Tenth Amendment Center
March 25, 2011
With military action taking place in Libya right now, the essential question must be asked: Is it even Constitutional? For those of you who don’t want to read more than a sentence or two, here’s the short answer. Absolutely not.
The ninth and tenth amendments, while they didn’t add anything new, defined the Constitution. In short, they tell us that the federal government is only authorized to exercise those powers delegated to it in the Constitution…and nothing more. Everything else is either prohibited or retained by the states or people themselves.
What does this have to do with Libya? Well, whenever the federal government does anything, the first question should always be, “where in the Constitution is the authority to do this?” What follows here is an answer regarding American bombs being dropped on Libya.
Ever since the Korean War, Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution has been regularly cited as justification for the President to act with a seemingly free reign in the realm of foreign policy – including the initiation of foreign wars. But, it is Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that lists the power to declare war, and this power is placed solely in the hands of Congress.
Article II, Section 2, on the other hand, refers to the President as the “commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States.” What the founders meant by this clause was that once war was declared, it would then be the responsibility of the President, as the commander-in-chief, to direct the war.
Alexander Hamilton clarified this when he said that the President, while lacking the power to declare war, would have “the direction of war when authorized.”
Thomas Jefferson reaffirmed this quite eloquently when, in 1801, he said that, as President, he was “unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense.”
In Federalist #69, Alexander Hamilton explained that the President’s authority:
“would be nominally the same with that of the King of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first general and admiral of the confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war, and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies; all which by the constitution under consideration would appertain to the legislature.”
James Madison warned us that the power of declaring war must be kept away from the executive branch when he wrote to Thomas Jefferson:
“The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the legislature.”
WORDS HAVE MEANING
If, like any legal document, the words of the Constitution mean today just what they meant the moment it was signed, we must first look for the 18th Century meaning of the words used. Here’s a few common 18th-century definitions of the important words:
War: The exercise of violence against withstanders under a foreign command.
Declare: Expressing something before it is promised, decreed, or acted upon.
Invade: To attack a country; to make a hostile entrance
What does this all mean? Unless the country is being invaded, if congress does not declare war against another country, the president is constitutionally barred from waging it, no matter how much he desires to do so. Pre-emptive strikes and undeclared offensive military expeditions are not powers delegated to the federal government in the Constitution, and are, therefore, unlawful.
HOW IT APPLIES TODAY
Here’s the quick overview of how this all plays out:
In Constitutional terms, the United States is currently at war with Libya.
Libya is not invading the United States, nor has it threatened to do so.
Congress has not declared war. Barack Obama did.
Some would claim, and news articles are already reporting on it, that the 1973 war powers resolution authorizes the President to start a war as long as it’s reported to Congress within 48 hours. Then, Congress would have 60 days to authorize the action, or extend it.
The only question you should have to ask for this would be – “where in the Constitution is congress given the authority to change the constitution by resolution?”
It doesn’t. And that resolution, in and of itself, is a Constitutional violation. More on that in a future article, of course.
James Madison had something to say about such a plan when he wrote:
“The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” [emphasis added]
War Powers resolution or no war powers resolution – without a Congressional declaration, the president is not authorized to start an offensive military campaign. Period.
The bottom line? By using US Military to begin hostilities with a foreign nation without a Congressional declaration of war, Barack Obama has committed a serious violation of the Constitution. While he certainly is not the first to do so in regards to war powers, it’s high time that he becomes the last.
Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter – @michaelboldin – and visit his personal blog – www.michaelboldin.com
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Friday, March 04, 2011
Former CIA director plays dumb on Operation Mockingbird and admitted state-backed media propaganda.
March 3, 2011
Add one more to the bold confrontations conducted by We Are Change during the 2011 CPAC conference that include encounters with former VP Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
WeAreChange.org founder Luke Rudkowski confronts James Woolsey, former CIA Director, PNAC signatory, member the CFR and World Affairs Council, about the CIA’s historically established programs to control and influence the media.
Woolsey is asked about a statement from William Colby, CIA director from 1973-1976, who said, “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” Woolsey denied the truth behind the statement, making reference to Colby’s untimely death by boating accident (though he didn’t die until 1996).
Moreover, Woolsey denied any knowledge of Operation Mockingbird, telling We Are Change that no such program existed ‘the way you described it.’ In the end of the encounter, Woolsey doesn’t deny the CIA’s influence over the media altogether, but deflects, claiming no policy of involvement has existed ‘for decades.’
Rudkowski writes, “If the CIA had control over media companies decades ago what do you think there role is now during the communication revolution?”
Documentation and detail over aspects of Operation Mockingbird exist in the following books, noted on Wikipedia, including Deborah Davis’ 1979 book, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and her Washington Post Empire, E. Howard Hunt’s 2007 memoir American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate and Beyond, and Hugh Wilford’s 2008 The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America. Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, famous for his investigation of the Watergate burglaries, also covers CIA & media, as some of his quotes below demonstrate.
“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”
–William Colby, former CIA Director, cited by Dave Mcgowan, Derailing Democracy
“You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month.”
–CIA operative, quoted in Katherine the Great, by Deborah Davis
“There is quite an incredible spread of relationships. You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are [Central Intelligence] Agency people at the management level.”
–William B. Bader, former CIA intelligence officer, briefing members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein
“The Agency’s relationship with [The New York] Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials. [It was] general Times policy … to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.”
–The CIA and the Media, by Carl Bernstein
“For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government…. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.”
–former President Harry Truman, 22 December 1963, one month after the JFK assassination, op-ed section of the Washington Post, early edition