If you’ve been following the news at all, you know Pres. Trump ordered an airstrike that killed a prominent Iranian general in Iraq. This followed a fracas at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. When you boil it all down, the president of the U.S. ordered the execution of a foreign general in another foreign country.

Some people have bristled at me calling it an “execution.” They say the general is an enemy of the U.S. and we are at war. Taking out an enemy’s command structure isn’t an execution per se. It’s a legitimate military action in a time of war.

There is a big problem with this reasoning. The U.S. is not at war with Iran – at least not in a legal or constitutional sense. Therefore, the president had no authority to authorize such an action.

The Constitution carefully separated war powers. Congress declares war. The president executes the will of the legislature. As George Washington insisted:

The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress, therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure.”

Notice exactly what Washington said — no offensive expedition of importance. I think offing a foreign general probably qualifies as an “expedition of importance.”

The founders vested the power of declaring war in the legislature for a reason. They didn’t want a single individual having the power to drag America into war. As James Madison astutely noted:

“The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the legislature.”

I talk more about war powers in the most recent episode of the Thoughts from Maharrey Head podcast. There are also some links on the show notes page to articles you can read for even more detail.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘Why does it matter?’  After all, when it comes to our national security, we need bold decision-making.

Well, I’ll tell you why.

If the president can do whatever he wants when it comes to war and peace, regardless of what the Constitution says, he can do whatever he wants when it comes to your guns, your healthcare and your economic well-being — regardless of what the Constitution says.

If you care about liberty, you’d better start drawing some constitutional lines in the sand.

Mike Maharrey

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



Featured Articles

On the Constitution, history, the founders, and analysis of current events.

featured articles


Tenther Blog and News

Nullification news, quick takes, history, interviews, podcasts and much more.

tenther blog


State of the Nullification Movement

232 pages. History, constitutionality, and application today.

get the report


Path to Liberty

Our flagship podcast. Michael Boldin on the constitution, history, and strategy for liberty today

path to liberty


Maharrey Minute

The title says it all. Mike Maharrey with a 1 minute take on issues under a 10th Amendment lens. maharrey minute

Tenther Essentials

2-4 minute videos on key Constitutional issues - history, and application today


Join TAC, Support Liberty!

Nothing helps us get the job done more than the financial support of our members, from just $2/month!



The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.