View Full Version : National Defense

07-09-2009, 01:31 PM
The Constitution gives our government the plenary power to "provide for the "common Defense." It says nothing about "national security" or "national interests" when addressing Defense. It also does not limit the scope of that Defense to only the states and territories. Thus our international trade routes and embassies are allowed to be Defended. As well, Americans and their property abroad are allowed to be defended as long as such action does not infringe upon the national sovereignty of a foreign power (although they can be protected legally and diplomatically through our embassies). Additionally, Article I Sec 8 allows Congress to perpetually fund the Navy and Militia. In keeping with the charge then to provide for the common defense, our President can and should defend us from international terrorism, crime and piracy using the Navy abroad and the Militia (National Guard) at home. So long as this effort remains a defense, it requires no formal declaration of war. However, since the Constitution says nothing about the Presidents power to go on offense or to invade other sovereign nations…and since such acts would themselves be acts of war…it naturally follows that such aggressive foreign policy actions require a formal declaration of war from our Congress since only Congress can declare a war and thus only Congress can authorize acts of war which would commit us to one.

Once a war is declared, and should the President decide that the job is bigger than the Navy/Militia can handle, then Congress must decide if it is willing to raise an Army/Air Force. Article I Sec 8 only allows an appropriation for such a massive expenditure for only two years. Granted, Congress can renew this appropriation every two years if it so chooses and wisely did so during the cold war. However, Congress should be very careful with this "quasi" perpetual funding for a standing Army/Air Force by remembering the tyranny our founders worried an executive could perpetrate upon us if he had too much constant access to over large amounts of military power and by remembering that such action cuts against the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

Considering then the need for a large quick-ready force should the President need more military strength than the Navy has available, and further considering the warning of our founders about standing Armies and the tyranny they can commit by the hand of the executive, and additionally considering that while the Constitution limits an appropriation for raising Armies to a limit of two years the Militia may be perpetually funded, and finally considering how well the National Guard has defended us for the last 370 years when it was fully trained and funded, I believe that the time has come to return our Military to the constitutional model our founders intended. Given the cost savings of training and equipping National Guard soldiers/airmen, and the dual civil/military uses the Constitution allows the national Guard to conduct in peacetime and war, we could increase our current mission capability by ten-fold over our current strength by fully implementing the constitutional military model outlined in Article I Sec. 8.

Having now outlined the constitutional framework of the National Defense issue, I can speak more directly about what We the People should expect from our Government by way of providing for our common Defense. First, we should expect that the President would energetically yet economically use our Navy and Militia to protect us from international terrorism/piracy and or invasion/insurrection. Second, we should expect that should an overt act of war be committed against us, as was the case when we were attacked by Al Qaeda forces supported by the Taliban Regime from Afghanistan on September 11th 2001, that Congress will fulfill its constitutional obligation to declare war before authorizing offensive retribution or full scale invasions against a foreign sovereign. A declaration of war is a decisive action by the Congress and it requires decisive action by the President. [Aside: Here we are eight years into the Afghanistan (authorization for the use of force…whatever that means) and our victory conditions are growing more indistinct by the month. Historically, due to the gravity of responsibility the individual Congresspersons takes upon themselves by fully declaring war, the United States has won the wars it declares unquestionably. Contrastingly, the wars we don’t declare turn into quagmires beset by "mission creep" and even when we win all the battles there is never any clear victory. The result, all too often, due to "floating" policy goals, is the vainglorious expenditure of our precious blood and treasure.] Third, that Congress will preemptively raise an Army/Air Force from the National Guard to prepare to defend us and to eventually execute offensive wartime operations, should conditions merit such actions, but will not vote for preemptive declarations of war. Forth, that Congress will remember that it stands between us and the tyrannical/inappropriate use of our military by the executive. Fifth, that Congress will only vote a declaration of war after it has fully considered: 1. Whether or not war is justified and is in response to the correct aggressor. 2. The full costs of the war both in lives and resources to be expended. 3. The awful hell about to be unleashed upon the enemy and that such action is both swift and just. Lastly, We the People should expect, at the completion of the war and its assigned congressional objectives, that the President would follow the august example of our beloved George Washington, and return his "sword" to Congress for its keeping and for our Glory, not his own.


RJ Harris

07-09-2009, 01:40 PM
Interesting. I'll be very curious to see how it plays. Certainly it's a gutsy move so far as Lawton and Midwest City are concerned. I honestly expect it'll play better among the soldiers and airmen themselves than among the citizens who depend on them...

A little more clarification on the 'increase mission strength tenfold' might be in order, both to calm the hawks and to highlight that intention.