Cheney, Donít Let George W. Bush Kill Americaís Youth
the October 5 Vice Presidential debate, you made the following statement:
"There is no more important responsibility for a president
of the United States than his role as commander in chief and the
obligation that he undertakes on behalf of all of us to decide when
to send our young men and women to war." This statement was
not criticized by your opponent and probably did not disturb most
viewers, but it is chilling nonetheless.
anything is axiomatic in American government, it is that executive
war-making is an oxymoron. Our founding fathers were acutely apprehensive
about presidential power, especially when it came to martial action;
they did not want their sons deployed in lethal interventions by
one man. They therefore wisely and humanely vested this monumental
authority in Congress.
Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist No. 69:
President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the
United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally
the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance
much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme
command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first
General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British
king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating
of fleets and armies, all which, by the Constitution under consideration,
would appertain to the legislature."
we know, that Constitution under consideration was ratified, and
with it legislative supremacy over war-making. The first president
from your party appreciated this:
provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress,
was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. 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, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive
of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution
that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression
upon us." (Abraham Lincoln to William H. Herndon, February
twentieth century trend for presidents to usurp congressional prerogative
in war-making has inflicted more than constitutional damage, Secretary
Cheney. It has killed tens of thousands of Americans. To give but
one example, over fifty thousand Americans died in Korea due to
President Trumanís illegal unilateral deployment. This is the consequence
of scrapping the rule of law.
a young man of twenty-one, I admit a vested interest in who decides
whether America goes to war, but I believe every American has a
stake in this issue. You identify yourself as a conservative, Secretary
Cheney, as someone who defends American values and the Constitution
that incarnates them. A fundamental American value is that we live
in a republic and not a monarchy. It is therefore un-American and
indeed anti-American for the President of the United States to behave
like a monarch. To not only tolerate but approve of a war-making
president is a betrayal of our revolutionary heritage and an insult
to the Americans who gave everything to achieve our independence
from a monarchís despotism.
I ask you, Secretary Cheney: In the event that you and George W.
Bush win this election, please fulfill the conservative creed you
affirm and demand your President do the same. Please donít let George
W. Bush kill Americaís youth.
Kantor lives in Boynton Beach, Florida.