tv Inside Story Al Jazeera November 24, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EST
>> i felt like i was in a washing machine. >> we're kind of stuck with more than a century of bad choices. ♪ >> the united states has sent military forces to war in many places in the last 60 years, korea, vietnam, the dominican republic, kosovo, afghanistan, iraq again, without the congress doing what is specified in the constitution, declaring war against a national enemy. there is a growing sentiment among americans that the united states should send ground troops to syria. we're asking, anything to declare? it's the "inside story." ♪
welcome to "inside story." i'm ray suarez. most any adult american could name places u.s. forces have fought around the world in a small way as when ronald reagan ordered an invasion of gau nay da and in a big way, such as vietnam. lots of wars, lots of sacrifice and death, bravery and loss. one thing that hasn't been through all of that. a vote from the u.s. congress to officially declare war against a national foe. >> i ask that the congress declare that since the
unprovoked and dastardly attack by japan on sunday december 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the united states and the japanese empire. [ cheers and applause ] >> it was december 8th, 1941, the day after the attack on pearl harbor in hawaii. after that speech, congress declared war on japan, 82-0 in the senate, 388-1 in the house. three days later war was declared on nazi germany by similar margins. the war powers resolution set out in law the relationship between the executive branch, the president, and the congress when it comes to making war. when you read the constitution, you will find war powers are shared between the congress and the president.
since vietnam, making war has increasingly been the president's call with or without the house and senate. >> isis is demonstrating new ambition, reach, and capabilities. we have to break the group's momentum and then its back. >> hillary clinton echoing calls growing louder around the globe. >> it's time we acted. it's time the united states of america acting with our allies take out isil. we must go both to iraq and to syria and take them out. >> right now the american fight is being waged under what is known as an aumf, an authorization for use of military force. it's the same congressional action the u.s. military has been operating under since the bush administration invaded iraq and afghanistan in though wake of 9/11.
>> the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of [ cheers ] >> but it has been 73 years since the united states formally declared war. >> december 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy. the united states of america was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the empire of japan. >> fdr's iconic speech thrust the u.s. into world war ii, since then american armed forces have been involved in at least half a dozen military conflicts, more than 36,000 americans died in the korean war, more than 58,000 were killed in vietnam, and u.s. troops have been sent to battle in nearly every corner of the world. but none of those missions were
sanctioned under an official congressional declaration of war, an authorizization for use of military force limits the president's power to whatever congress will approve, a declaration of war gives though commander in chief unbridled authority in using america's military might. a notion that has some support. >> radical islamic terrorists have declared war on the western world. their aim is our total destruction. we weren't withdrawal from this threat or negotiate with it. we have but one choice, to defeat it. >> right now south carolina senator, lindsey graham is preparing legislation that would approve a new authorization for use of military force, specifically against isil. but freshman congressman of minnesota is leading a call in congress to officially declare war. he is the first member to do so since world war ii, though it's unclear how much support he has. he said, quote:
still the lingering question is, how do declare war on an ideology, with no home, and no borders. joining me now for a look at the power to make war and the movement towards greater american involvement in the war in syria, a counter terrorism analyst at the inks ought to for the study of war, former assist important secretary of state, currently a fellow, at george washington university, and editor and chief of security.org. steven why does the constitution give the president the title of commander in chief of the armed forces yet divide the ability to make war. >> i think they didn't want one man to be able to take the country into war.
so it requires that koch reappropriate money for the military for all purposes no less frequently than every two years. i think they thought by dividing the power between the two branches, that would ensure we were only committing our young men and event yulely young men and women into harm's way when there was a concrete public political act. >> did it work in though first 150 years? >> i think it worked better in the first 150 years. as early as the war with france in the 1800s, i think what has changed over the last half century, is the view by presidents of both parties that very implicit congressional authorizations can provide the constitutional authority for an ever-widening array of uses of
force that we might previously have thought required for explicit authorization. >> peter let's talk about authorization. if you are president smith and you have just gotten one and not the other. what is the difference between having a declaration of war in your hand, and having an authorization for the use of military force? >> well, i think a president needs to act with some sort of authority. if some cases you can have inherent authority under his commander in chief's hat, but i think a lot of this has to do with the changing nature of war. world war ii was the last existential war. wars since then have been more limited, more political. for example, i served in the first gulf war in 1990 and 1991. you can make a very strong case that the first gulf war never ended. our troops came home. we had a parade not far from
year, and yet from 1992 until 2003, u.s. forces were engaged in regular combat against iraq. you know, enforcing no-fly zones in the north, you know, and -- and the south, you know, so the question here is -- is, you know, does the -- you know, is there -- i think there's -- there should absolutely be a political commitment, you know, to go to war, but wars are no longer going to end with a ceremony on the uss missouri. they will end with a murky conclusion. and as we have seen in iraq, we may have thought the war ended in 2011, only to pick up again in 2013. >> but are there things you do if you have the wind at your back to make a declaration. to make a struggle against another country that you can't
do when the amuf defines a time concern of when you are supposed to be done, and so on. >> presidents have sought an expression of support, you know, for -- you know, the taking of the military into, you know, offensive, you know, military action, and yet i think part of this is in fact about, you know, politics that when you have a declaration of war it becomes an all-out war. and there is a profound risk represented by the islamic state. does that mean we should engage in an all out military effort against the islamic state? we have that military capability. you know, however, you know, the moment you insert yourself into a place like syria, in fact how many conflicts are you involved in? i can probably count -- >> colleen is that right in it's a different kind of war so we need a different instrument that stamps its legitimacy.
