With the daily threat of further U.S. intervention in Serbian affairs; with other strange and poorly defined foreign adventures continuing with few questions, now that America's Impeachment nightmare is finally over; we return for a more tightly focused review of one facet of our January topic.
During the recent Impeachment sideshow, we heard considerable bombast, both in the House and Senate--and among all factions--suggesting a passionate concern with Constitutional duty, perjury and oaths of office. After a year of dueling salvos of slogan--canting shibboleths of a feigned virtue--as to whether or not "white lies" or hair splitting under oath--to cover up a dalliance, which most certainly should have been kept private--constituted an impeachable offense; the public is pretty well desensitized to political corruption. If the House leadership had set out to create a climate where the President could get by with almost anything, they could not have done a more effective job.
Having struck out--and properly so--in a major effort to remove the President for the wrong reason; almost no one, today, would dare to propose impeachment for his consistent, and continuing, abuse of power as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. And yet that--unlike the dalliance--involves a deliberate contempt for the prescripts of the Constitution. And it is easily demonstrated:
In Jefferson's First Annual Address To Congress, on December 8, 1801, our revered third President reported on America's encounter with the Barbary pirates:
"Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack.
"The measure was seasonable and salutary. The Bey had already declared war in form. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded, and that of the Atlantic in peril. The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with, and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element will, I trust, be a testimony to the world that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace, but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to its destruction.
"Unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go out beyond the line of defence, the vessel being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offence, also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries."
While Jefferson was certainly a first rate Constitutional scholar in his own right, it must be pointed out that his Secretary of State--the man most closely advising the President with regard to the above operation--was James Madison, our foremost Constitutional authority because he had more than any other man to do with there even being a Constitution in its present form. Will anyone--anyone--suggest that President Clinton's Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, is an equivalent Constitutional authority?!!
President Clinton has repeatedly committed American military forces to foreign projects without Congressional sanction. While Jefferson believed, in consultation with Madison, his lifelong friend and political ally, that Congressional direction was required for an affirmative as opposed to a defensive commitment of American forces; Clinton has never hesitated to act as though our Armed Forces were his personal play things.
In Haiti, he moved to depose a West Point Graduate, an obvious ally to American interests, in favor of a Marxist demagogue favoring the redistribution of wealth. [Read Madison's comments in Federalist Paper #10, to understand what the framers of our Constitution thought about the politically imposed redistribution of wealth! (It is also quoted in our essay on universal suffrage.)] In Iraq, the President continues a war for which George Bush sought and achieved Congressional authority; but in unauthorized forms, for ill defined objectives; apparently governed by his will alone. In Bosnia, he has intervened to prevent Civil War in a land where we have no direct interest, and no claim of right. He now threatens to do the same in Kosovo.
We are no less horrified than others by the cruel and bloody civil wars that have been raging in various parts of what was formerly Yugoslavia. Civil Wars are often the most vicious and brutal of human conflicts. But there is nothing in that reality which enlarges the Constitutional powers of the President of the United States. And it was the Constitution of the United States that President Clinton swore to uphold--not world peace, not human "brotherhood"; not commitment to any social agenda or new international order.
Pax Britannia, in the last century, had at least some legal basis in the internal concepts of Monarchy. But our Republican Constitution confers no similar authority on the Chief Executive. Clinton's authority is to carry out the military policies that Congress decrees. His position as an Executive, is to execute the Will of Congress; and that Will, itself--or the discretion it implies--is limited to providing for a Common Defence. Neither Clinton nor Congress has any Constitutional authority to use our military forces for either altruistic or misanthropic adventures, unrelated to that Common Defence.
The President's Constitutional position is simply not one which was ever intended to empower anyone to use the enormous potential power of the United States Armed Forces to do good or bad in the world in general. It confers no right whatever to try to remake the world to his own purpose. When he imposes a Mobocracy in Haiti, or a forced cease fire in the civil war of any nation where American interests are not threatened, he abuses his position of Trust; he violates his oath of office; he acts in a way that is indefensible morally, because he diverts the means for fulfilling that Trust from the defined purpose, to which he was solemnly sworn, to a purpose of his own, wholly outside the Constitutional framework that is the only basis for his power.
Hopefully, one or more of the remaining European monarchies, which possess broader military authority, will be able to broker or coerce concessions that could save the lives of people in Kosovo and Bosnia. President Clinton simply has no right to take part in such an exercise-- other than via his prayers and such advice as he may be able to offer as a private citizen.
