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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.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”