>> one of the problems we have seen is the u.s. has been focusing on this as a fight against isis. and entering into this, it's part of a syrian civil war. it's part of a multifaceted enemy. and so i think isis poses a serious threat to our national security, but at the end of the day, the -- the authorities with which, or the means which would justify the effort, don't necessarily for me seem equivalent to the idea of the strategy that we need to form late to defeat that enemy. >> stay with me. we have long since discarded that old notion that politics stops at the water's edge. now we're in an never-ending debate about everything the united states does at home and abroad. does a declaration of war call the congress to back the aims in
a way that is hard to imagine in the current political atmosphere? is that part of why we don't do it anymore. anything to declare? it's the "inside story." >> at 9:30 - "america tonight" - top investigative reporting, uncovering new perspectives. >> everything that's happening here is illegal. >> then at 10:00 - it's "reports from around the world". >> let's take a closer look. >> antonio mora gives you a global view. >> this is a human rights crisis. >> and at 11:00 - "news wrap-up". clear... concise... complete.
>> you are watching "inside story." i'm ray suarez. we're talking about declarations of war as american sentiment supporting further involvement in syria grows. president obama is currently operating in syria and iraq under the terms of a 2001 congressional authorization, so open-ended that here we are, 14 years later, fighting an entity that didn't even exist when the original vote was taken. some members of congress are insisting that congress has to preserve some of its war-making authority by taking a greater role in the american decision to be there. others seem loathe to give this president permission to do anything. nothing to declare? this time on the program. my guests are still with me. is start of the problem, p.j., that congress doesn't want to have that same kind of fingerprints on it? is
an aumf does it implement the congress in a different way? >> i think there should be an updating of the aumf's expressly for the reason that you cited ray. this is a very fundamentally different conflict than the one we encountered in 2001 or even 2011, and the debate over two is the adversary, where, what is the level of commitment? who are our allies? who are our adversaries. we need to have that periodically. but just to pick up, i think that i would be one to recommend that we not necessarily make this an all-out war. i see this primarily as a war within the middle east, and a war within islam. you know, and so ultimately they are the ones that have to resolve this. we can certainly help. but the moment you insert yourself into syria, who are your allies? is it al-qaeda? it is, you know, russia?
is it iran? are they -- are they also in a different context, you know, your -- your adversaries. so i think we ought to be very careful about how we do this. and if we do declare an all-out war, we focus a great deal on syria, and yet the leading terrorist organization, the most violent was boko haram in nigeria. if we're in syria, should we be in nigeria as well? >> i want to hear from you two what you think is going on with all of these members of congress stepping forward and saying stop using this 14--year-old document, we have to define the instrument? >> i think the fact of the matter is, you have to be very careful about how you are defining it. whether it's geographically or over time. and we found a way to extend the system for many, many years. and i think having a new amf would be useful for the reasons
you laid out, in terms of making sure it's not just the president but also this current congress held accountable for the way we're waging this fight. but isis is expanding and is not contained only in the middle attacks. >> are they apart from the particular players and the particular conflict, defending congressional turf? we have got to be in this? duty. >> they might defend it with their right hand, but they are advocating it with their left. the members of congress are upset and criticizing the president for unilateral exercise of war powers. nothing president obama is doing is stopping the house from passing a resolution or the senate from passing a resolution or presenting a resolution to the president. what is stopping them is politics, not presidential
politics, but they are caught between a rock and a hard place. congressional democrats want to support the president but want limits on the war powers, so there have been, i think 22 different proposals for an amf for isil. >> when we continue this conversation, i want to look at the peculiarities of modern war. if a war declaration against isil were proposed, would it take the u.s. to new territory? a declaration of a state of war not against a country with a currency, a government, a treasury, but an organization i anything to do declare? it's the "inside story." ♪
in the days since the paris attacks going after isil in syria and iraq has gotten more attention. would congressional action take us someplace new to war against an organization that is not a state. my guests are still with me. a new kind of animal? >> i think so. obviously one that has grown out of the old al-qaeda threat. and has been able to grow and become more deadly over time. it has been so effective in working with its regional affiliates, and now we have seen allies. >> but is the fact that it's not a country -- >> it's not a country. >> -- make it harder to define war aims? >> absolutely. i would argue that it might give isis a sort of legitimacy that we're trying not to give it.
