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Posted March 6, 2008
Useful study showing how the US state overrules the American people
Peter Irons, a professor of political science at the University of California-San Diego, depicts the subversion of the American Constitution. Its Framers placed the power to declare war in the hands of Congress alone. But Presidents have usurped this power to serve the interests of the growing American empire, and Congress, Federal judges and generations of Americans have allowed this to happen. Presidents have asserted their right to use military force even against clear declarations by Congress. They have used John Locke¿s notion of the executive prerogative in foreign and military affairs to use military force without legislative sanction. They have tried to justify their military interventions by citing `vital interests¿ rooted in the demands of corporate and financial institutions for access to other nations¿ resources and markets. Irons surveys the Mexican War of 1846, the USA¿s first aggression for empire, the Civil War, the USA¿s 1898 war against Spain, which led to the effective control of Cuba and the acquisition of the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam. He looks at the US intervention in the First World War, citing the great liberal Woodrow Wilson¿s view of absolute presidential power over foreign policy, and he notes that Wilson¿s adviser Elihu Root said, ¿We must have no criticism now¿, not even allowing the usual right of futile protest. Then he examines the attacks on Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq. When Truman committed US troops to war in Korea he violated the UN Charter by ordering military action before the Security Council called for assistance and he violated the UN Participation Act by not getting Congress to approve his action. Similarly, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson never tried to get Congressional approval for their growing intervention in Vietnam. Since 1945, no president has gone to Congress to seek a declaration of war, yet the US state has made wars in every decade and in every case there was enough time for Congress to debate and decide. In 2004, the American people, by a small majority, chose to delegate questions of war and peace to the commander-in-chief rather than to decide for themselves. The country must decide who is to be sovereign - the president or the people?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.