The Founders foresaw many problems for the republic they created and tried to provide durable solutions for and protection against them. There is no evidence, however, that they thought the republic would one day be ruled by men who are arrogant and incompetent usurpers. On this July 4th, however, we are enduring the fourth consecutive presidential administration that can only be described in that way.
In the past week several events occurred which underline this sorry state of affairs. In what was billed as “town hall meeting” on June 30th in Wisconsin, President Obama proved that his arrogance keeps him living in a world that is every bit as unreal as the one George W. Bush inhabited. One would have thought that Obama’s responsibility for two lost wars in the Muslim world would have alerted his reputedly brilliant mind to the fact that interventionist and nation-building policies are counterproductive for U.S. interests. But one would have been dead wrong.
Having had 6,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines killed in two wars has taught Obama not that intervention causes wars, but rather that U.S. interventions need to be bigger, more expensive, and involve more unarmed U.S. citizens on the battlefield. “When you look at a place like Afghanistan or at a place like Iraq,” Obama said,
“so many of our military personnel are having to engage in work that really should be civilian work — helping to build schools, helping to build bridges, helping to set up the rule of law and courts… So what I am trying to say is, don’t put all the burden on the military. Make sure that we’ve got a civilian expeditionary force that when we go out into some village somewhere and the military makes it secure, let’s have the agricultural specialist right there, let’s have the person who knows how to train a police force right there. Let’s have all those personnel and let’s make sure we are giving them the support that they need in order for us to be successful on our mission.”
Now, if a casual review of reality in the last decade proves anything, it is that the U.S. occupations of Muslim countries cause hatred for the United States that translates into an anti-U.S. war that no number of agricultural- or police-training specialists — and the greenbacks-for-wasting they bring with them — can win or even contain. (It also shows the U.S. military is unable to secure any locale for more than short time because it is not allowed to destroy the enemy.) Why is this? Quite simply because so many of the activities Mr. Obama spoke of — building schools, establishing courts, installing the rule of law, etc. — are simply efforts to make poor, benighted Muslims more like us, or at least more like what Mr. Obama and his elite comrades want them and most Americans to be.
Obama’s “civilian expeditionary force” would be nothing more than a force of secular, taxpayer-paid busybodies intent on destroying any Muslim culture they find in favor of the talk-Christianity/install-paganism doctrine favored by the president and his party. They would cause more wars abroad, stimulate violence at home by young Muslim-American males, and probably be understandably butchered by those who neither need nor want some young, snot-nosed U.S. civil servant telling him what is wrong with his culture and faith and what he must do to fix it. A “civilian expeditionary force,” then, is just another manifestation of Obama’s Kiplingesque mind and his passion for taking up “the elite-man’s burden.”
On the incompetent side of the ledger comes the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) June 29th admission that five years into a program to prevent nuclear terrorism in the United States there has been no appreciable progress. The unit in charge of the program — the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office — has not even completed a strategic plan for completing its mission and in the meantime has spent nearly $250 million on advanced detection systems that have not worked. The Government Accountability Office concluded that the DHS unit has done virtually nothing to put in place viable methods of preventing nuclear smuggling by aircraft, small boats, or by vehicle or railroad across land borders.
As this dismal news was being released another DHS unit announced that Americans should be encouraged that security along the many thousands of miles of U.S. land borders is improving because 384 more federal border-control agents have been deployed and the number of K9 dog-patrol units along the borders had skyrocketed from 5 to 13. The two announcements put me in mind of what Casey Stengel is reported to have asked as he watched his Mets team practice for the first time: “Does anyone here know how to play this game?” Casey’s incompetent ball players went on to lose 120 games in their first season. DHS’s incompetent nuclear office stands to lose a city like Houston.
And then there is Iran. Media coverage clearly points to the increasing likelihood of a U.S.-Israel offensive war against Iran. Do Americans want war with Iran? Can their economy stand what will be another unending war? Do 300 million Americans want to take on 1.4 billion Muslims who will be at least temporarily united after Washington and Israel start a war on Iran? Do these same Americans really want the violence in their towns and cities that Iran will sponsor after it is attacked? Can Americans trust their generals to put U.S. interests first after seeing General Petraeus kiss the butt of the Israel-First Necon Max Boot and beg him to publish articles saying that he (Petraeus) is a good little sycophantic loyalist to AIPAC’s agenda?* Do American parents want their kids in the military to die in what would be a second war for Israel in less than a decade?
The way to answer these questions is provided in the Constitution, which assigns the task of declaring war exclusively to the U.S. Congress. Washington under Bush and Obama has been edging closer to war with Iran for nearly ten years, and both men have spoken and acted as if it is their decision whether to attack Iran. It is not. A decision by any president to wage an offensive war — and probably even a defensive war — minus a formal declaration of war by the Congress is unconstitutional. Just because Congress has decided to cede their sole power to make war to the president does not make that delegation of authority constitutional; indeed, the Congress has no constitutional power to delegate its power in this regard and our increasingly imperial courts have no power to unilaterally amend the constitution in this or any other regard. As in the case of the language used in the 1st and 2nd Amendments, the Founders assigned the war-making power only to the Congress in language far too clear to allow for any misunderstanding whatsoever.
This being the case, is there not one of the 535 members of the Congress who will introduce a resolution that says something like:
“The Executive Branch of the United States Government from this date forward will not launch an offensive war without a formal declaration of war passed by Congress after a full debate in both houses and the provision of a week’s time for U.S. citizens to make their views known to their elected representatives via e-mail.”
Whether or not the resolution is adopted, its mere introduction would give ordinary Americans a chance to gauge how far Congress has illegally abdicated its constitutional prerogatives and how far their own, their children’s, and their country’s futures and fortunes are bound tight to the whims of one man.
Are you out there Rep. Paul and Rep. Kucinich? Will you or anyone take on the usurpers by introducing such a short/clear resolution? Or are we too far gone even for that?
* On Petreaus see, http://mondoweiss.net/2010/07/petraeus-fed-his-pro-israel-bona-fides-to-a-neocon-writer-including-pathetic-recitation-of-meeting-wiesel.html and www.tinyurl.com/PetraeusandNeocons