>> but legally it is not new. because we the 9/11. the president authorized military force against organized groups or persons he determines were responsible for 9/11. >> but in that case al-qaeda was clearly a non-state actor. i don't know if isil is more like a quasi-state actor. >> absolutely. it's very hard to declare war against a common noun, not a proper noun. but there have been proales proales -- proposals that create definable goals. the problem is congress did not do that in 2001, which is why the obama administration has been able to rely on this 14-year old statute. >> i want everyone to listen to
the results of a poll. taken in the last few days. almost two out of three, p.j. are ready for us to go into syria as one observer said, at [ laughter ] >> well, i mean it depends on what kind of forces to do what kind of thing? i actually do not think that there is substantial public support to send 100,000 or 150,000 american forces into syria and iraq to do in 2015 or 2016, what we did in 2003. but i think there is support to do, you know, more special operations forces, more intensive air campaign.
i think more intensive support to iraq to get its security forces, you know, back up to speed. you know, but most of what the candidates for president are saying right now are -- are various tactical steps, but there's not necessarily -- there's still this kind of iraq syndrome and that has, you know, certainly affected, you know, barack obama in his strategy over -- over seven years, and i think that is going to carry over into the next administration. >> you watch this for a living. here we are an attack on another continent, on another country, winding up americans, going into war that a lot of americans are saying they are tired of being involved in. >> i don't think it's difficult to understand there is an emotional reaction after the events we have seen in the
previous few weeks, and inspires fear and the design to do more. i think we need to understand is these various tactical additions don't necessarily add up to long-term effects on the ground. neither in fact is the decision between an aumf versus a war declaration directly collate to the types of actions that we president and military commanders decide we will take. i would have to caution that the emotional response doesn't lead to a perfect strategy. >> and certainly not in the long term. we can look back and see all kinds of reactions where there was initial strong support for military force, that waned over time either was the objectives weren't clear, or it was less popular than we expected. so i think the question is do you focus just on the here and now, or do you actually try to
step back and along-term what is responsible. i think this is why it's so embarrassing that congress which had a year to pass a proposal for isil didn't come up with one. >> i want to thank my guests, p.j. crowley, steven vladac, and harlean gambere. i'll be back in a minute with a final thought on the modern era of war, and how it is giving way to something smaller and maybe endless. it's "inside story." ♪
♪ a lot of arguments in this country get carried on not over days, weeks or months, but centuries. congress has been in a wrestling match with dozens of presidents over the elements of independent power the chief executive has and how much can only be exercised with the consent of congress. when the 20th century began a new kind of war was in its infancy, a war in which productive and human power were put into harness to throw everything a country had into making war. we saw it in belgium and chance a hundred years ago, and when the united states became the arsenal of democracy at the beginning of the second world war, and in that same war it become clear when there were no
front lines and no rear, when tokyo, berlin and others were reduced to rubble. the cold warsaw two opponents so powerful, they could only use stand-in nations to make war on each other. no wonder declarations of war have gone out of style. to be replaced by half hearted war, con -- contend gent war. in that allows conflict that doesn't end immediately. but the new kind of war is frightening even to the most powerful nations, not because they will lose, but because they never quite win. i'm ray suarez. and that's the "inside story." ♪
hunting for isil, searching for allies, french air operations continue as francois hollande heads for washington to get more support from the u.s. from al jazeera's head quarters for doha, i am peter to bdoby. also ahead. >> reporter: i am wayne hay live in bangkok where two chinese nationals have gun before a military toy face charges in their role for what was described as the worst attack on tie he thailand. we'll