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Taking Texas And The Nation Back

The President We Were Warned About

Posted by nytexan on July 18, 2007

There’s something to be said, maybe a lot, about the wisdom of our founding fathers. Maybe their wisdom came from their experience with King George (theirs not ours) or maybe it came from being caught up in the age of enlightenment, when people actually thought about events and consequences. Needless to say, in all the dust books that we don’t bother reading, we were clearly warned about our current day King George.

SF Chronicle: Robert Scheer

GEORGE W. Bush is the imperial president that James Madison and other founders of this great republic warned us about. He lied the nation into precisely the “foreign entanglements” that George Washington feared would destroy our experiment in representative government, and he has championed a spurious notion of security over individual liberty, thus eschewing the alarms of Thomas Jefferson as to the deprivation of the inalienable rights of free citizens. But most important, he has used the sledgehammer of war to obliterate the separation of powers that James Madison enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

With the “war on terror,” Bush has asserted the right of the president to wage war anywhere and for any length of time, at his whim, because the “terrorists” will always provide a convenient shadowy target. Just the “continual warfare” that Madison warned of in justifying the primary role of Congress in initiating and continuing to finance a war — the very issue now at stake in Bush’s battle with Congress.

In his “Political Observations,” written years after he had served as fourth president of the United States, Madison went on to underscore the dangers of an imperial presidency bloated by war fever. “In war,” Madison wrote in 1795, at a time when the young republic still faced its share of dangerous enemies, “the discretionary power of the executive is extended … and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.”

How remarkably prescient of Madison to anticipate the specter of our current King George, who imperiously is undermining Congress’ attempts to end the Iraq war. When the prime author of the U.S. Constitution explained why that document grants Congress — not the president — the exclusive power to declare and fund wars, Madison wrote that “The delegation of such powers [to the president] would have struck, not only at the fabric of our Constitution, but at the foundation of all well organized and well checked governments.”

Because “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare,” Madison urged that the constitutional separation of powers he had codified be respected. “The Constitution expressly and exclusively vests in the Legislature the power of declaring a state of war … the power of raising armies,” he wrote. “The separation of the power of raising armies from the power of commanding them is intended to prevent the raising of armies for the sake of commanding them.”

That last sentence perfectly describes the threat of what President Dwight Eisenhower would describe 165 years later as the “military-industrial complex,” a permanent war economy feeding off a permanent state of insecurity. The collapse of the Soviet Union deprived the military profiteers and their cheerleaders in the government of a raison d’être for the enormous war economy supposedly created in response to it.

Fortunately for them, Bush found in the 9/11 attack an excuse to make war even more profitable and longer lasting. The Iraq war, which the president’s 9/11 commission concluded never had anything to do with the terrorist assault, nonetheless has transferred many hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars into the military economy. And when Congress seeks to exercise its power to control the budget, this president asserts that this will not govern his conduct of the war.

There never was a congressional declaration of war to cover the invasion of Iraq. Instead, President Bush acted under his claimed power as commander in chief, which the Supreme Court has held does allow him to respond to a “state of war” against the United States. That proviso was clearly a reference to surprise attacks or sudden emergencies.

The problem is that the “state of war” in question here was an al Qaeda attack on the United States that had nothing whatsoever to do with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Perhaps, to spare Congress the embarrassment of formally declaring war against a nation that had not attacked America, Bush settled for a loosely worded resolution supporting his use of military power, if Iraq failed to comply with U.N. mandates. This was justified by the White House as a means of strengthening the United Nations in holding Iraq accountable for its weapons of mass destruction arsenal, but as most of the world looked on in dismay, Bush invaded Iraq after U.N. inspectors on the ground discovered that Iraq had no WMD.

Bush betrayed Congress, which in turn betrayed the American people — just as Madison feared when he wrote: “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other.”

