any form of democratic consent. Whether the U.S. should go to war is a decision, they obviously believe, "for the President alone to make.


What do you think?

Has the war on terrorism fundamentally changed the role of the US President in making foreign policy, especially in terms of war?

Should the US President (the Executive branch of the government) be the primary maker of foreign policy? Or, should the US Congress have equal authority to make foreign policy and check the policies of the US President?

Should citizens be more involved in US foreign policy making? Or, should citizens be kept out of foreign policy decision making and trust their political leaders?

78 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I believe that the president, like every other part of the government, which has systems to make sure that one group can not become too power full, should not have total control on what happens on any foreign policy. Our President is not the Cheif of Police of the world. I think that the ordinary americans that do sacrifice their lives in our military and every other citizen should have a part in the say on what happens with foreign policy. Their should be a national vote on ideas concerning foreign policy for all i care.

    PSCI 100.03

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  3. The war on terrorism has changed the U.S president in making foreign policy. The terrorist are not linked to the country. They don't have a government ruled by leaders. The president shouldn't be the only maker of foreign policy. There has to be checks and balances. If the president made all the decisions it would be like a dictatorship. The citizens are already involved in making foreign policy. They vote on the senators and congressmen and they are the people who make foreign policy.

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  4. i think the war on terrorism has changed the U.S. president in making foreign policy. i dont think that the president should be the only person in charge of foreign policy, the congress should have equal authority in what occurrs and they should be able to check the policies of the president just like all the other branches of government are. citizens should be involved in foreign policy making but only to a certain extent. the people we are sending over to fight wars and to protect U.S. agencies in other countries are in fact U.S. citizens and military members so perhaps the people that should have a say are the ones who are involved in these situations and not the American society as a whole.
    Kassi Gardner, 100.05

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  5. I think there are certain times when the general public should be part of the decision-making on our foreign policies. If we are in no immediate danger of an attack, citizens should have some role in deciding whether or not we go to war. Our opinions, at the very least, should be represented.

    I also think that the President should ALWAYS have limited power, in every aspect of his office, that is checked by the senate. He is not elected by the people because the founders of this country were scared that the general public would elect a tyrant. Well, it's still possible for the electoral college to elect a tyrant, and if Congress does nothing to stop his actions, and does not have the power to, then we could easily come under the rule of a king instead of a President.

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  6. The President/Executive Branch should not, under any circumstances, have any more power than the other two branches of government. The way our government was originally set up was designed to insure no individual or very small group, gained complete control. The fact that the Executive keeps finding more and more rules that they are "above" is completely ridiculous. No one person should be in charge of the whole nations powers. War is a very powerful thing that should not be controlled by one person. If future presidents keep finding more and more things that "don't apply to them", then this country is slowly going to turn into something like a dictatorship. One person cannot hold too much power. That was decided at the very beginning of this country and should have stayed that way to begin with.

    Katherine Martin PSCI .04

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  7. I believe that the War on Terrorism has changed the role of the US President in making foreign policy, especially in terms of war. Since the attack on 9/11, the President has essentially kicked the Constitution to the curb and done his own thing, such as Bush wiretapping American's phones without a warrant and waging war on Iraq with "Operation: Iraqi Freedom."

    The President should definitely NOT be the primary maker of foreign policy. Congress should have equal authority because of the checks and balances. Without Congress, the President could do whatever he wanted to do. "We the people of the United States" should have more say in US foreign policy making. Because it is our country, we have have a say in what goes on.

    Zachary Roach PSCI 100.04

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  8. The war on terror has fundamentally changed the role of the US president in terms of foreign policy because they now don't feel the need to be checked in their foreign decisions. The president should be equal with Congress in his/her ability to make foreign policy because it is important to have a strong check system. Citizens should be involved in foreign policy when it isn't life or death for the people of the country. When we are in deadly situations we also have to be confident that the government will do the right thing on behalf of the citizens because the government won't have time to properly consult them.

    Jessica Hall 100.04

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  9. I do not believe the US President should be the primary maker of foreign policy. I believe Congress should have an equal standing with the president in deciding what is going to happen with foreign policies. A strong check and balance system is very important and I believe this policy should always be implemented. As others have said, I believe citizens should be involved in decision making but only to a certain extent. Letting the citizen's voice be heard would not be a bad thing since everyone is supposed to be guaranteed equal opportunity. Brandi Parsons PSCI 100.04

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  10. War on terriorism has changed the way the government handels foreign policy. The branches no longer check each other which is completely messed up. With the president able to make his own decisions for right around two months can cause serious consequences. By the time any one else can step in and question the president, they have no choice but to go along with his decision. I think that citizens should be more involved, especially the verterns of war. They know all about war, why not listen to them?

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  11. The president should not have the power to do whatever they want with out the consent of the other 2 branches, The checks and balances system was put in place for a reason and it should be followed. Neither the Bush nor Obama presidency should have the power to slap Congress in the face and get away with it. Congress needs to strike back and either cut all funding or institute something that will stop the president in his tracks. The power of the president is growing with each and every election and if it continues like I'm sure it will this country may end up as a dictatorship.

