Here's a letter-to-the-editor in the 04/11/02 New Yorker in response to
the Hendrik Hertzberg editorial that I posted here a while ago. Normally
a liberal (in the US sense), Hertzberg had argued that there was
precedent for US presidential declarations of war (although he didn't
use that term -- he meant there were loopholes).
It's nothing new, as Hendrik Hertzberg points out, for Presidents to
find a way around the provision of the Constitution giving Congress the
power to declare war (The Talk of the Town, September 30th). But
repetition doesn't make it any less wrong. The problem is the same as
that cited by Abraham Lincoln in 1848, when he was a congressman, in a
letter to his law partner: "Kings had always been involving and
impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always,
that the good of the people was the object." This, he wrote, the framers
"understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions." The
view that Presidents had the authority to make the decision to go to
war, he added, "destroys the whole matter, and places our Presidents
where Kings have always stood."
Andy Jacobs, Jr.
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he
will pick himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.
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