Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The dog of war unleashed

Preface: For all my Democratic friends who go on about President Bush and his precipitous moves in the Middle East, this article is for you.

In a parallel universe, Presidents of the United States of America are held accountable for unconstitutional threats, invasions, and occupations.

The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces ... while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies,—all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.
- Federalist LXIX

Whereas "We, the people," as stated in the preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, did "ordain and establish this Constitution" in order to, among other ends, "provide for the common defense."

Whereas the Constitution of the United States enumerates the limited powers granted therein by the free people of the United States and vested in the specified branches of the Government of the United States.

Whereas, according to Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States, "The Congress shall have the Power to lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay ... for the common Defense ... of the United States," and not for intervention.

Whereas, according to Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution of the United States, "The Congress shall have Power ... To declare War," and not the President.

Whereas, according to Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution of the United States, "The President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States ... when called into the Actual Service of the United States," and not before.

Whereas, according to Thomas Jefferson, the Constitution of the United States "expressly requires the concurrence of the three branches to commit us to the state of war, but permits two of them, the President and the Senate, to change it to that of peace, for reasons as obvious as they are wise."

Whereas, according to Thomas Jefferson, referring to the Constitution of the United States in a letter to James Madison, "We have already given, in example one effectual check to the Dog of war, by transferring the power of letting him loose, from the executive to the Legislative body, from those who are to spend to those who are to pay."

Whereas the President has presented Congress and the American people with a fait accompli in his threatened invasion and occupation of Haiti.

Whereas the President, in response to the question, "Mr. President ... do you intend to make as a pattern using military action without the consent of Congress or the approval of the American people?" answered: "With regard to Congress ... I think we'll have to take this on a case by case basis. In terms of popular approval, the American people, probably wisely, are almost always against any kind of military action when they first hear about it unless our people have been directly attacked. And they have historically felt that way, and obviously, at the end of the Cold War, they may be more inclined to feel that way. The job of the President is to try to do what is right, particularly in matters affecting our long-term security interests. And unfortunately, not all the decisions that are right can be popular."

Whereas, according to Article VI of the Constitution of the United States, "This Constitution ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land," and "The Senators and Representatives ... and all executive ... Officers ... of the United States ... shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution..."

Whereas absolutism begins where support for the Constitution of a free people ends.

May we, the People, resolutely call on our Representatives and Senators to impede the occupation of Haiti, which is unconstitutional in substance, not being for the common defense, and in means, not being initiated by Congress. Congress has the constitutional power to impede this operation. First, either House may declare that the acts of war launched were unauthorized; second, the House of Representatives may withdraw its funding for this venture; and third, the House of Representatives may impeach that officeholder who breaks the supreme law of the land which is our Constitution, duly so if after a long train of abuses and usurpations. If we fail to act now, how shall we act if that officeholder launches a reckless venture in Iran without our consent, or the consent of our Representatives?

May we leash this dog who, in the name of saving democracy abroad, has snarled at the democracy due within our own constitutional republic.

Postscript: This article did appear in the Minnesota Libertarian, October 1994. Only the name of one country has changed. Instead of Iran, the article originally read Bosnia.

When will the partisans on both sides remove their blinders to see how both parties set and accept the precedents of the other now?

I am disappointed that the Democrats have not impeached another President, Dick Cheney, the President of the Senate, since their rise to power in Congress in 2006.

The Congress does not have the power to vest its own power elsewhere. Neither is the President of the Senate vested with executive powers.

The next best thing to an impeachment might be the election of Bob Barr, a check and a balance on both party monsters. To all evidence he seems to take the rule of law seriously, while the real anarchists of both parties play.

Is Representative Dennis Kucinich's information accurate? How would we, the American people, know?

What does President Clinton's phrase really mean, doing the right thing?

The adapted article "The dog of war unleashed" was originally published in The Minnesota Libertarian, October 1994, p. 4, with the word Bosnia written instead of Iran. The author, Casey Bowman; the cartoonist, Logan Quinn; and the original publication are due attribution.

Related links

Update (Jul 3, 2008): Seymour Hirsh - Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran
The New Yorker, July 7, 2008

Update (Aug 11, 2008):
Ron Suskind and Philip Giraldi provide evidence to fuel the impeachment of Cheney.

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