Although Health Care and Immigration are currently receiving the bulk of the media coverage—and rightfully so—I am gravely concerned about our National Security, as well. Donald Trump didn’t create the current situation; however, under his Regime, he can only make it worse! I am referring to the informal, even frivolous manner in which America wages war today, and Congress has apparently ceded that responsibility, over past decades, to the Executive Branch.
Only Congress is authorized to Declare War, under the U. S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8), and that Authority cannot be delegated. Beginning with Vietnam, our wars have been entered into in a most informal manner, and generally for spurious reasons. When we send men, and now women, to War, it should only be when America or its allies are in danger, when all else has been tried, and with the complete support of the American People!
I was one of those pawns who went to Vietnam, in the 1960s, for dubious participation in someone else’s civil war. It began when 3,500 Marines were deployed in 1965, and it grew to a massive army of 500,000 Americans, at its highest point. And, for every infantry “Grunt”, there were four (like me) who were not in the actual fight.
Perhaps, worst of all, it was an Open-Ended War, with no means of knowing if and when our side won or lost. We didn’t win! As North Vietnamese Special Envoy, Le Duc Tho, told Henry Kissinger, after the Paris Peace Talks in 1973: “You won the battles, but you lost the War!”
Then, in 2001 why did President George W. Bush send an initial 35,000 American troops into Afghanistan, assumedly to kill or capture one man—Osama bin Laden? As usual, too large a force is counter-productive. And, the extra men did, in fact, get into trouble!
Bush also allowed the (Dick) Cheney-(Donald) Rumsfeld Cabal to fabricate the need to invade Iraq in 2003. “Rummy” and Company forced the Army Chief-of-Staff, General Eric Shinseki, to retire. Then, they overruled the Generals, by forcing an inconsistent “Battle Plan”, to wage war on the cheap. In that situation, politics trumped protocol and experience, and this sets the stage for the, perhaps even more dangerous Donald Trump Regime.
The failed raid, in Yemen on January 29, which took the life of one Navy SEAL (husband and father), and caused the deaths of numerous Yemenis, was ordered and carried-out prematurely, and with insufficient Intelligence. So far, Trump has shown a preference for loyalty, over experience and competence.
In fact, Donald Trump has rebuked our Intelligence Community on numerous occasions. And more recently, he appointed Steve Bannon, his Chief Political Strategist, as a permanent member of the National Security Council. In essence, Donald Trumps appears to be politicizing National Security–and that can be dangerous!
Given the current insane manner in which the U. S. wages War, Congress must, at a minimum: re-affirm its sole discretion to Declare War; formalize the process through an actual Declaration of War; require the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of Defense to consult with both Houses of Congress, to review a fully drawn-up Battle Plan, before a declaration is even voted on; and lastly re-enact the Military Draft—without any deferments, whatsoever—as a means for the entire Nation to share in the Burden of War, including the children of Congress, as well as those of all of America!
NOTE: A prior blog post, “Re-Enact the Military Draft!”, provides a more detailed explanation of how the Draft might serve to deter Congress from declaring questionable Wars of Convenience, and to insure the engagement of the American People.