Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people.
James Madison, “Political Observations” (1795-04-20); also in Letters and Other Writings of James Madison (1865), Vol. IV, p. 491-492
This sort of attack on growing majorities of Republicans (“and quite a few Democrats, too”!) along with “the mainstream” for being skeptical about abuse of state power is a sure sign that something like sanity may be returning to foreign policy and security concerns. No wonder neo-cons and interventionists are so irritable.
As I’ve noted yesterday in response to a piece by the Washington Post’s right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin, the geniuses behind Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and more have poisoned public opinion not because most citizens are Hate America Firsters but because we’re not stupid. A decade-plus of wasted lives, money, and resources is no way to endear you to the Great Boob Public. The same goes for overkill on things ranging from presidential kill lists to secret and ubiquitous trapping of phone call records and drone strikes on American citizens.
[Rand] Paul’s foreign policy vision will focus less on the “blowback” his father constantly warns about, and more on the “process” of restoring congressional participation in the constitutional balance of power over military affairs. Instead of getting to the immediate “no” on interventionism abroad, whether in Mali or Syria or Iran, this focus on congressional oversight allows Paul to work more slowly toward the same likely conclusion, while allowing for coalition building and stressing a certain epistemological humility.
Non-interventionism and favoring military restraint are not isolationist. We want our elected representatives on record as approving or not approving the use of military force, whether that force is “kinetic action” or the use of drones or a full blown invasion.
[The Congress shall have Power] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
The Constitution grants Congress the sole power to declare war. Congress has declared war on 11 occasions, including its first declaration of war with Great Britain in 1812. Congress approved its last formal declaration of war during World War II. Since that time it has agreed to resolutions authorizing the use of military force and continues to shape U.S. military policy through appropriations and oversight.
Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT), learn what Members of Congress pay in taxes, and prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading. Oh, and pay “public servants” what they are worth.