The Last Nail
The last nail is being driven into the coffin of the American Republic. Yet, Congress remains in total denial as our liberties are rapidly fading before our eyes. The process is propelled by unwarranted fear and ignorance as to the true meaning of liberty. It is driven by economic myths, fallacies and irrational good intentions. The rule of law is constantly rejected and authoritarian answers are offered as panaceas for all our problems. Runaway welfarism is used to benefit the rich at the expense of the middle class. Who would have ever thought that the current generation and Congress would stand idly by and watch such a rapid disintegration of the American Republic? Characteristic of this epic event is the casual acceptance by the people and political leaders of the unitary presidency, which is equivalent to granting dictatorial powers to the President. Our Presidents can now, on their own:
• Operate secret military tribunals;
• Engage in torture;
• Enforce indefinite imprisonment without due process;
• Ignore the 60-day rule for reporting to the Congress the nature of any military operations as required by the War Power Resolution;
And all of this is not enough. The abuses and usurpations of the war power are soon to be codified in the National Defense Authorization Act now rapidly moving its way through Congress. Instead of repealing the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force [AUMF], as we should, now that bin Laden is dead and gone, Congress is planning to massively increase the war power of the President. Though an opportunity presents itself to end the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, Congress, with bipartisan support, obsesses on how to expand the unconstitutional war power the President already holds.
The current proposal would allow a President to pursue war any time, any place, for any reason, without congressional approval. Many believe this would even permit military activity against American suspects here at home. The proposed authority does not reference the 9/11 attacks. It would be expanded to include the Taliban and "associated" forces — a dangerously vague and expansive definition of our potential enemies. There is no denial that the changes in Section 1034 totally eliminate the hard-fought-for restraint on Presidential authority to go to war without Congressional approval achieved at the Constitutional Convention.
Congress' war authority has been severely undermined since World War II beginning with the advent of the Korean War which was fought solely under a UN Resolution. Even today, we're waging war in Libya without even consulting with the Congress, similar to how we went to war in Bosnia in the 1990s under President Clinton. The three major reasons for our Constitutional Convention were to:
• Guarantee free trade and travel among the states;
• Strictly limit the Executive Branch's authority to pursue war without Congressional approval.
• And now the final nail is placed in the coffin of congressional responsibility for the war power, delivering this power completely to the President — a sharp and huge blow to the concept of our republic.
In my view, it appears that the fate of the American republic is now sealed — unless these recent trends are quickly reversed. The saddest part of this tragedy is that all these horrible changes are being done in the name of patriotism and protecting freedom. They are justified by good intentions while believing the sacrifice of liberty is required for our safety. Nothing could be further from the truth.
More sadly is the conviction that our enemies are driven to attack us for our freedoms and prosperity, and not because of our deeply flawed foreign policy that has generated justifiable grievances and has inspired the radical violence against us. Without this understanding, our endless, unnamed, and undeclared wars will continue and our wonderful experiment with liberty will end.
Thumbnail photo: Ron Paul