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How The United States Declares War

For the United State to formally go to war requires a joint resolution of both Congresses and then executed by the President.

The last time this happened 5 June 1942, when the United States declared war on Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania.

In total, we’ve declared war only 11 times. The first was on 17 June 1812 when we declared was against Great Britain.

Since then we’ve declared war:

On Mexico. 12 May 1846

On Spain. 25 April 1898

On Germany. 6 April 1917

On Austria-Hungary. 7 Dec 1917

On Japan. 8 Dec 1941

On Germany. 11 Dec 1941

On Italy. 11 Dec 1941

On Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. 4 June 1942

And that, folks is it. Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq, all of it: not technically wars.

Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution declares that “Congress shall have the power to declare War”. However, it’s not designated exactly how Congress does that. In fact, it’s kind of buried in there. Clause 8 is “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their Respective Writings and Discoveries.” Which means my copyright comes before Clause 11: “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.” What letters of Marque and Reprisal mean is we can hire pirates to attack our enemies. So. Yeah. Kind of out of date. But it’s still there.

Technically, this has been adjusted over the years to allow Congress to “authorize” us going to war, rather than declaring it.

The current situation is somewhat confusing. Technically, the war in Iraq ended on 28 Dec 2014. Except we still have troops in the region. Some dying.

The war in Afghanistan ended even earlier on 15 December 2011. Really? Someone didn’t send out the notice.

The “War on Terror” doesn’t exist. Legally.

We are currently conducting military actions in six countries: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and let’s add Syria to that list. The authorization from Congress for us to be doing that is hazy at best. The definitions of our actions there is largely undefined. We have SOF, Special Operations Forces, in 134 countries, give or take, which can range (from personal experience where I was the highest ranking military commander on the ground in a foreign country) from a single A-Team to a heck of a lot more. What those troops are doing is teaching other people to fight a war on the side we desire. There are also SOF missions such as Direct Action and Strategic Recon.

The biggest problem we have is there is no specific end game. As someone who has spent a large percentage of his life engaged in preparing for and executing “war”, one of the first things I was taught is that there must be a specific strategic objective in a military campaign. “Stopping terror” is not an objective.

As contained in an unclassified CIA document, the definition of victory in the War on Terror is:

Victory against terrorism will not occur as a single, defining moment. It will not be marked by the likes of the surrender ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri that ended World War II. However, through the sustained effort to compress the scope and capability of terrorist organizations, isolate them regionally, and destroy them within state borders, the United States and its friends and allies will secure a world in which our children can live free from fear and where the threat of terrorist attacks does not define our daily lives.

Victory, therefore, will be secured only as long as the United States and the international community maintain their vigilance and work tirelessly to prevent terrorists from inflicting horrors like those of September 11, 2001.

Unfortunately that vague goal can’t be won by force of arms. A thing called history informs us of that. If, in our hubris, we believe we can do something that has never been done before, that is why it’s called hubris.

We do indeed live in interesting times.

 

On leadership and respect

Respect must automatically be given and it must be earned.

I saw a question on Quora this morning and it got me thinking about my time in the Army.

The key is that this line about respect goes in two different directions. A leader must give those he/she commands respect upon assuming the position. And then, the leader must earn their respect. A leader never assumes they automatically get respect as a person—the position they assume has respect built in to the institution, but never personal respect and the leader must earn that institutional respect or else lose it.

I found in the Infantry and Special Forces that I was never let down when I automatically gave respect to my soldiers upon assuming command of a unit. My mantra was: You’ve got my respect; all you can do is lose it.

I never said anything about getting their respect. I just had to earn it.

I took over a Scout Platoon that was reputed to be a bunch of losers and had just failed a major test. I noted something during the sign over of equipment. The outgoing platoon leader was hard on the men—he wanted to charge them immediately for every missing widget and doohickey (dohickey’s are important; they are what you use to pound on the widget– every mech infantry guy knows just get a bigger hammer and you can fix it!).

After we signed everything over and he departed, I brought everyone in, tore up the charge sheets and told everyone just make sure the gear was there tomorrow. And it was. I eventually learned they had deliberately failed that test because they hated being treated like children by the outgoing platoon leader.

Leaders always ate last in the chow line. Always. Leaders were the last out of the platoon CP. Leaders were the last out of the motor pool. Leaders got under their APC and broke track. Leaders signed out an M60 for the ruck march and carried more in their pack than anyone in their platoon.

Leaders serve their followers, not the other way around.

