Monday, November 24, 2014

James Madison and George Washington on the Power to Declare War

Let the Constitution's main author explain what the document says about war:
The constitution supposes, what the History of all Governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the Legislature.
And the first President to hold office under this system said this:
The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress. Therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure.
These are from Rand Paul's declaration of war against ISIS, which also rules out ground troops and limits the action to one year.

I do know this principle has been violated routinely in American history, but that doesn't make those violations a good idea.


G. Verloren said...

I admit to being only vaguely aware of the man and his politics (because who among us honestly keeps tabs on more than a handful of congress-critters at any given time?), but I don't think I've ever heard anything positive ever said about Senator Paul that came from a source I could put any reasonable amount of faith in or gravitas behind.

That aside, I honestly think a formal declaration of war would be counter productive, in that it would by definition be an official recognition of ISIS as a political entity worthy of a declaration of war, and would in effect legitimize their existence.

Shadow said...

I can't imagine Paul being president -- won't happen. However, I believe he is correct when he says the war on drugs has corrupted the relationship between community and police. If he can persuade people to think through all the effects of the drug war on society, including the violence and loss of civil liberties, I will be grateful. There is value in listening to someone whose views differ from the norm, if those views are well reasoned. That, in my opinion, says something positive about the man, at least in this one instance.

John said...

I think Paul's libertarian budgeting would be awful, but to me he has a much better attitude toward foreign affairs and war than Hillary, so if they end up running against each other I will be torn.

Shadow said...

Paul can't justify some of his positions when closely scrutinized. He's not that good, and I'm not sure he's thought through them all. I think on some issues he feels it more than grasps it. Plus he is prone to making some of the silly Libertarian augments that have always plagued the ideology.

Hilary has the advantage of taking a position people are familiar with, and maybe comfortable with. Paul's foreign policy is too vulnerable to fear attacks by hawks. Plus we like the power we yield, despite protestations to the contrary. And we have a congress that prefers not making up or down war votes. They hide behind the War Powers Act, which is an illusion. What congress will pull funding after a president has committed troops? No congress I have seen.