    Ben Hackett
    100.05

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  12. The war on terrorism has no only changed the way that we wage war but also has give more power/ control to the executive branch. since the attacks of 9/11 many have died in pursuit of those responsible but the terrorist are not linked to any one country. Our attackers are a militant group that is dispersed through out most of the Middle East and attempts to gain control through terrorist action. Pres. Bush started to push out the constitution to allow control for safety of the population. he established stronger defensive actions in transportation services, developed the department of homeland security and they have grown ever since. all the branches of government should be equal in theory but they are not.foreign policy should be address to the people and the other houses not to a single leader, this follows a dictatorship influence. I would not mind that so much if like the first presidents, the president would fight along side and lead the war.

    Cordova, Jacob PSCI100:05

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  13. I don't think anyone who hasn't been to war shoud be able to declare war at all. They have no prior experience to base this decision on. And it would also be another idea to put it a vote to the nation wether we go to war or not, rather then a political figure. No one should put their trust into one person to make the "right" decision. There should not be a primary decision maker, but it's hard to put in checks in balances, to have that purely it would require for everyone to have a common interest, since that can't happen, one has to have a little more power than the other for anything to work.
    PSCI 100.05
    Matthew Kimberlin

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  14. Yes, I believe that the war on terrorism has changed the role of the U.S. President in making foreign policy. However, I do not believe that the President should be the primary voice when it comes to making foreign policy. I believe that the system of checks and balances should always be in effect and that Congress and the President should have equal authority to make foreign policy. If we provide the President with an unprecedented amount of power, then who is to say that the individual in power won’t abuse his privilege and do whatever they please without any regard to our country and its citizens? I do believe that we should be more involved in our country’s foreign policy making because history has shown that our leaders cannot always be trusted.
    Jenna Peck PSCI 100.04

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  16. I think us, as US citizens should be more involved with foreign policy. Although we may have voted for Bush as president it doesn't mean he can do as he pleases. Eavesdropping is a felony- just because he's president doesn't give him the right to do and get away with it, with out a warrant. I feel as if we can't trust our political leaders because they do stuff like this, all politicians lie. They'll say anything and everything to get the votes. If our political leaders could be trusted I would say yes but they can't be, honestly you can't trust anyone these days.

    Theoni Kontos
    PSCI 100.03

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  17. Terrorism has definitely changed our country in many ways. Since 9/11 many innocent people and soldiers have died and it has impacted the way the government has become. I dont believe that the president should have more power than the other branches. After all that is why we have checks and balances. Just because the President is essentially "the political leader" does not mean that one person should decide on all decisions for everyone. Everyone has different opinions and no matter what happens he is going to be criticized but the decisions should be made in a more careful way with more people involved to get every aspect covered.

    Stephanie Hudlow
    PSCI 100.05

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  18. All I know is that the system of checks and balances was set up in the government for a particular reason. If we don’t plan on using it for important issues, such as regards to foreign policy then why have it at all?
    The president, from what I’ve been taught, is allowed send troops for a length of time, after that there are rules in place specifying certain things, but that’s the general idea. Now I agree with congress having a large role in foreign policy, because one man can’t do it all. He was elected to lead not to triumph and destroy.
    So, I disagree with making him the primary maker of foreign policy, and am on board with letting congress have an equal say.
    It would be nice for citizens to have a say if they know what they are doing. Just like voting, citizens need to have some kind of knowledge before we can hold them responsible with the system of foreign policy. For right now, I think political leaders should definitely have ultimate say.


    Laura Elkins
    PSCI 100.4

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  19. I don’t think the President should have this over-arching power during war time. I understand that wars sometimes require split second decisions, but the decision to go to war should never be a split second decision. It seems that the president has more power in war time and that makes me wonder, what the deterrent for going to war is. If the President has more power in war time and can declare war anytime he wants why wouldn’t he start a war? The whole “War on Terror” is just a catch-all for any war the president wants to have and the Patriot Act allows the government to invalid the privacy of its own people in the name of “freedom”.

    I feel that the American people (or whatever comes next) are going to look back at this time in American history much like we look back (or choose to ignore) the “War Relocation Camps” during WWII. It was declared constitutional for the US government to “relocate” people they saw as a threat. With each crime the government gets away with the more disconnected whit the American people the government becomes. It’s kind of like that saying you give an inch and they take a mile, but the people aren’t giving anything. I feel, more or less, helpless at the hands of what the President wants to do. And though it may not affect me directly the President does represent me, so what he does determines what the rest of the world thinks of me and all other Americans. If the president appears to be a power-hungry captain of the war machine then we are all power-hungry captains of the war machine.

