War Powers - To Fetishize or Not to Fetishize

About: war powers resolution - wikipedia

Interesting word in the context of War.
An endless congressional polarized debate in Congress about whether to strike an enemy with force seems ridiculous.  The element of surprise would be lost forever. In today’s polarization & obstructionism who knows what could happen.  I would at least limit such mass destruction as nuclear & mass destruction can bring upon an enemy.  War has changed & is considered as asymmetric these days as ISIS & Islamic Jihad has declared. 
These are entities that have already declared war on the United States. 
OTOH some would exclaim “good – no wars !”  while ignoring the obligation of the military to protect the citizens of the United States.
One question, yet unanswered, is whether war declared upon the US means we are at war with them or at war at all ? Is an undeclared war against the US something we can fight?  North Korea is another example strictly national while ISIS is religious XOR based strictly on belief.  Viet Nam was a battle against a political ideology –communism!
The interesting word fetishize showed up in the Wikipedia article:

One argument for the unconstitutionality of the War Powers Resolution by Philip Bobbitt[32] argues "The power to make war is not an enumerated power" and the notion that to "declare" war is to "commence" war is a "contemporary textual preconception". Bobbitt contends that the Framers of the Constitution believed that statutory authorization was the route by which the United States would be committed to war, and that ’declaration’ was meant for only total wars, as shown by the history of the Quasi-War with France (1798–1800). In general, constitutional powers are not so much separated as "linked and sequenced"; Congress’s control over the armed forces is "structured" by appropriation, while the President commands; thus the act of declaring war should not be fetishized.[clarification needed] Bobbitt also argues that "A democracy cannot ... tolerate secret policies" because they undermine the legitimacy of governmental action.

 Is the pragmatic & practical being ignored for appearance sake in the name of whatever war is? 

Tags

  1. war
  2. war powers
  3. constitution
  4. potus

Comments


Mark de LA says
The War that got me:

At the time Lyndon B. Johnson took over the presidency after the death of Kennedy, he had not been heavily involved with policy toward Vietnam, Presidential aide Jack Valenti recalls, "Vietnam at the time was no bigger than a man’s fist on the horizon. We hardly discussed it because it was not worth discussing."[177][178]

Upon becoming president, however, Johnson immediately had to focus on Vietnam: on 24 November 1963, he said, "the battle against communism ... must be joined ... with strength and determination."[179] The pledge came at a time when the situation in South Vietnam was deteriorating, especially in places like the Mekong Delta, because of the recent coup against Diệm.[180] However, Johnson knew that he had inherited a rapidly deteriorating situation in South Vietnam, believing in the widely accepted arguments that were used for defending the South: Should they retreat or appease, either action would imperil other nations beyond the conflict.[181]

see Wikipedia on the Viet Nam War: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War#Johnson.27s_escalation.2C_1963.E2.80.9369 
 

Mark de LA says
Would a full scale congressional debate open up our weaknesses to our enemies? null

Seth says
so as you were crushing in your PT boat around the Mekong Delta under Johnosn’t orders, did it feel like you were “battleing against communism” ?   I mean how did you and your men feel in relation to the larger battle?

There is no political motivation is in my question … just curiosity of how it felt in that regard.

Seth says
IMHO, yes … no war has been declared in the past 72 years … yet America has gone to battle frequently.   Military action has changed too much for that old constitutional rule to still work.

Mark de LA says
I didn’t have a PT boat. What bothered me most was I was ordered straight out of graduation from UCLA into the army – luckily I opted Navy – with few choices except to run to Canada.  I just got caught up in the machinery.  
In my youth I was told by the grown-ups that all generations have wars – hence no surprise!

 

Mark de LA says
Yep, whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional was the point of raising the question. Apparently the question is open still. 

Seth says

Seth says
Well let’s face it, Congress’s ability to arrive at a military decision is simply not up to the task.   Whether that is constitutional or not is kind of beside the point.  Even the War Powers Resolution does not seem to be a practical guide.  It seems that the collective mind power of the country is not up to the task of going into battle … so if we must go into battle … it is for #potus to decide. 

Mark de LA says
So it seems – FDR is the prime example – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infamy_Speech 
(3 months after I was born)

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