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Saturday, September 29, 2007

"Trust Us"

"Wartime economist" and libertarian David Henderson:

War and the Constitution, by David R. Henderson: ...The U.S. Constitution is there to protect our rights, to tell the government the only things it can do. If the federal government does not have a specific power granted to it within the Constitution, then it does not have that power. Period. ...

[O]ur rights... [are also protected by] the carefully thought-out division of powers within the U.S. Constitution. Why such a division of powers? Because no one is to be trusted with too much power. Incidentally, when Alberto Gonzales gave a talk at the Naval Postgraduate School in 2002 defending many of President Bush's unconstitutional actions, a colleague and I challenged him afterward. He tried to reassure us, saying, "Condi and others and I are looking out for how the president will play in history. We don't want him to look like some monster who destroyed our freedom. Trust us." I answered, "The Constitution is not based on trust, but on distrust."

One of the most important things the government does is engage in war. For that reason, the Constitution gives the power to declare war solely to Congress. ...

Consider why this matters. Think back to all the discussion before the U.S. government invaded Iraq in March 2003. One of the biggest issues was whether, and to what extent, Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. We now know that he didn't have such weapons – even many of Bush's defenders will admit his error. We don't even need to get into the issue of whether Bush was lying. Even if we assume the best – that Bush was saying what he thought to be true – the point is that we could have had a much better discussion of the issue if Bush had followed the Constitution. If Congress had actually decided to vote on whether or not to declare war on Iraq, they would have had a debate. If they had had a debate, there would have been multiple sources of information about the weapons of mass destruction. But by violating his oath to uphold the Constitution, Bush made sure that there wasn't an extensive debate. ...

    Posted by on Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 01:35 AM in Economics, Iraq and Afghanistan, Politics | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (24)


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