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24 September 2014


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Marcy C.

Sir, I have been wondering: who were the last people in the room with presidents Bush and Obama when the decisions to go to war were made? Were they unelected political advisors or the heads of the different military services in your country?


The Founders not only gave Congress the exclusive power to declare war, knowing that Congress would be the most unruly element of the Federal government. They wanted to make it as hard as possible to bring the country to war, and they feared that giving the president the authority to bring the country to war would be tantamount to creating a king or a tyrant. Congress was also given explicit authority to impeach the president. The Founders expected that a president would be impeached once every generation or so, due to the temptations of presidential power, however limited by the checks and balances in Congress and the Courts. Not only has Congress failed to uphold the constitutional responsibilities to control the decision to go to war. They have failed miserably to exert the impeachment powers. When Democrats were ready to bring impeachment proceedings against Bush and Cheney for lying the US into the Iraq war, a deal was struck between Republican and Democratic leaders in the House "taking impeachment off the table." Bush-Cheney should have been impeached, and so, too, Obama should be impeached. As Franklin warned, we only have a Republic if we are prepared to fight to keep it. With Brennan and Clapper running around, having already driven the competent head of DIA out because he was arming the Joint Chiefs with intelligence arguing against perpetual wars, Col. Lang is totally right in warning that the language of any new AUMF must be read very carefully.


All Branches are equal, but some are more equal than others.

You can't have the Hamilton of No. 25 without the Hamilton of No. 70


Odd, amusing, and somewhat ironic that Democrats are front and center of the defense of the Congressional prerogative to declare war. Where is the Republican leadership on this? Are the Republicans the self-anointed 'defenders of the Constitution'? Members of the Federalist Society?

Every member should be worried about the shift of power from Congress to the executive (and this is not a new thing). The Framers would be turning in their graves.


I know that this will be dismissed by those who have a US-centric point of view, but this is true: international law as it has evolved post-1945 does indeed make the Constitutional power of Congress to "declare war" a nullity and devoid of meaning.

Think about it: prior to 1945 international law recognized a very formalized framework for warfare i.e. you start with the formal Declaration of War, you continue fighting until the other guy agrees to sign the Articles of Surrender, but the "state of war" between you two continues until both sign a formal Peace Treaty.

All that got thrown out in 1945, when the UN Charter outlawed the use of warfare as a means of settling international dispute.

So all that formal stuff was thrown out the window, replaced by the concept of "armed conflict", which is entirely a fact-based construct i.e. you are either shooting at each other ("armed-conflict") or you agree to stop shooting at each other ("cease-fire").

Think about it: if you can't CHOOSE to go to war (and the UN Charter forbids that) then you can't formally "declare war" on anyone.

Q: Why not?
A: Because it is a declarative statement that you are CHOOSING warfare as your means of settling an issue with someone else.

Q: And that's a problem because....?
A: The UN Charter says that you are prohibited from CHOOSING warfare over more pacific means of settling disputes.

Again, I understand that a US-centric point of view will simply dismiss that as pie-in-the-sky.

But, hey, ask yourself this: how many times has Congress "declared war" on anyone since 1945?

The answer is: zero.

And how many times has (say) the UK "declared war" on anyone since 1945?

The answer is: zero.

Congress has to get around that UN Charter prohibition by replacing "declarations of war" with the "authorization of the use of force".

Well, heck, if you are going to muck around with the Constitution like that then why not go all the way?

Why not simply say that the Constitution power to "declare war" is now an anachronism, so that's for nothing and we'll just leave it up to the POTUS from now on, OK?

After all, why not?

William R. Cumming

Great post PL!

The tragedy is that the "Deep State" is self-perpetuating!
In reality the FOURTH BRANCH!

ex-PFC Chuck

An early draft of Eisenhower's speech had it right the first time: "military-industrial-cogressional complex."


"Network of Death". For f-ck's sake - the rhetoric on IS went off the charts pretty quickly, didn't it? I heard Kerry quoted as saying IS was currently the 'single greatest threat to world peace'. The Russians must feel they have a free pass, which they already had, I suppose.

A cool trillion on nuclear weapons systems, a permanent war presence in the region,and Iran in the hole for a rainy day. Heady times, indeed.

Brian O'


what difference will yet another law make, when the constitution is ignored like it is now?

self-answering question, i know.

media: doesn't care -- he's one of ours.

lawmakers: are cowards who run from enforcing their laws, just like this one.

people: want to know what's up with the kkkardashians.