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  20. The whole point of having three different branches of the government (legislative, judicial, and executive) was meant for the sole purpose of making sure that no one part of the government had more power than the other. The fact that the President has been gaining more and more power throughout the years is shocking to me because this isn't the way that America's founding fathers wanted it to be. This is just causing the United States government to become more undemocratic. I definitely believe that the Congress should have a say on what happens with foreign policy because foreign policy is a very touchy subject to Americans and other people throughout the world. It isn't right that just one person can make a decision that could impact our future in a tremendous way. Take the decision to bomb Libya as an example. Hilary Clinton stated that the U.S. President made the decision to bomb Libya and even if Congress didn't agree with his decision, the bombing would still happen. This decision could place America in an even deeper hole because it could cause Libya to go against us and it may even begin another war, which would put America farther in debt and have more young men and women killed in battle. This seems pretty unrealistic at the moment, but it's just the idea that the President is only one person and what he believes in may not be right. Anyone can make mistakes. Congress is there to look deeper into the decisions and there's more people to decide on the issue so mistakes don't happen. The balance of the branches of the government are just becoming more unbalanced as time goes on.

    Kelly Sweeney
    PSCI 100.05

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  21. I think that the war on terrorism has changed the President role in making foreign policy. Look at the way they can tap into the phone lines to hear what people are saying which shouldn’t be allowed. It also shouldn’t be just the President making the foreign policies; the Congress should have equal authority and also be the one to check the President’s foreign policies. Only in certain decisions the citizen should have a say in the foreign policies. That way it isn’t just one person making all the decisions, it would be many people deciding and agree on what the foreign policies should be.

    Ashley Mellott
    PSCI 100.03

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  22. I think our president should NOT be the only decision maker on foreign policy. We as the people of the U.S do vote people into congress in order for them to make foreign policy and to uphold their rule in all situations, however I think this is our down fall. I feel a joint decision between us and congress and the president should be needed before a war is delivered in our lap. Is it fair that our people suffer for false reasons, is it fair our children, wives, husbands, brothers, parents die because of a decision they did not make? There has to be a balance in order to keep the importance of the decisions made in view. When we loose sight of why foreign policy is in place, we make mistakes that can cost us our lives and our freedom.

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  23. Personally, I do not believe the executive branch of the US government should even exist. Having one person in charge of any type of governmental procedure is completely non democratic. However, going to war after 9/11 was an impulse move by the whole country and that the president is blamed for that decision is not fair. Looking back on that situation, right or wrong, the majority of the country was up in arms about 9/11 and going to war against the "enemy" made everyone feel better. I agree with one of the students above in that the country should be involved in any and all major foreign policy decisions that would otherwise be made by the president. This would be extremely difficult considering the large size of the United States but if this country is going to be ruled under the name of a democracy this must be done.

    Sheridan Webb
    PSCI 100.05

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  24. The war on terrorism has changed the role of the President. The war is one of the main platforms that the presidential candidates use to win over votes from the American people. I agree with Sheridan on how one person has that much say in the government and that one person has as much power as he does and that it is not democratic. This is why I think the congress should have more power in the decision making. There is enough people to come to an agreement of a wise decision, and there are representatives from each state. They also deal with the checks and balances of the US and they would be well aware of the budget that comes with war. Although, on a different note, even though more people making a decision could be a better choice, some situations need an immediate response, and that is what the President can do for us as Americans.
    Caitlynn Costantino 100.4

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  25. I think since the 9/11 attacks it has changed the role of the US President and foreign policy most certainly in terms of war. I'm not so sure that only the president should be the primary maker of the foreign policy because that's giving one person way to much power and I'm not sure that is something that is handled correctly in that position, I think the US Congress should also have a say in the policies. In all honestly citizens should be kept out of major policy decisions, minor decisions, maybe we could have more of a say but that's still a little iffy too.

    MarChell DeShong 100.04

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  26. In my opinion, big decisons on foriegn policies should not be given to one person to determine. That is silly, and I think that much more than one person should be allowed to make decisions like war, absolutely.
    "It literally argued that Congress had no power to constrain the President in any way when it came to national security matters and protecting the nation."-- This clearly is giving one person way too much power and will set a bad example for presidents in the future. We are looking down a rabbit hole that ultimately leads to totalitarianism. Also, the "war on terror" is exemplifying the US as terrorists, as stated, "Obama administration has indeed involved the U.S. in a major, risky war, in a country that has neither attacked us nor threatened to, without even a pretense of Congressional approval or any form of democratic consent" this makes us look like terrorists. Because we are the biggest terrorists in the world. Bullies that but the big long American nose into other peoples business and accuses them of doing what we are doing. Crimeney.

    Steven Orrence
    100.05

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  27. I agree with the person above me, that big decisions on foreign policy should not be made by just one person alone (especially war decisions.)I think the war on terrorism has changed the role of the US President on making foreign policy. The decision to have the war on terrorism was almost automatic for many people after 9/11. Now people look back on it and blame the president, but he simply did what everyone was wanted, some kind of revenge or closure. That drastic even has set a precident for drastic measure to be made by the president on foreign policy making though. Once someone makes a drastic decision on thier own, it is easier for others to follow in the foot steps.

    Hannah Hime PSCI 100.04

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  28. The three branches of government arevsupposed to provide the checks and balances that ensures effective decision making and right course of action. However it seems our government has been sidetracked from their function by engaging in power struggles amongst themselves.The congress is blocking or manipulating legilsature to such a degree that it is no longer effective. While I believe power should be distributed, there needs to be a leader who has final say when compromise cannot be reached or time does not permit for delayed action. Average citizens should have more influence over government decision making, but the average person does not have access to nor want the necessary resources to engage in foreign policy more acvtivly. Leaders can be great like Jesus or Gandhi and do remarkable things for a nation. Or leadrers can be pretty horrific like Hiltler. Our job as citizens should be to pay attention, ask questions and relieve the leadership from their duties if they are not in alignment with the majority.

