Tag: president (page 1 of 3)

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 Kind of out of date.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.

 

How To Stop An Imperial Presidency?

One of the greatest things George Washington did was walk away after his last term as President. There were those who wanted to anoint him king. Others who wanted him President-for-Life. But he gave up the power willingly.

I was pondering this several years ago. I thought about how, in our long history, we’ve had Presidents overstep their bounds. Break the law. Jefferson himself, with the Louisiana Purchase.  Polk and the trumped up Mexican War which expanded our country almost as much as the Purchase– ie California, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, etc. Lincoln taking powers during war that were illegal.

How were they stopped? Did the process work? Or did Hamilton and Jefferson, two very opposite men, sit down and hammer out an agreement, a secret Allegiance, that could be invoked to stop a rogue President?

The very first law, enacted by the very first Congress, is the oath of office for military officers. That’s how serious it was considered. It’s an oath I took at 17, on the Plain at West Point. It’s one I still believe in.

Today, Monday and Tuesday, for President’s Weekend, The Jefferson Allegiance is FREE. Take the time to read a thriller steeped in history and politics. This book was a #2 National Bestseller at Barnes and Noble when it first came out.

Have a great weekend!

 

If only Hamilton and Jefferson had brokered the Jefferson Allegiance to stop an Imperial Presidency

Perhaps the greatest thing George Washington ever did was step away from the Presidency. There were many at the time our country was founded who wanted to make him King. He turned that down. Then they wanted to make him President for Life. But he also turned that down.

He walked away.

Not many people willingly walk away from power.

When I wrote The Jefferson Allegiance several years ago, I did a lot of research on the Founding Fathers and how they viewed politics and government. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton disagreed on many things, but one thing they both had concerns about was a President who ran amok.

At the core of the story is a document that Jefferson and Hamilton broker to place a secret control on the government; specifically the President.

Steeped in history, The Jefferson Allegiance is one of my best reviewed books and hit #2 nationally at Barnes and Noble when it was released. It seems more current than ever before.

 

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