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John, I hate to be so disagreeable that I disagree even about the nub of our disagreement but here’s what I see as the central question: Did the people who wrote and more importantly ratified the Constitution intend to confer upon the president the power to launch wars and initiate major non-defensive military action without congressional approval? My argument throughout this debate has been that they did not and that the evidence to the contrary is so thin that people who support lots of wars — Max Boot, for example — are forced to inflate various skirmishes to make it appear as though their views on presidential war-making have been the historical norm.
That said, the Rivkin/Casey op-ed does at least attempt to make an originalist argument. The authors seriously grapple with what the Framers were trying to do and don’t just cherry-pick favorable quotes or breathe magical meaning into random phrases in the Constitution. The consensus the Founders arrived at was that they wanted to avoid having one man who could take the country to war and easy war-making more generally while stopping short of denying the president the power to defend the country in circumstances where Congress would be too slow to act. That does create some gray areas and times when the president’s need for congressional authorization won’t be so clear-cut. But the existence of those gray areas doesn’t obviate the general principle any more than the existence of some legitimate hard cases means we must therefore support elective abortion on demand.
A case where the U.S. is attacking a country that our own government does not claim had any plans to attack us, in a situation where there was no imminent risk to the American people and where ample time existed to consult Congress, and where the intervention is not consistent with any agreed upon policy that was already in place is not a gray area. It is a textbook example of when congressional authorization is required. Whatever else the Founding Fathers may have meant by “commander-in-chief,” they clearly did not intend for the military to be the president’s personal army for doing whatever good deeds he chooses to perform throughout the world. The Rubio resolution would at least be a constitutional mechanism for pursuing an unwise policy.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online