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  29. I think the war on terror as definitely made an impace on the presidents role in foreign policy making. I think that congress should definitely be involved so that everything can be more thought out. For example, the war on terror was a very sudden war, we were attacked by al queda and we assumed that they came from afghanistan and iraq when really they did not. It was a very sudden thing and at the time yes people were angry but i think the process of declaring war could have been more thought out. Like other people have said, Americans are losing their lives everyday fighting for a war that they had no say in. I think that those who want to be involved with foreign policy making should, but those who choose not to, choose not to; almost like voting.
    Christina Ferrara PSCI 100.03

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  30. Ever since 9/11 I definitely feel as though the President has a lot more power in determining foreign policy. George W. Bush definitely took a lot more liberty with invading Iraq than any other President has in regards to going to war. He just about sidestepped Congress, he went to war without their approval. And ever since then, the president has has alot more say in foreign policy. I believe that it should be up to Congress and the people of America in determining foreign policy, maybe if congress listened to the people, we would go to war less often, because most of the population doesn't approve of war anyway.

    Ross Tamaccio 100.03

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  31. The war on terror has become an outrageous system. I do believe that ever since 9-11 the President has seemed to almost be granted more power with foreign policy. I do not believe that this power should only be through him. I think that the other offices should have some sort of say in this topic. Specifically how Bush handled the Iraqui war he by passed all the other offices and just chose to do what he did. No thought or anything is what it seemed like. He went to war without any of the others approval and now look at where we are at. I think that the President can not just make decisions on his own and thats why these different offices are in existence so that things don't happen that way. But with 9-11 everyone panicked and Bush got away with alot more than I believe he would have on a regular day. Sometimes the people of America should have some decision on these situations dealing with foreign policy especially being able to voice their opinion atleast and having congress hear the thoughts of the American people.

    Hanna Simane
    100.05

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  32. I don't fell that getting the citizens involved would be a good idea. the public opinion is important , however that process would take way too long. This is why we vote for representatives, to express or decisions for us in congress. This is why I believe that the president should consult congress before making and exercising foreign policy. If we give the president absolute power, we might as well do away with the title president and change it to King of the United States.

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  33. I believe that the executive branch should not hold soul power when setting and making foreign policy decisions. A lot of argument and debate is initiated when a major foreign policy verdict is made by one person, presumably the president. Since the executive branch is made up of cabinet members, chosen by the president himself, I do not think the decision to or not to be involved in particular foreign affairs is very democratic or representative of the country overall. Congress should be involved in the decision making. Congress members are directly voted into office by citizens giving citizens more representation in policy making. However, if citizens voted in election for or against foreign affairs, it would become a too time consuming and complicated process. Congress should be the citizen’s delegate for foreign policy issues.

    Cayce Martin, PSCI 100.04

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  34. This war on terror, has honestly just become ridicilious. It has gone on for so long. If we have not fixed the problem since we first went in 10 years ago, then we obiviously are not going to be able to fix it now. The president has power to send troops to other countries, but has to justify it to COngress. COngress has the right and power to remove those troops that the President has sent in and to declare war. I feel like these past two presidents think they have all the power to just send troops in to take care of terror when they have yet to fix it. Congress needs to step up to the plate and needs to use thier power to make a change. Honestly I am glad that the President does not have all the power over our military. He has some and Congress has the rest. Think at how many more people would be over seas losing their lives if the President had all the control. I believe Congress should do some more checking up on the President with the war on terror. I also believe that citizens should have a say in foreign policy. The only down fall of that is, that they need to be up to date on what exactly is going on before they just vote yes or no for a war or other issues. This war on terror had a purpose when it first started. But now, ten years later. Nobody know what the meaning of it is anymore.

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  35. I do feel that this war on terror has allotted the president far too much unchecked power in forine policy. I feel like the congress should be making these decisions based on voting and their tendencies as they were voted for buy citizens. It's not right the man no one directly votes for has the power to do what ever the hell he wants in other countries with the lives of our friends and families in the military. I believe thecitizens have no power when the president makes his own decisions it needs to be in the hands of the congress because of their more direct representation of voters. Anthony Harley 100.05

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  36. The power of the US government is divided into three branches (Executive, Congress, and Judicial), they are supposed to be EQUAL and check each other. This does not happen, as seen in this blog. I feel that no one person should be in control of every decision being made. There’s a reason that there are three branches, why not let them do their jobs? Also, I feel that citizens should be more involved in US foreign policy making; then maybe we wouldn’t be meddling in other people’s business all the time. I wonder what would happen in the US didn’t make up justifications and bomb other countries, would other attack the US?

