For two administrations now, one Democratic and one Republican, America has witnessed a slow-motion ceding of constitutionally allocated war powers from Congress to the president during a time of conflict. Despite much hemming and hawing, countless hearings, and even a few floor votes on repealing the outdated post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, the legislative branch has demonstrated a collective, bipartisan determination that a de facto loss of constitutionally prescribed powers to another branch is preferable to taking a tough political vote. Previously, I have discussed the morally repulsive nature of this determination by America’s elected representatives. What has been largely overlooked is the lesser degree of shared culpability that veterans bear for a tacit acceptance of this status quo.
When the Department of Defense dropped its fiscal year 2018 budget request back in May, Pentagon officials revealed that Secretary of Defense James Mattis personally intervened to jam as many "preferred" munitions as possible to replenish arsenals rapidly depleted by the intensifying bombing campaign against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Now, it looks as though Congress is giving Chaos exactly what he wanted.