Tags: Strange | Views | War | Powers

Strange Views on War Powers

Friday, 21 September 2001 12:00 AM

Audaciously, last week White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, confronted for the second time in as many minutes to clarify the president's position on the necessity of a formal declaration of war from Congress, responded rousingly that it's "nice" that Congress is behind the president, but its consent is not needed. The Constitution grants the president, as commander in chief, all the authority he needs.

Question for the White House: To which Constitution is the Bush administration referring?

Quoting from the U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, we read:

"The Congress shall have the power ... to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal [i.e., letters authorizing U.S. troops to snuff out foreign terrorists], and make rules concerning captures on land and water. (our emphasis)

"To raise and support armies.

"To provide and maintain a navy.

"To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.

"To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States. ..."

Clear enough. Only Congress can declare war, make military law, call up the Guard and finance the war. As for commander-in-chief powers, we refer President Bush, his advisers and Congress to Federalist 69.

Hamilton begins by quoting from Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution:

The President [shall] be the commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several States, when called into the actual service of the United States [via a declaration of war from Congress]. (our emphasis)

He then clarifies what commander in chief means:

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, as first general and admiral of the Confederacy; 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.

Head general, that's all. Get over it.

War on the World?

We've previously stated that we unequivocally support a tough military, economic, intelligence and, as needed, domestic response against the perpetrators, sponsors, harborers and economic backers of last week's attack. Yet we can't help but raise a hue and cry over the fact that President Bush's sidestepping of the constitutional requirement for a congressional declaration of war coincides with his insistence that this act of war was an attack on not just the United States but also "on the world."

Or, to take our complaint to the next level, the Bush administration deemed it not just nice but vital that the U.N. surrogate NATO authorized military action (1,500 soldiers from 20 nations), and we suspect, before all is said and done, that the president will give in to China's demands and Russian "advice" that the U.N. Security Council sanction U.S. military action. Truth is, NATO's charter requires it.

Maybe you think this laughably insignificant. You do so at the peril of your nation and its Constitution. We should defend America with the authorization of Americans – not communists, not socialists, not terrorists, not thugs in U.N. blue. No, not even with the consent of U.N. subsidiary NATO, whose ideological makeup prefers Marx more than Madison.

President Bush, Congress and our fellow Americans, we adjure you to fight this war under the U.S. Constitution, and only the U.S. Constitution!

Like Father, Like Son?

This War on Terrorism is being portrayed as a transformational, defining moment in our history. What does that mean? Here's a hint. In another "defining moment," in August of 1990, President Bush's father, for 48 days, committed our troops to what was then being advertised as the "Mother of All Wars" – a war against the supposed awesome military might of Iraq. Bush did so, first by his own will, then with the vital consent of the United Nations Security Council, which came on Nov. 29, 1990, and lastly, as if an afterthought, with the "support" of Congress, which forwarded him a mere we-won't-abandon-our-troops-in-the-field resolution for this fait accompli. This was an unprecedented power grab for both the presidency and the U.N. (1)

Bush (Sr.) then sounded just like his son now: "I have the constitutional authority, many attorneys having advised me." (2) Later, before the Texas Republican State Convention in 1992, he arrogantly added: "I didn't have to get permission from some old goat in Congress to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait." (3)

On the campaign trail, we remember, President George W. Bush Jr. rebuked a Republican-controlled Congress for proposing a pullout date for U.S. troops (under NATO) in Kosovo. He didn't want them to "tie his hands."


Looking back again to Bush the father, the historians tell us that the defense of dictatorial, Soviet-backed Kuwait was in our national interest, but why don't they take it from the horse's mouth? Bush Sr. unabashedly declared: "Out of these troubled times, our fifth objective – a new world order – can emerge. ... We are now in sight of a United Nations that performs as envisioned by its founders." (4)

In a National Security Strategy document, he enthused: "I hope history will record that the Gulf crisis was the crucible of the new world order." (5)

Will this heinous act of terrorism be exploited as but another "godsend" for the glory of the U.N. and the glory of its bastard child, NATO?

Assassinations? OK for the U.N.!

These mass murderers must be put to death. Justice shouts it to our souls. And yet we've heard debate over whether or not we should have the authority to "take out" foreign leaders. Ironically, on March 31, 1991, President Bush (Sr.) in his "Pax Universalis" speech at the United Nations, placed our nation on record as favoring a new U.N. power to settle "national passions" within the borders of any nation, and yes, to remove a nation's leader. So why didn't he grant the same authority to the U.S. to take out Saddam? Did the alliance need an enemy to justify a standing army in Iraq?


Prediction: The War on Terrorism will be utilized as another "defining moment" in the progress of the new world order. The greased wheels are already churning. We pray Congress, the president, both political parties, and a vigilant citizenry will prove us wrong.

Stand up and Be Counted – Legislation That Matters

Here's a chance to do just that – prove us wrong. Congressman Bob Barr , R-Ga., caring enough about the Constitution and the importance of debate over dictatorship in deciding the life-and-death issue of sending our sons to war, last Thursday introduced House Joint Resolution 62, a formal declaration of war by Congress. The pathetic truth is the resolution went nowhere, accruing only eight co-sponsors. As of this writing, his office informs us, the issue appears dead. Nevertheless, Mr. Barr, appearing Friday on "The Savage Nation." encouraged listeners to contact their representatives and senators and insist they sustain the Constitution. We do the same. Contact your president, senators, and congressman and tell them to support H.J. 62. And while you're at it, remind them that the only consent we need is from our government, not NATO and not the U.N. Security Council. Tell them to co-sponsor Ron Paul's HR Support H.R. 1146, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2001.

Contact Steve & Steve at StiffRightJab@aol.com.

If you haven't already, read Part 6 of Steve Farrell's Democrats in Drag and Part 9 of Missing the Mark With Religion. Missed a Stiff Right Jab? Visit our NewsMax archives.


1. Foreign Affairs, January/February 1991. The Road to War. Return

2. Lewis, Anthony. "Not in a Single Man." New York Times, September 12, 1994. Return

3. McManus, John F. Changing Commands – The Betrayal of America's Military. Appleton, Wisc.: The John Birch Society, 1995, p. 32. Return

4. September 11, 1990, televised address by President Bush. Return

5. National Security Strategy of the United States, August 1991, signed by President George Bush (Sr.). Return

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Audaciously, last week White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, confronted for the second time in as many minutes to clarify the president's position on the necessity of a formal declaration of war from Congress, responded rousingly that it's nice that Congress is...
Friday, 21 September 2001 12:00 AM
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