    Emmi Shambeda
    PSCI 100.05

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  37. I think that the president shouldn't have all the power. I think that congress should be involved and not ignored. Congress should be able to vote with the President so there are more options and they can decide together the right decision. I think that sometimes we are mad and want to take action fast when someone attacks us. That's not always the right choice, we should wait and come up with a plan instead of sending troops out as the first choice. Citizens should be aware of what happening right away with the foreign policy but they shouldn't get involved too much. Sometimes we think we know what is right but are wrong in the end.

    kathryn stevens 100.04

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  39. My outlook on the whole situation is basically the same as others. I feel the president should not have all the power in making decisions, regarding the our country. If the congress is all leaning one way, which is away from using military force then the president should not be able to change the proceeding acts. Congress and the President should come together as one to make the most ethical decision for what is best for the country. However, with terrorism i believe the president should be able to act on whatever he feels is best for our country. The president should not act irrationally and make ethical decision that will benefit our country and not hurt it.
    Ben Goldman 100.03

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  40. I think the general public should be allowed to have some influence on the decision making. The executive branch should not be the leading power of decisions in the U.S. and the other two branches shouldn't be of less importance. Decision making should be based upon things that will improve our country and help it progress to be more stable and secure. The general public should be satisfied with these decisions as well.
    PSCI 100.03
    Kindra Bittle

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  41. I believe that the US President does tend to have more power nowadays. There is a reason why the government has three branches: judicial, executive and legislative. There is also a reason why we have checks and balances, so no branch can have more power over the others. The Us President should not be the primary maker of foreign policies because their decision making is not always the best. As for the citizens, I believe they have no power at all. Their votes do not even count when the President is chosen and that leads to them having no power. If the citizens and the US President do not deserve the power, then the US Congress should have authority in making foreign policies. They deserve every inch of power in policies because they represent the voters of the United States of America.

    Alaina Meserole
    PSCI 100.05

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  42. I don't think that the president should have complete control. Everyone needs a second opinion especially one who has power over so many people. The general public should have some say on what goes on in the country because we are the ones who have to deal with the consequences. Unfortunately, they don't have any say even when it comes to choosing the president.
    Katelyn Sine
    100.04

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  43. I think the role of the President has over stepped its boundaries. The United States government was set up to have check and balance so one person was not is total control. We are not supposed to have a dictator running the country. Our country preaches freedom and democracy but then our leader is taking the power in his hands to make all of the decisions on his own. That is not a democracy. I think the war on terrorism has changed the way our government is currently being run. I feel it is an excuse for the President to gain more power for himself. Terrorism is set up to do just what the name implies, set terror amongst the people. Our president has taken it upon himself to wage war in the name of protecting the country against terrorism giving him the ultimate power. If the United States continues down this path we will be giving up the principles of how this country was set up by our founding fathers.

    Karen Martin
    PSCI 100.04

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  44. The president should not make these decisions alone. Like Colin said, our president is not chief of police of the world. We voted the members of congress in place in order to gain say in what is to be done when it comes to wars. The congress and the president need to work together, it cannot just be one person’s decision for the world. Citizens do need to be more involved, especially when it comes to family members serving the country and being in line of war. The president alone should not send off our loved ones just because he himself feels the need to. It’s everyone’s say because everyone is effected by the outcomes, not just the president.

    Pamela Smoot PSCI 100.04

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  45. Yes because it’s no long the U.S. against another country it is the U.S. against armed groups of people in certain countries. They have different nationalities and not technically military personal, therefore the rules of war have been change. The leaders of the wars need to change and adapt, the president should be the initial voice on certain issues. Then congress should be the ones that check the president’s ideals to make sure the people are being heard. Yes but most citizens don’t know much about foreign policy and not a lot about any other country than their own.

    Joshua Labuhn PSCI 100.03

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  46. I feel that the only job the president does anymore is just dealing with war. Instead of dealing with our budget and keeping friendly with other nations they have done the very opposite for awhile now. The president has way to many powers of his own including pardons. He is suppose to be a figure of our nation not a figure for himself as a king of a hierarchy in which it seems as they have made possible by not following the chain in command. Our nation was based off a system that was suppose to work together through different branches to make sure that no one branch could be corrupt or take over and each is suppose to follow the constitution but now they all do what ever they want and we have to follow what ever they do, yeah that’s corrupt. Its sad to say maybe one primary branch should make the decisions of war on the reasons that congress can never make a joint decision about anything and if they do it takes them forever. I think it would be nice that people had more say what their country did but the problem is a lot of people are not educated enough in what is going on to make a unbiased decision. We have this system in which we vote educated and dedicated leaders to represent our opinions for us and those people need to do their job right or we get someone else, there is always a leader in the group so a decision can be made.
    Katie Clevenger 100.05

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  47. I believe that the president, as well as all other parts of the government has ways to make sure that every group is equal, and shouldn’t have total control of foreign policy. I feel that not only the ones in the military but also the ones not in the military should have a say in what happens with foreign policy. The war on terrorism has changed the U.S president in making foreign policy.

