The real impeachable offense

On the same day that Nancy Pelosi announced the U.S. House of Representatives would proceed with impeachment against President Trump, the Wall Street Journal reported that the president is considering sending 14,000 more troops to the Middle East. This is on the top of thousands that have already been sent to the region in the last year, and the endless wars in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East and Africa.

Pelosi claims she is protecting the Constitution, but President Trump’s call to Ukraine is not illegal and therefore is not even close to a “high crime and misdemeanor.” The Democratic impeachment theater is a complete sham, and nobody should support it.

What we should support, however, is a massive change in U.S. foreign policy, and unfortunately Trump is going back on his many, many promises to get us out of foreign wars. If he goes through with another large troop deployment, he will completely erase all of the good he has done speaking out against the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Trump gets credit for pulling troops out of Syria (something Hillary Clinton never would have done), but many of the troops were simply sent to Iraq.

The U.S. Constitution says in the most clear terms possible that Congress has the responsibility for declaring war. No war has ever been declared in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else in the Middle East. All of the troop deployments in that region are unconstitutional. Bush should have been impeached for sending troops there without a declaration of war, and Obama should have been impeached as well. And I would support the impeachment of President Trump for the same reason.

I want to quote at length from a talk called “Let Us Have Peace” from 1947 by J. Reuben Clark of the First Presidency:

Nor may we overlook that great doctrine of neutrality set up under Washington himself and Jefferson and Hamilton, which was aimed at and brought about the localizing of international armed conflicts, and the preservation , under prescribed rules, of peacetime intercourse between belligerents and nonbelligerents. War was to curse as few people as possible. This has been jettisoned for the concept that every war should involve all nations, making all suffer the ravages of a global war.

Until the last quarter of a century, this gospel of the Fathers was the polar star by which we set our international course. In the first hundred thirty years of our constitutional existence, we had three foreign wars, the first merely the final effort of our Revolution, which made good our independence. During the century that followed we had two foreign wars, neither of considerable magnitude. During the next twenty-three years, we had two global wars. While the gospel of the Fathers guided us we has peace. When we forsook it, two great wars engulfed us.

It is not clear when we began our wandering, nor is it necessary to determine the time. President Theodore Roosevelt was hinting our straying when he uttered the dictum “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” We were to force others to do our bidding. President Wilson had the full departure in mind when he declared: “Everybody’s business is our business.” Since then we have leaped ahead along the anciently forbidden path.

In our course under the new gospel of interference with everything we do not like, we have gone forward and are going forward, as if we possessed all the good of human government, of human economic concept, of human comfort, and of human welfare, all of which we are to impose on the balance of the world,— a concept born of the grossest national egotism. In human affairs no nation can say that all it practices and believes is right, and that all others have that differs from what it has is wrong. Men inflict an unholy tragedy when they proceed on that basis. No man, no society, no people, no nation is wholly right in human affairs; and none is wholly wrong. A fundamental principle of the operation of human society is to live and let live.

Yet, to repeat, we have entered into new fields to impose our will and concepts on others. This means we must use force, and force means war, not peace.

What has our apostasy from peace cost us?

In men, our two recent adventures have cost in casualties, dead, wounded, and missing, 1,402,600, with almost as many saddened and crippled homes.

In money it has cost, in World War I, some $60 odd billions; and World War II cost us some $400 odd billions, including increased civilian help, in total, almost a half a trillion, the great bulk of which we still owe.

In spiritual values it has brought great numbers of our youth and older men to the very depths of desponding atheism. Our whole social structure seems undermined. We are becoming a blaspheming, unchaste, non-Christian, God-less race. Spiritually we seem ripe for another war.

President Clark was prophetic: just a few years after this talk, the Korean War started, without a declaration of war. Then Vietnam, and then a series of smaller engagements in the Middle East and elsewhere, leading finally to our current never-ending conflict in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and elsewhere. There have been no declarations of war since World War II, and all of these wars were unconstitutional.

So, yes, let’s have impeachment, but for the right reasons. But of course the world loves war and always comes up with new excuses for military conflict rather than peace. Satan always is ready to buy up armies and to reign with blood and horror on this Earth. As latter-day Saints, we should recognize this pattern and oppose it. Let’s oppose war and proclaim peace, even if there are only a few small voices doing it.

Download the Scripture Plus app!

I have really been enjoying the Scripture Plus app, which adds videos, graphs and all kinds of explanatory background to the Book of Mormon.

This app is brought to you by the same people who do the Book of Mormon Central videos, which I have been enjoying for several years. The videos are tied into the app, so you can read the scriptures and then do further study.

One of the things I have found in the Come Follow Me program is that my children who are still at home (ages nine to 14) really enjoy understanding the context of the scriptures. Believe it or not, my kids will discuss the scriptures for more than an hour if we can talk about the history involved and other details, other than just reading the scriptures. And the Scripture Plus app helps you do that.

So check it out here.