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OPINION: Karen Kwiatkowksi’s Column for June 17th, 2011

June 17, 2011

Ed: Below is a column from Karen Kwiatkowski, candidate for the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District in 2012. We’re primarily a site about local politics, but state and national candidates and officeholders are welcome to send us articles and columns about any issues that are of concern to the people of Shenandoah County, as we feel citizens have a right to hear their comments. We want to provide a forum for candidates of all offices to reach out to the voters of Shenandoah County, as we feel this is something lacking in the current media paradigm. However, we still ask that citizen commentary be focused on local issues–there’s enough back and forth on national issues from citizens in the current papers. The below column does not neccesarily reflect the views of Shenandoah Sunshine or myself, nor should the publication of any candidate or officeholder’s words be considered an endorsement of their candidacy or the viewpoint they express.

The Sherman Amendment – Defunding the Libyan Escapade
Last week, a Democratic Representative from California named Brad Sherman came up with a great idea.  How about the House of Representatives, as keeper of the federal government’s funding, decide that it would no longer pay for Obama’s unconstitutional war in Libya?  Intervention ended, constitutional rule restored!

It was a great idea.  Sherman’s Amendment 414 to H.R. 2055 (Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012) prohibits the use of funds in contravention of the War Powers Resolution.   On June 13th, it was voted upon, passed and added to the appropriations bill, with support of many members of the house, including our 6th District incumbent, who recently published his opposition to Obama’s military intervention in Libya.

This bill, as modified by Sherman’s amendment, narrowly passed the House and was sent to the Senate.  This time, although, our incumbent voted against it.  Presumably, he voted against H.R. 2055 because the appropriations bill contained too much of the typical pork, earmarks, and waste, in this time of near federal bankruptcy.  Hopefully, he did not vote against it because the House Republican and Democratic leadership both opposed the now-attached Sherman Amendment.

Incidentally, this intervention in Libya will cost over $1.1 billion by September 30, 2011.   Stopping it now might have made up for some of the other waste surely included in the 2012 appropriation.   Perhaps we can rely on the Democrat- dominated Senate to affirm the House’s bill, including the correct assertion that Mr. Obama’s unlawful Libyan war be defunded.   I’m not holding my breath on that.

The ongoing Libyan intervention clearly violates the Constitution, and while the Republicans are making hay by criticizing Obama’s war, they seem less than excited about actually doing something about it.  Reducing the unlawful expenditure of public money, or reining in an overly assertive executive who seems to believe he is a king doesn’t seem to be on the Republican agenda in this case.

Representative Sherman should be lauded for his amendment and one hopes the Senate will not defang its language nor ignore its intent.   But the people of the 6th District of Virginia might look at this flutter and fretting from Washington in a slightly different way.

What should have happened?  Republicans in the House seem today pretty charged up 100-plus days after the President’s unlawful attacks on Libya, without Congressional permission or rationale, in violation not only of the Constitution as originally written, but of the 1973 War Powers Resolution (itself an after-the-fact reaction to Nixon’s war-without-asking against Cambodia).     Why didn’t a Republican propose serious legislation to block the funding 99 days earlier?    There is always some legislation to attach an amendment to in Washington, and few rules or reasons constrain this practice.

But instead, we saw the GOP as effectively silent.    What should have happened some time ago was a real Congressional protest, led by Republicans, honoring the vision of another Virginian, who understood the nature of executive storytelling and the idiocy of wars desired by presidents and their advisors.  Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1782,

Never was so much false arithmetic employed on any subject as that which has been employed to persuade nations that it is their interest to go to war. Were the money which it has cost to gain, at the close of a long war, a little town or a little territory, the right to cut wood here or to catch fish there, expended in improving what they already possess, in making roads, opening rivers, building ports, improving the arts and finding employment for their idle poor, it would render them much stronger, much wealthier and happier. This I hope will be our wisdom.

Adventuristic wars are indeed waste, and usually fraudulent, as no doubt we will find out years from now, after the money for Libya is all spent and the government officials write their memoirs.  I’d have hoped that at the very least, a Republican-dominated House of Representatives, holding the pursestrings to war and all other spending, would have activated and defunded President Obama’s intervention in Libya months ago.

Instead, we heard only public complaints geared towards making Republicans look conservative, while it took a Democrat from California, no less, to actually try and do something about it, in the solid Constitutional language of public funding.

The United States is the throes of a fiscal and moral crisis, and the executive directed Libyan war is only a symptom of far greater challenges we face as American citizens in the 21st century.  But some things are not that hard to understand, and they are not that hard to do.   It just takes a one representative with a clear understanding of the Constitution, brave heart and a backbone of steel.  It’s not too much to ask, and it should never be a rarity.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. June 18, 2011 12:09 am

    You DO know that Thomas Jefferson was the first president to invade Libya right? “Shores of Tripoli…” and all that in the Marine Corp (which was created to invade Libya and Mexico) hymn. Also since when is there a difference between a “Democrat” congress or congress person and a “Republican”…certainly when it comes to war and “security” there “isn’t a dimes worth of difference” since the False Flag of 9-11-2001.


  1. Karen Kwiatkowski – Republican for Congress in 2012 | Independent Political Report
  2. Karen Kwiatkowski – Republican for Congress in 2012 | Daily Libertarian

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