    Megan Long
    PSCI 100.03

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  48. I do not believe the President should have the overriding authority to declare or continue war with other countries. I agree with the many other comments on this blog that the three branches of the government were designed in order to delicate equal power of all decisions, with hopes of avoiding any one person or department from gaining too much power. As far as the president being and I quote, “the sole organ for the Nation in foreign affairs” is incorrect. First, the President did not get to the position he is at without the advice and help from others, so he should not begin running the country without aid. Second, as it can be clearly seen one man is not capable of making a sound judgment on his own; what the nation needs is more individuals coming together to fight such unwanted behavior and less group think. As far as the President spying on people, I don’t care for the idea but with as much personal information people put on the internet there is no longer much privacy anyhow and they can already go through the trash we put out in the streets so why not just go ahead and bug our phone lines. (speaking sarcastically of course)

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  49. I Strongly believe that the war on terrorism has changed the role of the president in making foreign policy. However, I do not believe the President should have the complete authority to declare war with other countries. There was a previous comment stating we elect people for congress to help get our say out there and I believe it should be an equal decision. I also completely agree with a comment made by Katie, I also feel like all the president does anymore is deal with war. What about us, as a country? Shouldn't he care about our financial situation? It shouldn't only be up to one person, but a bunch of people coming to an agreement on what foreign policies should be.

    Rebekah Knipe PSCI 100.04

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  50. I believe that American citizens and the US congress should have equal authority over this. However, this could also be kind of tricky due to the decision or thoughts that some of the American citizens might have. So, instead of them helping make better decisions for the country it could actually worsen it. I also believe that the president alone shouldn’t be responsible for making these decisions on his own. As we all know right now, there has been a lot of money that has been spent on war, and just like this article states, Libya hasn’t acted in a threatening way towards the US government nor its citizens. By whatever decision the president makes, he’s putting at risk the lives of others as well, so therefore I believe we all should be more included when making these kind of important decisions for our country.

    Jorge Alvarez
    PSCI 100.03

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  51. I think that the war on terrorism his changed the role of the US President in making foreign policy. The president should not have sole power in being in charge of foreign policy. The power should be spend between the citizens also, although the president should have majority of the power. Many people say that the war going on today is pointless now and don’t know why it’s not over. They fault the president for the war, but around 911 when this war was fresh many people agreed with the war. So maybe if citizens are involved more in foreign policy there will be less of a debate about the war.
    Wayne Fleming 100.4

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  52. I think the war on terrorism has changed the U.S. president in making foreign policy. I think the president should not be the only one in control of making those kinds of decisions. It is a major decision, so I do not think only one person should make those decisions. I also think Congress should have equal authority in making foreign policies and should check the policies of the president. One person cannot make decisions like that. Everyone makes bad choices, and being the president and making bad decisions have very bad consequences.
    Leigh Ann Nelson 100.03

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  53. I think that it is ridiculous for a president to try and hold so much power. There is no way that he (or she potentially) should be able to override other parts of the government. Giving one single person so much power is leading towards a monarchy, which is the thing we tried to escape to begin with. Ideally i think that people should be able to vote. Allowing people to vote would slow down the process of getting involved a great deal, which may in the end, eliminate the option of getting involved at all because the other country may solve the problem o its own by then. I do not think we should interfere at all, but if we must then i feel that as much precaution as possible should be put into prior to it. It would be sad to have another vietnam type war where so many people die for... in effect nothing.

    Yasmin Modica
    100.04

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  54. Concerning the war on terrorism, the power of the President has greatly increased over the past decade. Though from the beginning of this country, our government's power has steadily increased, this process has sped up dramatically after 9/11. The process of checks and balances were put in place for a reason and should be followed. I feel that the President shouldn't have complete control on the decisions of war. Both Congress and the people of this country should have an equal say. The theory is that since we actually elect our Congressmen we have a say over foreign policy, so Congress should then have equal authority to balance out the President whom we don't directly elect. Whether Congress actually listens to the people is where the problem lies.

    Miranda Beahm
    PSCI 100.05

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  55. I feel that everybody has a say in US foreign policy making. You can have a president and government that doesnt know anything about war, because they never experienced being in a war. Where as you have people who have experienced being in a war that has better knowledge of the terms of war. I feel that Congress should have equal authority as the president so there are more options and more opinions that influences what decision should be made on the war of terrorism.

    Shayna Landis. 100.03

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  56. Ever since the war on terror began the presidents role and power has increased. The president should not be able to declare war without say from Congress. It seems foreign policy has become the main focus of the most recent presidents and whats happening here at home is pushed aside. It shouldn't be one mans say because we all live in this country and everyones opinion should mean something.

    Nick Mullican, PSCI 100.05

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  57. I am not very familiar with the War Powers Resolution, but I would say that many things have changed since it was enacted. The U.S. (and other countries) have the technological advantage of being far more involved in their neighbors affairs than they did 50 years ago. But this doesn't mean that the U.S. should be involved in everyone else's affairs.

    And, certainly, the executive branch - the president - should not be able to make decisions without the agreement of congress or the American citizens. The president and congress are elected to represent the people and therefore they should represent the reasonable input of those citizens they represent. There are too many advances in war technology that would make it possible for the elimination of complete cultures/countries in a very short period of time. The consequences of these actions should not be handled by one person or one small group alone.

