Thursday, June 14, 2007

It is about the war, and about an oath

Article I, Section 8, of the US Constitution:
"The Congress shall have power . . .
To declare war, . . . ."

Article VI, third clause, US Constitution:
"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several state legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several states, shall be bound by oath or affirmation, to support this Constitution;. . . ."

On October 3, 2002, a congressional hearing was held on a resolution to grant the President discretion in deciding whether to engage Iraq in a war. That day, Representative Ron Paul of Texas introduced a motion to declare war on Iraq. He said he would not support his own motion, but demanded that his colleagues follow their Constitutional duties. If they wanted war, Congress would have to declare it.

Representative Henry Hyde of Illinois, responded as follows:

"There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time. Declaration of war is one of them. There are things no longer relevant to a modern society. Why declare war if you don't have to? We are saying to the President, use your judgment. So, to demand that we declare war is to strengthen something to death. You have got a hammerlock on this situation, and it is not called for. Inappropriate, anachronistic, it isn't done anymore."

Congressman Hyde publicly swore the required oath of office to support the Constitution. He also publicly called a Constitutional requirement "inappropriate" and "anachronistic." In other words, he is a public liar. 77 Senators and 295 Representatives followed the same path.

Rep. Hyde did not understand the reason for placing the declaration powers in the hands of Congress. It was to provide for deliberation over the grave issue of going to war. It was wisdom to prevent the Executive from having the discretion, or "exercising his judgment" on matters of committing the country to war. Such power was too devastating to place in the hands of one man, even by delegation. Four and a half years later, we see the fruits of delegating that "judgment".

We have been sleeping too long. Have we come to agree with Henry Hyde that the Constitution is anachronistic and inappropriate? If so, let us be done with pretence and come to grips with what has replaced it: assignment of authority from the pork peddlers to the whim of the power mongers. If that is what "we the people" want, then we should at least be honest about it. People have managed before under corrupt and oppressive governments. Life goes on. But to believe as Rep. Hyde does is to acknowledge that the moral authority of our country has been lost. When people break their covenant, they lose their way and are ensnared by all sorts of troubles. (See the entire book of Judges for example).

This presidential election really is all about the war. So many other things are intertwined, but the fundamental issue is this: shall we follow the rule of law as set out in our own national covenant, the Constitution, or shall we accept a democratically acclaimed dictator? (Under Hyde's view, whoever is elected will essentially be a dictator, even if we have agreed to give him--or her-- the power). When boiled down to that question, there is only one candidate that even understands the issue:

Ron Paul. Elect him for President.


Lauren said...

Another irony is unbearable: Hyde advocates an unConstitutional delegation of authority.

Tyranny is a concession to lassitude.

Ruben said...

Good stuff. If an oath is just a formality, then the real point is to do the job. Too bad that we now don't know what the job is, either.

Ryan S. said...

"There are things in the Constitution that have been overtaken by events, by time."

Apparently, the Constitution was declared unconstitutional by a 9th Federal Circuit ruling. Seriously, we no longer enjoy the protections of the 4th Amendment after the passage of the Patriot Act. The Tenth Amendment is a hollow platitude and the U.S. Government is thoroughly bottomed on corruption and subversion of our most basic freedoms. We no longer have constitutionally-limited government, but meddlesome intrusive arbitrary and capricious one that subverts the very law it is tasked with upholding.