ISIS

'I've Got a Pen and I've Got a Phone': Obama Launches an Unconstitutional War on ISIS in Syria

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White House / Flickr.com

Article One, Section Eight of the U.S. Constitution vests the power "to declare war" in the hands of Congress. But as the world now knows, President Barack Obama took it upon himself last night to launch an undeclared war against ISIS in Syria. Just like President George W. Bush before him, Obama believes his vast war powers as commander in chief trump whatever old-fashioned limitations the text of the Constitution happens to impose on the presidency.

This is not Obama's first undeclared war, of course. That would be his 2011 war in Libya, which he also launched after refusing to obtain congressional authorization as required by the Constitution. Nor is it Obama's only unilateral exercise of unprecedented executive power. That list of misdeeds is growing too long to summarize in a short blog post. As Obama himself bragged in January 2014, "I've got a pen and I've got a phone…. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward."

Perhaps our next president will keep a copy of the Constitution on his desk as well.