Leaders have to listen. When we returned to garrison from my first deployment in Special Forces, I learned something new. In the Infantry I cleaned my weapons. As I started to take apart my rifle, my team sergeant stopped me and told me to give it to the weapons sergeant. I initially didn’t want to—I felt my weapon was my responsibility and he shouldn’t have to take care of my gear. My team sergeant pointed out that it was his expertise. And that I had to respect his expertise. What the two of us needed to do was our responsibility: the After Action Report. Updating SOPs. Analyzing how we had led the team.

I loved how when we were in Isolation preparing for a mission, we could just portion out the mission to the experts. A direct action demo mission? The two engineer sergeants had to figure out how to blow up the target. My team sergeant figured out infiltration and exfiltration. Medics their thing. Commo their thing. Weapons their thing. Intel sergeant gathered the intel. I listened. I learned. But I also had to make the ultimate decisions.

The leader is always responsible. Always.

So. Anyway. Some Sunday morning thoughts.

I am well guarded here at my desk by my two vicious attack dogs, well-camouflaged in their new defensive positions my wife bought the other day.

Why We Need To Fear A “Reichstag Fire” also known as a “false flag attack.”

Except it won’t be “false”.

In 1999, bombs blew up 3 apartment complexes in three different Russian cities, killing 293 people and wounding over a thousand. Similar devices were used in all bombings. A fourth, similar bomb was found and defused before it could explode. Local police arrested three FSB (the new KGB) officers for planting this last bomb.

Despite that arrest, Prime Minister Vladimar Putin, who had been elected to that office, blamed these attacks on the Caucasus Islamic Institute and used them to start the Second Chechen War. More importantly, he used these acts of terror to leverage his way into the Presidency a few months later and pass stringent laws giving him control over the populace he has never released since.

Calls for investigations were made by the Russian Parliament, of course. These were not supported by the government, which was now Putin’s controlling party. Two key legislators who pushed for investigations were later assassinated.

It is widely believe the FSB did all the bombing on Putin’s orders.

Thus we now have Putin. The man who our current President praises.

On 27 February 1933, the German parliament building, the Reichstag burned.

The German Chancellor, who was elected, was named Adolf Hitler. Arriving at the fire, he immediately proclaimed it the work of Communists. Without any proof. Hitler called it “a sign from God” that Communists were to be exterminated. The next day Hitler got President Hindenburg to sign Article 48, the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended most civil liberties in Germany. No more habeus corpus, no freedom of the press, no right of free association or protest, and tapping of all mail and phone. Any publications not deemed friendly to the Nazi regime were banned.

At the time of the fire, the Nazi party had roughly 33% of the vote. By suppressing Communists, they were able to increase that to 44%. Still not a majority, but enough.

By 27 March, just a month later, the Enabling Act gave Hitler the right to “rule by decree”. Hindenburg was out and Hitler was dictator. Democracy was over in Germany in just a month. We all know the results and what it took to stop this.

Historians disagree who was behind the fire. Recent evidence supports the claim that the Nazis set the fire themselves and used it to leverage Hitler into power when the majority of the country was against them and Hitler. But everyone in Germany paid the price. As well as tens of millions of others.

The United States currently has a President who was elected by a minority of the population. His rule is growing weaker by the day. He is surrounded by people whose loyalty is only to themselves and their positions and their power. His party is suppressing all attempts to investigate him for his outright lies and ties to Russia and Putin.

We know for a fact that Putin had Russia interfere in our election. We know for a fact that the current administration has extensive ties to Russia and to Russian money. Something which they have lied under oath about.

Why do we not believe we will experience our own False Flag/Reichstag/exploding apartment building moment?

However, I submit, whatever will happen will be most real. The attack will be devastating. It will bring outrage. It will most likely be blamed on “Islamic Terrorists”. And here’s the thing—it most likely will be conducted by them.

But what we need to remember is that the terrorists on Nine-Eleven had success because they were bankrolled by Bin Laden. I submit that Putin, the richest man in the world, through numerous cut outs, is in the process, or already has, bankrolled ISIS, Chechen and other terrorist organizations, who don’t care where the money is coming from, and at least one, if not more attacks are well into the planning stage against the United States. In fact, don’t be surprised if Russia is also attacked, as Putin needs to “regrip” his control over his people.

Think of the outrage a large terrorist attack will have here? President Bush, under whose watch Nine-Eleven occurred, wasn’t blamed for the attack. His popularity rating went to over 90%. He was able get the Patriot Act passed. Start a war against a country that had nothing to do with the attack.

This is history. History repeats itself.

It can happen here. It will happen here.

Unless we are vigilant and act now while we still have a democracy to right our course. And when it does happen, to not fall into the trap of outrage that will destroy our country and our way of life.

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