July 7, 2006

A few more senators, and we can put him on the Court..

How I admire John Yoo. A voice of sanity and clarity. Read this one:

...Long-standing U.S. practice recognizes that the president, as commander in chief, plays the leading role in wartime. Presidents have started wars without congressional authorization, and they have exercised complete control over military strategy and tactics. They can act with a speed, unity and secrecy that the other branches of government cannot match. By contrast, legislatures are large, diffuse and slow. Their collective design may make them better for deliberating over policy, but at the cost of delay and lack of resolve.

The Sept. 11 attacks succeeded in part because our government was mired in a terrorism-as-crime approach that worried less about preventing attacks than about hypothetical threats to civil liberties — hence the "wall" preventing our law enforcement and intelligence agencies from sharing information. Our laws considered war as conflict only between nations and failed to anticipate the rise of non-state terrorist organizations that could kill 3,000 Americans, destroy the World Trade Center and damage the Pentagon in a single day.

Bush invoked his constitutional authority to fight this shadowy enemy that does not wear uniforms, targets civilians and violates every rule of civilized warfare. Like George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln and FDR, Bush established military commissions to try enemy combatants for war crimes. If the commander in chief couldn't have taken wartime actions on his own, then the slaves would have remained Confederate property during the Civil War and Britain would not have fully benefited from American aid and military support before World War II....
(Thanks to Orrin)

I had kind of forgotten about what FDR did before the US entered WWII. But it was, in fact, a shocking "power grab," and some of it was probably grossly illegal for any non-emergency situation.

But FDR was right, and that's what Presidents do! That's what we have them for. To act. The writers of the Constitution certainly considered having everything run by the legislature. But they were as wise and experienced bunch of constitution-drafters as have ever assembled on the face of the earth. They had, many of them, helped write constitutions for their states, and they had fought through a long messy war whose contours were almost as shifty and treacherous as the one we are in now. They knew.

And we have a counter-example. Boy-oh-boy do we ever.

Jimmy Carter was warned by his national security advisors that Russia was likely to invade Afghanistan for a year before it happened. And he ignored them! And, like all of today's fake Christian-pacifist-lefty hand-wringers, he loved (and still does) dictators. And loved any rules that restrain the US, and put power into the hands of "International" organizations. And hated the very idea of America intervening in the world to support freedom.

So nothing was done. And millions died. And millions fled to hideous refugee camps.

(This is also the perfect counter example to those mired-in-the-past lefties who still bring up the overthrow of Mossadeqh, as if it were some horrible thing. But the result was that Iran did not fall into the Soviet orbit, millions did not die, millions did not end up in stinking hell-holes.)

* Update: I had made a bit of a vow to give up Carter-bashing, after I read about how he led an international effort that eradicated a particularly grotesque (don't look it up, you don't want to know) tropical disease. But the logic of this post was just too compelling. In penance, I will say ...*gulp*...that Jimmy Carter has his good points.

Posted by John Weidner at July 7, 2006 7:20 AM
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