Thursday, February 16, 2006

Andrew McCarthy: Bush Should Be Allowed to Be a Dictator

While there are some legitimate things in this article by Andy McCarthy, this line beggars belief:

The power to declare war has never been a power to make, authorize, or initiate war. Indeed, as demonstrated in The Powers of War and Peace by Professor John Yoo, formerly of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the Framers altered a draft of the Constitution that would have empowered Congress to "make" war, settling on "declare," a term of art which, at the time of the founding, merely meant the provision of formal notice to the world (including the enemy) of a state of total war (as opposed to some lesser degree of hostilities), which triggered various rights for belligerents under international law. It is no accident either that the U.S., despite having participated in numerous wars, has formally declared war only five times in its history (and not since 1941), or that our British forebears frequently fought wars with no formal declaration whatsoever.

Put another way, the President has the power to take us into a war without the consent of Congress. This is madness. The reason why the Congress is not given the power to "make war" is so that they cannot take the country to war without hte President's consent. That is, they can declare war, but the president can refuse to actually fight it. Thsi is far different from saying that the President can fight a war without a declaration.

And McCarthy's apparent endorsement of our fighting undeclared wars shows that he is another imperialist with a dictatorial ideal for the president.

His line that a formal declaration of war "triggered various rights for belligerents under international law" is also worrisome. Is he stating that without a declaration, our troops are not legally protected from abuse (e.g. we cannot charge those who capture our troops and mistreat them with war crimes) or that the declaration of war triggers rights for our enemies (in which case he is arguing that the President can figght a war harder without a declaration, making a declaration of war actually a statement of restraint rather than a statement of belligerence.

Let's be honest, Andy. You want the President to have absolute power. You really believe what this website sarcastically states.

That is all.

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