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This is What Happens...

When presidents, not Congress, gets to declare war.

by James Leroy Wilson
August 7, 2003

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This is What Happens..._James Leroy Wilson-When presidents, not Congress, gets to declare war. "Two-a-days" is what describes most National Football League training camps right now, and refer to their arduous morning and mid-afternoon training drills. Fortunately, it probably doesn't yet describe American soldiers killed in Iraq. It seem that it averages to more than one a day, but less than two, that a serviceman is killed.

All supporters of this war, and of all undeclared wars, have American blood on their hands. In some ways, almost all of us do. For we let this happen. Not that all of us let this particular war happen, but we encouraged the environment, praised supposed heroes like Harry Truman for Korea and George Bush I for the Kuwaiti "liberation." We let foreign policy and war powers to slip from the hands of Congress and be held in the President alone.

Do I think the President deliberately misled the American people, or was misled himself by his advisors and Cabinet, into invading Iraq on the pretense of Weapons of Mass Destruction, links to Al-Qaeda, and the supposed threat Hussein posed to Middle East "stability"? It doesn't matter. Just as Bill Clinton, not Janet Reno, is responsible for the incineration at Waco and the abduction of Elian Gonzalez to be returned to slavery in Cuba, so George W. Bush is responsible for the Iraqi invasion. He alone, not Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Condoleeza Rice, or John Ashcroft, is responsible for appointing those very same people to senior Administration positions, just as Clinton must be held responsible for appointing Janet Reno as Attorney General.

We will know if Bush is honorable yet incompetent, or both diabolical and tyrannical, depending on how he reacts to the information coming to him now that many had known long before: that Hussein destroyed his WMD's a long time ago in compliance with UN resolutions; that Hussein was never an ally of Al-Qaeda and even if he had any WMD's, wouldn't give them to Osama bin Laden except in a circumstance like what he now faces; that Hussein would never have invaded Kuwait unless given the green light by the USA and probably still is unable to understand the idiocy and hypocrisy that rules American politics (and is probably still wondering to himself what the hell happened to his once-friendly relationship to the USA). Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and an ignoramus, but what did he ever do to us?

If Bush realizes that he has been in over his head, that Saddam Hussein was a non-factor already held in check by the UN and the American Air Force, that his advisors were deceiving him in order to either make the USA's foreign policy identical to Israel's, or to spread "democracy" around the globe for the sake of morality and for America's military-industrial complex, then he should resign or at least not seek re-election. Bush apparently knows how to repent already. If he repented now, he would pull the troops from Iraq, apologize to the American people and to the world, and refuse to seek a second term.

Some say that there is the ostensible reason and the "real" reason for invading Iraq. Linking Iraq to terror and weapons of mass destruction would "justify" the war to the American people, but establishing democracy in Iraq ultimately, freedom and stability in the entire Middle East was the "real" and noble reason for the war. But it doesn't wash. This is saying that the President is justified in lying in order to draw the USA into a war on foreign soil.

Does the President have the right to lie to and frighten the Congress into "authorizing" the President the "use of force" in cases where, if the real reasons the President would have for going to war - such as delusions of establishing democracy and stability in the Middle East - the Congress would never itself take responsibility for declaring war? Do Presidents have the right to make war on false pretenses, provided he thinks his cause is just and strategy sound?

Absolutely not. The Constitution provides that Congress alone has the power to declare war, and it doesn't authorize the Congress to transfer that power to the President, to be used at the President's discretion. Perhaps this latest fiasco in Iraq will convince some Americans of the folly of modern "wisdom" that says that Congress declaring war is "out of date." It turns out, this is one of the best things in the Constitution. Perhaps we will follow it one day.

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