Nuclear weapons and the Constitutioni
whoooo26505 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 21 17:29:02 PST 2006
The problem with the theory of defense is that it does not entail acts of provocation. That's what causes the CIC power to be more unitary than Madison ever considered. For example, Roosevelt's naval war was not authorized by statute and was not really defensive, because U.S. Ships were tracking German subs and giving their position to British air planes dropping depth charges. If the President has the right to put the ships in international water and radio whomever they please, you can forget about the concept of defense. The same with the Gulf of Tonkin. The ships fired upon there were on a spying mission collecting national security information -- all perfectly permissible.
And let's not forget the others. Polk provoked war with Mexico by putting an occupying force on territory Mexico considered its own and waiting for Mexico to shoot first. Once Polk had successfully provoked the shots, he then went to Congress and asked them to recognize that a state of war existed.
Andrew Jackson took Florida with tacit approval from Monroe, but no statutory authorization. McKinley sent troops to China without congressional approval, which was the first time in American history that a president unilaterally committed troops to combat against another sovereign state outside the Western Hemisphere without Congress authorizing it. Roosevelt and Wilson intervened militarily in several Caribbean countries without consulting Congress. Johnson sent 22,000 troops to the Dominican Republic without Congressional approval. Truman sent air and naval forces to Korea without seeking Congressional approval and before the UN recommended such action (of course, the UN recommendation is irrelevant here).
"Barksdale, Yvette" <7barksda at jmls.edu> wrote:
Maybe I am missing something, but is it so clear that the President has unilateral constitutional authority to order preemptive nuclear strikes, without Congressional authorization? My understanding is that these unilateral Presidential uses of force have all been done either 1) in purely defensive circumstances, in which there was no reasonable time to consult Congress (Lincoln civil war example), or 2) have come with some brand of prior Congressional approval (ex. Iraq resolutions), or 3) have been ordered in aid of United States treaty or United Nations obligations (ex. Kosovo, Korean War.), where there has been at least some international authority regulating the use of force.
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Penn State University
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