Editorial: Constitution should be followed

Aug. 14, 2014 @ 11:01 PM

Last week’s approval of air strikes in Iraq by President Obama raised foreign policy a little higher on voters’ radar in the midterm and presidential elections. Ultimately, activity at home will override in the crunching weeks leading up to each election.

Our economy, always a heavier anchor because it touches each of us more tangibly, is hard to eclipse for top issue and immigration has captured a lot of attention.

Both sides of the aisle have spoken favorably of Obama’s decision to help. Christians by the hundred thousands, including American personnel, are at risk in Iraq.

The president didn’t ask Congress for approval. He also didn’t when taking action against a Libyan regime. Each had unique circumstances.

Unimpressive as his foreign policy record may be, Obama’s final couple of years in the White House is going to be anything but quiet internationally. While al-Qaida has become more dispersed, the Islamic State is gaining momentum.

The work done for more than a decade in the Middle East is now crossing a bridge, with responsibility transferred. And, the quest to remove U.S. troops is hard-pressed to happen amid the insurgencies.

The end game is never as easy as planned.

Lawmakers are being tested on constitutional principles and a traditional policy to avoid foreign entanglements. Our state’s delegation inside the Beltway includes a trio — Sen. Kay Hagan and Reps. G.K. Butterfield and David Price — that isn’t scoring well with related votes.

The theory is the recent air strikes can enable troops to stay off the ground in northern Iraq. But Obama shouldn’t be flying solo.

The use of military, per the constitution, should include congressional approval. Given the tea kettle there and also between the Ukraine and Russia, having the backing of lawmakers would bolster the president’s policy decisions. The approvals after Obama’s most recent unilateral decision suggest as much.

The pen and phone approach isn’t good for America. Constructive dialogue is recommended.