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6 Responses to “The President We Were Warned About”

  1. great minds think a like..yep
    and by the way i am pleased as punch to announce that our code for read more here..is fixed. we have a swell post by cycloptichorn on Excutive priviledge. And now whether or a tome or a poem – the blog will load faster. Yeah we schmooze.

    i was up all night watching c span. man o man.

    i do have hope though. And the education bill today is downright democratic. Brought tears to my eyes. Let the MSM spin WE use the internet and know the truth. We know who filabustered both the Webb amendment and The Levin/Reed and in the Dead of night..the Dems and Snow even were telling it like it is. amazing. It is gonna take time though, and that sucks because each day brings more death. Anyhow. Reid pulled the bill, yes we wanted him to let the filabuster go on till the cows came home, but he is holding the power of the purse.and as SNOW even said at 3 am. The defense Auth never gets passed until October..our King George may meet reality yet.

    of course weeping joe lierman was catastrophizing, and McPain thumping his chest. But Harkin quietly reminded them – we left Vietnam and the world did not end. And WE do remember Vietnam.

    The dems are saying we need to ajust, to the REAL threat. It all made lots of sense..Even Cantwell said, maybe the Iraqi gov is in a stalemate because the USA cobbled constitution gave them only 17 of their 80 oil fields for Nationalizing.

    There is some truth telling going on – the MSM will not report it, worse and even criminally they distort it vs. giving the people the truth. Same shit, diff. day eh ?

  2. nytexan said

    ProudP:
    I watched most of the debate and I thought Mary Landrieu of Louisianan, was so on point I had to send her an e-mail. She put up Osama’s wanted poster and asked “remember him let me read his description” Priceless. I also liked that she jumped on the repukes for calling the debate political theater.

    Bravo Olympia Snowe. I’m sure her yes voted pissed off a few people.

    LIEberam is just a putz. Enough said. I’m sure he was crushed that his gal Susan Collins voted with the democrats.

    McCain just need to jump under his campaign bus. He can not expect to gain any ground by continuing to support Bush and his failed policy

    BTW:I will check out your new post.

  3. jeremiasx said

    Federalist No. 69…check it out when you get a chance. More of the same type of reasoning for a limited executive, even in war.

  4. the right of the president to wage war anywhere and for any length of time, at his whim

    Isn’t that what America has done since the Undeclared Naval War with France in 1798.

    There has been battles and wars in almost every decade since then, and almost always away from American soil. Almost every President has interfered in affairs of other states and sovereign nation.

    Everytime America has done that, she has left behind people who hated America and the Americans. A hatred that is passed on down the generations.

    The way I see it, one President’s mistake has influenced the next to make another, in a domino like effect. If not, did not stop the next to start a new series of mistakes. It is now a runaway locomotive.

    The dollar hegemony, the fiat currency and the trade deficit has turned the momentum to a perpetual self destruction. No one coming into the White House, doesn’t matter if they are republicans or democrats, can step off. It is no longer an option.

    What was once done behind closed doors, through technology is now transparent to the public in almost real time. Less people are getting fooled for lesser time, if non-American, that is.

    Probably Presidents of previous terms did not account for the development of the so called third world and the backward nations. These nations have progressed, including in modern warfare. And with progress they are less forgiving.

    It is getting harder and harder to make mistakes and get away with it. GW Bush is the current one, only making similar ‘mistakes’ to his predecessors and struggling to hide them.

    Soon the Presidents, will have no options but to use their power to ignore or disregard legislation or even the constitution, for their own survival. That will be the end of America, as known and created by the founding fathers.

    [This is just my take on this as an outsider; I am another on the blame Bush bandwagon, but when I read back the history, I believe it all started ages ago. If I am wrong, please ignore it.]

  5. nytexan said

    LittleIndian:
    You are correct. The US as been in either a war or a conflict since the beginning. However, there have been procedures that where clearly followed through out. Johnson and Nixon both tried to pull some of these stunts, but those Congress’ put a slot to it.

    Today’s Congress (108-110) fails to completely enforce the Constitution if at all. And the statements from some about branch powers, makes you have wonder if they even know the Constitutions full impact and authority and their role in it.

    All Presidents will push the envelope but it is the powers and authority of the other branches to push back. That’s whats lacking here.

  6. nytexan said

    Jeremiasx:
    Thanks for the info I’ll check it out.

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