April 14, 2018
So the US did away with Congressional approval for wars about three middle-eastern shitholes ago. That’s already an accepted reality. But I thought that the UK parliament still had some sway and that Europe was a civilized, rule-abiding place.
So did Theresa May just go ahead and authorize these strikes just like that?
UK Prime Minister Theresa May says she have authorized the British armed forces to conduct coordinated and targeted strikes to “degrade the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons capability and deter their use.” Her statement was followed by a similar message from French President Emmanuel Macron.
After a little bit of clicking around, I have looked up the relevant facts. It turns out that the UK can only legally declare war by “Royal Prerogative.”
It’s exactly what it sounds like
And the Queen dismissed a bill that would have made it part of the protocol to put wars to a vote in Parliament first in 1999.
So I guess, yeah, the UK can just go to war at the drop of a hat.
And what about Macron?
A declaration of war shall be authorized by Parliament.
The Government shall inform Parliament of its decision to have the armed forces intervene abroad, at the latest three days after the beginning of said intervention. It shall detail the objectives of the said intervention. This information may give rise to a debate, which shall not be followed by a vote.
Where the said intervention shall exceed four months, the Government shall submit the extension to Parliament for authorization. It may ask the National Assembly to make the final decision.
If Parliament is not sitting at the end of the four-month period, it shall express its decision at the opening of the following session.
Okay, well shit, I guess Macron can just up and intervene whenever he wants as well.
Big decisions like wars should be put to a vote – a plebiscite at the very least. These are serious decisions that affect every citizen – especially in the age of modern warfare because every citizen gets held to account for what their government does.
No one wants this war.
No one in France, no one in the UK and no one in the US. Only the people in Tel Aviv want this.
If we had a vote, we would have no war. It’s as simple as that. What kind of democracies do we have when we can’t even vote on the most important issue of all.