    It seems as if many citizens are weary of so much attention on foreign policy matters when the U.S. is facing a severe economic crisis, lack of funding for education, and inadequate health care.

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  58. After the war on terrorism was declared there definitely was a fundamental change in the US President’s foreign policy making. From what I have seen so far, the President’s do as they please and don’t really rely to much on congress’s decisions. I don’t think it’s a good idea to heavily rely and allow one man’s decisions to direct a whole nation in a certain direction that which may not be what the whole nation of people want. Power should not be invested in one man but the three branches of government that were established that each had equal power. I think that more emphasis should be put on checks and balance system because at this point I don’t think it’s really effective. As for citizens being more involved in US foreign policy, I definitely do think that they should be involved because every decision that is made affects the people of the nation and is representative of the people as well, because the President is in office to represent the people and not him/herself alone.
    Sofia Khan
    PSCI 100.05

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  59. Ian Hickman 100.05 Today we do look to our President to lead our efforts against an external threat. That is the way the government has become organized and that's the expectation of American people and the Congress has confirmed this decision, I think particularly among the Democrats, to indicate unity behind him and not to indicate any cracks in the unit with respect to fighting that.
    Second, I think as you get distanced from those events and as you add things like, which are really the role of Congress? The congress should control the budget, the structure of the government, the nature of future threats, and I think the congressional role starts to become more prominent with the longer term issues. I think you'll see that there are 12 basic ways to make U.S. foreign policy. The President or the executive branch can make foreign policy through:
    1) -- responses to foreign events
2) -- proposals for legislation
3) -- negotiation of international agreements
4) -- policy statements
5) -- policy implementation
6) -- independent action.
    In nearly all of these circumstances, Congress can either support the President's approach or attempt to change it. In the case of independent Presidential action, it may be very difficult to change policy in the short term; in the case of a legislative proposal by the executive branch or treaties and international agreements submitted to the Senate or Congress for approval, Congress has a decisive voice. In most cases Congress supports the President, but it frequently modifies his initiatives in the process of approving them.
    Congress can make foreign policy through : 1-- resolutions and policy statements
2) -- legislative directives
3) -- legislative pressure
4) -- legislative restrictions/funding denials
5) -- informal advice
6) -- congressional oversight.
    In these circumstances, the executive branch can either support or seek to change congressional policies as it interprets and carries out legislative directives and restrictions, and decides when and whether to adopt proposals and advice.

    I think the public should have a say in foreign policy, as thousands of families can be affected with worry and concern for their child fighting for our country. If there were a majority consensus poll on foreign affairs, then the president could use those results to decide and justify his plan of action in response to crisis.

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  60. Trae Tinsman 100.04
    I think the war of terrorism had has made a huge difference in the U.S. foreign policy. I dont beleive that it is up to one man or president to have so much power and make all the important choices. Congress should be in just about every choice that the president makes and makes sure its for the good of America. I also thinkk because we live in a democracy government we the people should also have a huge say it what the United States is doing with foreign counties.

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  61. This war in the middle east has made this country strain to its breaking point. we are spending countless millions on the war when we could be spending it here at home where it counts. when it comes down to it the president should not have the authority to send troops where ever he wants it should be a joint decision between the president and congress.

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  62. I think foreign policy decisions should be equal between Congress and the executive branch. The citizens shouldn't be kept in the dark about foreign situations, but they should trust their leaders to an extent to make the right decisions.

    Christopher White PSCI 100.03

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  63. I belive US foriegn policy should be the decision of the executive branch and legislative branch. The legislative branch should have some power to determine if the president is acting ratianol or not. I do beleive that in times of emergenency there needs to be one person making the decisions. If congress had to decide, it would take forever and nothing would ever get done. One one person is in control, a decision is always made, it may not be right, but at least something is being done. I do believe that 9/11 gave the president a lot more power in foriegn policy then he may deserve. But mainly because Americans really needed a leader after that and congress could not have provided it only the president could. Even though I believe Bush did a terrible job being a leader after 9/11 but at least America had one.

    Sam Beatty
    Poli Sci- 100.04

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  64. I must say that it almost goes without saying that the majority of citizens are opposed to any one branch, in this case the executive, from gaining to much power. But I can't help but think of how it got to that point, and mainly it is apathy. But its not all our fault, for generations apathy has been growing, and so we have left the window wide open for the government to take our liberties that we do little to protect. And what if the average contemporary citizen did get power? We have fostered a society mainly uneducated and extremely biased on political and foreign affairs. Brandon Nicholas 100.03

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  65. The lack of checks and balances that exists in our government that so often preaches equality for all, and a system that benefits everyone, is completely insane. How can their be equality for the people of the United States if everyone in the government is going behind each other's backs and declaring wars they have no authority to declare. I understand that the president is the "Commander in Chief" but everyone has a boss, and the president needs to be kept in check when he or she has decided to go to war, one person should not be able to changed the lives of literally millions of American families. I also believe that there should be at least one person who checks the president that has been in combat, because if you don't know what it's like to go to war, you are much more likely to go to war without truly considering the consequences for each and every military person and their families. Someone who has been in actual combat should be checking the president, and if they feel that it is in the best interest to still go to war, that is good enough for me.

