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In an article reprinted in the June 2013 issue of Harper’s Magazine, former U.S. senator Jim Webb argued that Congress has in recent years not exercised sufficient oversight of the presidency on matters of foreign policy. Citing recent executive actions related to the conflicts in Libya, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Webb underscores the need for exactly the kind of decision President Barack Obama took last week in soliciting the approval of Congress for U.S. military action in Syria:
What we have witnessed is a breakdown of our constitutional process. Opinions will surely vary as to the merits of the outcome in each case, but this sort of disagreement is the precise reason each of these cases and others should have been properly debated and voted on by Congress. In none of these situations was the consideration of time or emergency so great as to have precluded congressional deliberation. In each, Congress was ignored or circumvented, while key congressional leaders were reluctant, at best, to assert the authority that forms the basis of our governmental structure.
Read the full text of Webb’s essay here.
More from Harper’s Magazine:
Official Business — March 17, 2015, 4:01 am
Listen to the broadcast version of “American Hustle,” Alexandra Starr’s story, for the April 2015 issue of Harper’s Magazine, about how elite youth basketball exploits African athletes.
Official Business — January 8, 2015, 3:57 pm
We defend Charlie Hebdo’s right to publish its cartoons—and our right to critique them.
Number of mine-detecting monkeys erroneously reported to have been given to the United States by Morocco in March:
The Pacific trade winds are weakening as a result of global warming.
In the United States, legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act was advanced by the House Ways and Means Committee after 18 hours of deliberation, during which time the Republican members of Congress passed around candy.
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"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."