Civil Discourse Now

Where the far left and far right overlap for fun and enlightenment

The Constitution and Declarations of War

78 years is the longest the U.S. has not been at war. The Constitution states: “The Congress shall have Power [] To declare War.” [FN1] Our last war ended on 9/2/45. [FN2] Wars and non-wars are bloody messes, but wars are cumbersome, as the Framers intended. 1/7

On 6/29/1787, James Madison said at The Constitutional Convention: “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.” [FN3] Leaders of our gov’t & our military like non-wars. Non-wars have less oversight & fewer restrictions. 2/7

“War” has a beginning. The U.S. is a signatory to treaties that seek to regulate the conduct of war. [FN4] Every war the U.S. has fought has come to an end. [FN5] Our “non-wars” usually have a clear start, but seem never to end. We can help vets. 2: Russia’s invasion of 3/7

Ukraine has shown that a lot of cheap little drones can sink a big, expensive ship. U.S. aircraft carriers cost billions and are highly vulnerable. If we cut the defense in half, we can help out veterans and others in poverty. And go back to declaring wars. 4/7

Footnotes: FN1. Const. Art. I, sec. 8. FN2. Japan Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu and Gen Yoshijiru Umezu, signed “Instrument of Surrender,” on the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. Nat’l Archives, Milestone Documents, Surrender of Japan. 5/7

Footnotes: FN3. Madison Debates, June 29, Avalon Project. FN4. Int’l Committee of the Red Cross, “The Geneva Conventions and Their Commentaries.” 6/7

Footnotes: FN5. War of 1812, Treaty of Ghent; Mexican-American War, Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo; Spanish-American War, Treaty of Paris; WWI, Treaty of Versailles; WWII, Paris Peace Treaties. 7/7

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