Monday, June 11, 2007

U.S. war-related political analysis.

(My buddy "Scrilla" posted this political analysis by John Sebastian as a Myspace bulletin. It deserves to be re-posted here, though from their recent voting actions it seems Congress has no intention of halting the war anytime soon.)

With regard to whether or not the U.S. Congress has any constitutional right and responsibility as to the disposition of the military forces of the United States, Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides guidance.

The opening clause of Section 8 says, "The Congress shall have the Power To provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States;"

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 assigns to Congress the Power "To declare War, grant Letters of Marquee and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;" (A letter of marquee is issued by a nation to privateers or mercenaries to act on behalf of that nation for the purpose of retaliating against another nation for committing some wrong against it.)

According to this language, the Pentagon has usurped the Constitutional power of Congress by employing contracted mercenaries. Congress has both the right and responsibility to seek full disclosure regarding the use of armed contractees.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 14 assigns to Congress the Power "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;"

This language requires Congress to define where, when, and why the military forces of the United States are used. This Power does not reside in the Executive branch of the U.S. government.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 assigns to Congress the Power "To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States."

This language assigns to Congress the authority to decide where, when, and why the military forces of the United States are used in the service of the United States. This Power does not reside in the Executive branch of the U.S. Government. The President's limited Constitutional role regarding the disposition of U.S. military forces is defined in Article 2, Section 2 of the Constitution that says, "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;" by Congress.

The President has no authority to order the military forces of the United States into "actual Service". Congress must first define where, when, and why the military forces of the United States will be used. If this authority can only be granted by Congress, this authority can also be denied by Congress. Congress defines the specific goal of war.

The President as "Commander in Chief" is limited to developing the strategy to achieve the specified goal. In effect, the President becomes the highest ranking officer in the United States military and manages the resources provided by Congress to accomplish the goal defined by Congress.

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18 assigns to Congress the Power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Office thereof."

This language assigns to Congress the authority to enact legislation to enforce all clauses of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. This clause also assigns to Congress the authority to enact legislation to effectuate "all other Powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States" in order to conduct the business of the Government of the United States.

In addition, this clause assigns to Congress the authority to enact legislation to oversee and enforce "all other Powers vested by the Constitution, in any Department or Office" in the U.S. Government. There is no exclusion cited for the Office of The President of the United States.

By: John Sebastian

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