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Discussion in 'Politics' started by KenH, Apr 26, 2007.
A very insightful column:
Nice little sleight of hand attempt by Rockwell, and why I have such little respect for him:
Rockwell obfuscates the question when quoting as though the legislature authorizes "the military" when Hamilton, by noting "when called into actual service of the United States" was referring to the militia, and not the regular army or navy of the United States. This reading is confirmed only a few sentences down in the same paragraph. The President is always, not just "occasionally" as Rockwell argues very unclearly, the commander in chief of the army and navy.
Until recent decades the United States didn't have standing army or certainly not a very large one except during times when the Congress had declared war. Therefore, acting as commander-in-chief was usually a very small amount of the president's duties.
Lew Rockwell is one of the men I respect the most.
That doesn't change the fact that Rockwell misquoted the Federalist. The fact he did so without actually putting quotes around it will give him some kind of out. Nevertheless, it was dishonest.
As to the history of the Army in this country, did we not have a standing army to man the frontier forts? Has there not been a standing army since at least the Civil War?
I wrote: "or certainly not a very large one except during times when the Congress had declared war".
I still question the accuracy of the statement, and am curious about total troop strength of the U.S. military and comparing it with the U.S. population size. Tried to find it on Google but couldn 't.
I have not found the historical data either. But a general understanding of United States history indicates that for most of our history - prior to World War II - that we did not maintain a large standing army other than in times when the Congress had declared war.
We certainly weren't considered a world power until then.
That was in a time when there was more time to prepare for war and no useful purpose in having a standing military. After several major wars we learned that wasn't a good idea. Not having standing military forces in these days would be a fatal mistake. The Constitution does not prevent there being a standing military unless Congress has declared war. That, also, would be a fatal mistake.
The Constitution, and our statutory laws derived from it, adequately provide for establishment of a military organization that's approved by Congress in great detail, for funding of our military that's reviewed and approved every two years by Congress in great detail, for a means to direct the military by a clear and decisive chain of command leading to the President, and for Congress to declare war and authorize the President to prosecute it when necessary. The idea seems to have been to provide a reasonable balance of power, some inertia, and some efficiency that would permit the government to effectively protect the people who'd empowered it both for immediate responses and for the longer term.
The Constitution does not prescribe the specific detailed form by which the Congress, the President, or the Court are to address their duties. The Constitution is not a manual akin to Roberts Rules of Order, nor a book of Do It Yourself Legal Forms, nor was it intended to serve as the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations, or the findings of case law. The Declaration of Independence and the the Constitution are founding documents that define the intent, purpose, basic function, and certain boundaries and limits of our national government. The people through their Congress, the President, and the Court take it from there forward to the details necessary in compliance with the Constitution.
The specific form of declaring war is not the supreme issue. None is defined in the Constitution or, to my knowledge, even in the procedures of Congress. Congress does have rules for how it functions and how resolutions are reached. The act of declaring war when it's needed and then carrying it out as needed is what's important to the nation. The "declaration" could be, if prudent, as simple as the words "Destroy the enemy!" written on a scrap of paper in a bunker by a Congress seeking shelter from a devastating enemy attack to which the President had already responded. Order has a purpose and is a good thing but getting hung up on semantics and procedures can be fatal to any organization.
Arguments that Congress has not "declared" war in the present situation simply because it has not issued a "formal Declaration of War" are unfounded. There is no "formal Declaration of War". There have been resolutions of Congress that bore the title "Declaration of War" but they are no different in how they came about than those that do not bear such a title but give the same kind of direction to the President. The specific resolution under which authority the President has acted is very thorough in stating its reasons and the action to be taken. It is a far more complete resolution that used before. It fulfills every intent and purpose embodied in the Constitution.
1) I agree.
2) I disagree. The Congress didn't tell the president to go to war. The Congress told the president that it was up to him whether to invade Iraq or not.
The Congress left the details of how to manage the war to the President just as they should. The Congress wrote: "The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq." That's clear enough for me! It's certainly not in conflict with the Constitution!
You and I have gone round and round about this. Clearly, I am not going to convince you otherwise and you are not going to convince me otherwise.
That's true, KenH!:godisgood:
Does it? What of Article I sec. 8? The way my Constitution reads, in Article II sec. 2, is that the President is the Commander and Chief..."when called into actual service". Why do you think Congress saw fit to enact the War Powers Act of 1973? Seems some Presidents like to take the "gray" area and run with it. We cannot separate the powers of the executive and legislative branches into neat little boxes. The powers overlap for a good reason. The President may have the power to manage the war, but Congress controls all the money.
You're misreading the Constitution in the same way Rockwell did. The Constitution seems clear that "when called into actual service of the United States" is in reference to the militia:
1) the punctuation supports it as the militia is separated by commas before this;
2) it is clear on its face, as the militia is in service of the states "until called into service of the United States". The army and navy are continually in service of the United States.
It still wouldn't give the president free reign to wage war without a war. That would be an abuse of his power as commander in chief, and should lead to impeachment.
Our Constitution provides for the President to command the state militas "when called into actual service" so that they will work as part of the total military force for the national goals to which they're tasked. This has nothing to do with the President's on-going command of forces that are always under federal control.
In his exposition of the Constitution Joseph Story articulates that the Congress has the authority not to fund the army when it sees fit. Also it is correct that the phrase "to provide for the calling forth" is only used in reference to the militia. Congress does have the power to "raise and support armies" which implies that Congress creates them and dissolves them.
So can Congress even vote to set a time table for this war? It appears to be unconstitutional. For this is not within their Constitutional prerogative. But Congress can disband the armies at their pleasure.
Who pays attention to the federal constitution anymore - other than Congressman Ron Paul and a few kooks like me on this board and elsewhere?
Most people probably think that it contains the phrase "separation of church and state".
It does not matter, the powers of the two branches still overlap. James Newman is right, irregardless of how one defines Article II sec. 2, and I happen to disagree with your interpretation, The President has never been given the authority to "declare war". Essentially this president, and others sadly, have saw fit to usurp Congress' authority and wage war on their own. Certainly something we can all agree the founding fathers would not be too keen on considering they were isolationists.