    Sarah Jeffries PSCI 100.05

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  66. I think that the power to decide to go to war should be placed in the hands of only the president. I think that if we allowed Congress to be involved in the decision making process it would take twice as long if it ever occurs. Congress agreeing on something as a whole is like waiting for pigs to fly. The conflict between Congress would potentially complicate and deter the meaning behind going to war. The same reasoning goes to US Citizens involvement in deciding whether or not the US would go to war. There would be so much conflict and inter tension in our nation that the reasoning behind war would be lost in bitter conflict. I do believe that the president should have some "war experience" because this would prevent quick and irrational declaration of war. I think the US gets involved in situations or conflicts with foreign countries or territories that are none of our concern. We should not get involved were our help is obviously not wanted! We are wasting money, military power, and people!


    Laura Bright 100.05

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  67. The US government at this point and time is of a very, very elitest structure. If the most Elite man in our country (the president)gets a hunch, or wants to go to war we essentally are going to go to war. When Bush's lawyers said that congress couldnt over ride bush's decision to go to war, that was a completely unjust law i feel. If we allow this to continue happening, it almost makes for a totalitarian government. Giving one man all of this power of foreign affairs is absurd. I do not though that the the citizens should have a great deal of input on the US foreign policy simply for the reason they just do not know enough. It is their job to make these decisions that are best for us and should not be tampered with. Your not going to tell a piolet how to fly a plane, so why tell our government how to make decisions. We as a nation have to trust that our government is looking our for our best interest.

    Dillon Berger Psci 100.4

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  68. Honestly, I believe that making a decision on whether we go to war or not has something to do with the President but not all of it. Yeah, If the President wants to go to War, it really isn't up to him it's really up to congress. I don't believe that the people should make a strong decison on whether we go to war on not because there could be so many conflict of interests but i do believe that we should have somewhat of a say. I feel if the citizens had more of a say more people would be in favor of war making decisions.

    Courtney Pepperling
    PSCI 100.04

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  69. I feel that the decision to go to war should be a collective agreement amongst congress and the President. I dont feel that just the President alone should have the say so. In terms of whether or not citizens should have a say so or not, I believe to an extent, people should be able to have a say in war but there will always be conflicts of interests. I am agreeing with Courtney in the previous post, if people were given the chance to have a say so on whether or not we should go to war, majority of the people would be in favor of war unless,however, they have fought in war.

    Brittney Butler
    PSCI 100.03

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  70. I feel like it was an okay decision to go to war with Iraq because what they did was wrong towards the U.S. I do not think that the decision should be held in the hands of the president and congress because there are a lot of people that have different views and it would be better to hear around instead of making the decision amongst themselves.

    Morgan Himmighoefer
    PSCI 100.05

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  71. The president should definitely not have all the power when it comes to foreign policy. That almost is leading towards the president becoming a dictator and such. As for U.S. citizens, I think we should be allowed to know what is going on. It is our husbands, wives, sons, and daughters that are going over to these countries and risking their lives for a cause that is not crystal clear to us. That cause should be made clear so that we can either accept that it is the right decision or to deny and rebel against it. However, if it is potentially harmful information if told to the citizens, then by all means it should be kept quiet.

    Heather Reynolds
    100.04

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  72. First I would just like to say I disagree with Morgan Himmighoefer in general!!!!!!!
    when talk about the actual topic I agree and disagree and in all honest I really wouldn’t know how they would do it otherwise. One person shouldn’t have all the power. But at the same time someone has to make a decision. In times of war we don’t have enough time to consult with congress and weight out every option. So is it bad to give one person all that kind of power to go to war? Yes but at the same time it is completely necessary? And sometimes the answer is yes too. The problem I have is that no matter whether is the president or congress its some rich guy that I have nothing to do with making decisions that could change my life dramatically, now is that really fair? No do I have another solution? No, so am I going to sit here and complain about something I have no say in? No
    Susan Stout
    PSCI 100.05

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  73. I dislike that the President can make such actions. I thought we were a government for the people by the people. Having such actions looks more like a dictator regime pretty much saying “I’m in charge. Nothing you can do to stop me”. I believe more people are opposed to the United States invading Libya than they were/are the Iraq and Afghanistan war. At the time we believe they had weapons of mass destruction, which was a valid excuse at the time. Yet for Libya, we’re going in just to go in. Yes there is a rebellion but there are so many convoluted stories of whose backing the rebellion. Some say Muslim extremists, some say Al Qaida. I believe we should keep our nose out of it all.

    Matt Santmier PSCI 100.03

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  74. I think the war on terror has changed the role and actions of the president. I think that it is ridiculous that the president is going to overull congres. The United States cannot sit back and let the president make all of these decisions that are not wanted. I agree with Matt on his ideas with Libia. The united states just needs to back away and focus on the u.s.

    Amy Sultner 100.03

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  75. I think that all branches should be equal. I think that even though the president has the final say the congress should have an opinion on the decisions as to what is happening. I also think that the united states needs to focus on us more and stop trying to make all other countries better. We need to fix things here...

    Courtney Owens 100.03

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