William R. Cumming

agree! So stop electing children President?



" we'll just leave it up to the POTUS from now on, OK?"

No, it's not OK.

robt willmann

An item of possible good news for the day is that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is going to resign. "Possible", because that will depend on who his successor is, as the next person could be even worse. And he is not leaving until his successor is confirmed by the Senate which, at the moment, has a majority from the Democratic Party.



Holder was in the Justice Department for a while and was Deputy Attorney General in 1997 when Bill Clinton was president and Janet Reno was attorney general, and was also the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia (Washington DC).

Before he became attorney general, Holder was involved in a matter worse than what has emerged during his tenure as AG, but the story is too lengthy for a comment at this time.

FB Ali

Kerry seems to have one-upped his boss. This is what Lavrov said:

“As for the U.S. President’s speech, we earned the second place among the threats to international peace and stability: number one is the Ebola virus, number two is the so-called Russian aggression in Europe, and ISIL and other terrorists who are now taking hold of the Middle East and primarily of the countries, which have evidenced U.S. interventions, are ranked as number three.”


The role of Commander in chief ought to be thought of as just another executive function constrained by laws congress passes. Sort of like how the head of the Department of Energy doesn't feel they have the right to order a supercollider be built without congressional say-so.

Did it use to be thought of in this way? I'm not that old, and not American. I don't truly know. But I do remember in the nineties and oughts that the media presented war policy as exercise run through the Department of Defence, which was subject to oversight and congressional political input. It never presented it in a way it is now: that the President decides when, where and how the US goes to war, with even less than lever pulling input from the department of defence establishment, and no input from congress.

Do you think most American who pay minimal attention to the media could even name the head of the joint chiefs of staff today? How about in the 1990s?

Mark Logan


Pelosi running an impeachment campaign that would put her in the Presidency would have been troubling at best.

I hope that wasn't taken as contradiction, it's just that I don't blame "Congress", I don't blame the President, and I don't blame the Constitution. I blame the people who elected them. Somebody said "There is no replacement for an informed, engaged public in a democracy"...or something like it.



"ought to be thought of as just another executive function constrained by laws congress passes" That in earlier times but the growth of the imperial presidency sine WW2 has destroyed the tradition. pl


Meanwhile, in Afghanistan...

A new security agreement authorizing the presence of American forces in Afghanistan after 2014 will be signed just days after the nation’s new president is inaugurated on Monday, a senior State Department official said Wednesday.

Both Ashraf Ghani, Afghanistan’s new president-elect, and his chief opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, indicated during their election campaign that they supported the security agreement. And both men recommitted themselves to the agreement in recent weeks as they worked out the terms of a power-sharing arrangement, American officials said.

“We expect that it will be fully signed in a matter of days after the new administration starts,” said the State Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under the agency’s rules for briefing reporters. “No one has talked about reopening the issues.”

Though widely anticipated, the signing of the agreement is an important step that would provide a legal basis for American forces to advise Afghan forces after 2014.



Mission creep rears its ugly mug...

In an escalation of American re-engagement in Iraq, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday deployed the first division headquarters unit to the war-torn country since the U.S. withdrawal in 2011.

About 200 soldiers from the Army’s 1st Infantry Division headquarters, based at Fort Riley, Kan., will bring to almost 1,400 the number of troops President Barack Obama has sent into Iraq since July to counter an offensive by Islamic State fighters.




deployment of a division level C&C module was inevitable and presages a much larger deployment of assets. pl



Yes, American troops will be condemned to a presence there indefinitely. This will enable continued looting of US money by Afghans and Americans. pl


Sir, The Big Red One is getting the big red one...!



Under present concepts one division headquarters or another are simply interchangeable. pl


It's getting ugly at the Turkish border...

Turkish police in riot gear guard the Mursitpinar frontier post with Syria and army personnel carriers patrol nearby stretches of a border where Islamic State’s advance has opened new political fault-lines.

Kurds are crossing it in both directions. Tens of thousands have fled to Turkey in the past 10 days as the militants seized their villages in northern Syria. Others are heading the opposite way to join the fight, and clashes broke out this week when the Turkish security forces tried to stop some of them.



Sir, I was a commo puke in the 2nd ID's JTOC in Korea for a tour, as well as the JRTC HQ, in Ft. Polk. I've seen it in action...!


I blame the people who elected them

Exactly, blame where blame is due.

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