Garet Garrett - GaretGarrett.org
garetgarrett.org merch
Instagram
podcast
Amazon Affiliate Store
facebook

A few months later Mr. Truman sent American troops to Europe to join an international army, and did it not only without a law, without even consulting Congress, but challenged the power of Congress to stop him. Congress made all of the necessary sounds of anger and then poulticed its dignity with a resolution saying it was all right for that one time, since anyhow it had been done, but that hereafter it would expect to be consulted.

At that time the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate asked the State Department to set forth in writing what might be called the position of Executive Government. The State Department obligingly responded with a document entitled, "Powers of the President to Send Troops Outside of the United States —Prepared for the use of the joint committee made up of the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on the Armed Forces of the Senate, February 28, 1951."

This document, in the year circa 2950, will be a precious find for any historian who may be trying then to trace the departing footprints of the vanished American Republic. For the information of the United States Senate it said: *

"As this discussion of the respective powers of the President and Congress has made clear, constitutional doctrine has been largely moulded by practical necessities. Use of the congressional power to declare war, for example, has fallen into abeyance because wars are no longer declared in advance."

Caesar might have said it to the Roman Senate. If constitutional doctrine is moulded by necessity, what is a written Constitution for?

Thus an argument that seemed at first to rest upon puerile reasoning turned out to be deep and cunning.

The immediate use of it was to defend the unconstitutional Korean precedent, namely, the declaration of war as an act of the President's own will. Yet it was not invented for that purpose alone. It stands as a forecast of executive intentions, a manifestation of the executive mind, a mortal challenge to the parliamentary principle.

The question is: "Whose hand shall control the instrument of war?"

It is late to ask. It may be too late, for when the hand of the Republic begins to relax another hand is already putting itself forth.

* Congressional Record, March 20, 1951, p. 2745.

RISE OF EMPIRE: THE ANCIENT DESIGN: II

RISE OF EMPIRE: THE ANCIENT DESIGN: III

RISE OF EMPIRE: THE ANCIENT DESIGN: II