Similarly, the President has no authority under the Constitution, to use his position as Commander-in-Chief to promote any domestic social agenda. Let us be specific: There was no definable military advantage in putting women into combat units. There are many definable disadvantages: Starting with common sense and experience elsewhere, through consideration of the physiological differences, on to questions of morale and motivation. We have women in combat units today because the President believes in sexual equality, and wants to play to a feminist constituency. But the military is not his; it is ours. And when he uses a position of Trust, as Commander-in-Chief, to promote a social ideology, he abuses power, he abuses his solemn oath of office; he does that for which he is infinitely more deserving of removal than that for which he was recently impeached.
I realize that many Conservatives thought it wonderful irony--or at least "poetic justice" that President Clinton be impeached because of his obstruction of a so called "sexual harassment" case in which that great Feminist champion was himself the Defendant. We did not share that enthusiasm! The fact of a Federal Court entertaining a case which deal with so un-Federal a question as a sexual approach in the work-place, is but one more example of how far we have strayed from the carefully stated concepts of the Fathers. As offensive as President Clinton's approach to Paula Jones, it does not raise any Federal question ever envisioned under our Constitution. Moreover, the idea of the Federal Government trying to abolish sexuality in the work place, is the sort of winged pig delusion, this web site was set up to ridicule. We expose the absurdity from the Kipling poems we post, to the novel we promote, to all the articles in between.
Anyone who knew that wishes were not horses, and that pigs really did not have wings, knew also that if you put women into the same military units as men-- training and serving side by side--there would be a tremendous sexual diversion of attention; a vast amount of energy expended in pursuit of individual fulfillment not military preparedness. That is, of course, only one of many reasons why women should not be in combat units--not even one of the more important! (See the Feminist Absurdity below.) But it illustrates the fantasy level in Clinton's Washington, that anyone would even consider it possible that you could order men and women to ignore their sexuality in the work place--or in the army and navy.
This does not mean that everyone will act as a Bill Clinton, a degenerate throwback who unzips his pants at the slightest temptation. Many will use more traditional and genteel approaches that would be perfectly acceptable at a Church picnic or a Society ball. But whether in a corporate office, or waiting your turn to go through whatever they are calling the field obstacle course, today; or at the firing range, barracks or on bivouac; men will be men, and women will be women! (On the question of the relevance of sexuality to the work place, we recommend the Kipling poem, "An Imperial Rescript," just posted at this site.)
President Clinton's personal attitude towards military service, as demonstrated by his avoidance of the draft, may or may not be a factor in some of his actions. That he went overseas to escape what others saw as duty, is certainly not to his credit. But it is irrelevant to our point. If he were the most dedicated soldier, ever born; the Armed Forces of the United States would still not be his personal play things.
Alexander Hamilton was no foe of a strong Executive. But he made the clear distinction in Federalist Paper No. LXIX:
"The 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."
Clinton's studied misdirection of his role began almost with his first official act in Office, when he proposed that Congress lift strictures against Homosexuality in the Armed Forces. There was no military purpose to be served by this seemingly radical, offensive and unnecessary proposal. We no longer require a draft to recruit the needed numbers; there was certainly no compelling need to enlarge the potential pool by so extending the classifications of those eligible!
We will grant that there may be sexual deviants who have otherwise decent or even excellent soldierly skills. The idea of their recruitment was offensive to the vast majority of sexually normal young men in our armed forces--as to the girls who wait for them at home. Being forced into a barracks, fox hole, shower or whatever, on a daily basis, with someone who has an unnatural desire for your body, is hardly calculated to build morale or create esprit de corps. Most Christians and Jews have been taught from early childhood that Homosexuality is an abomination. In our times, it has also been associated with serious health risks. So, albeit a bit meekly in some cases, Congress rebelled at this new dispensation; and the Administration adopted, instead, its "Don't ask; don't tell" policy.
But no defence problem required any change at all! Why was the issue even raised? And by what claim of right did the Administration impose its own "compromise" over a question wholly within the domain of Congress? Why, today, does this President continue to put an asexual agenda ahead of the sensibilities of those who put their lives on the line, that the rest of us may remain free?!
Let us be totally candid: Even if we had no freedom of religion; even if Homosexuality were not considered an abomination; even if we were forced to accept it as only an "alternative to human life-style," as funny as that sounds; it would still be absolutely outside the Constitutional role of the President as Commander-in-Chief to promote the agenda of those advocating that "life-style."
Sending the Armed Forces into another land with aggressive purpose, rather than the immediate defence of American interests, is an act of War. It requires an Act of Congress. The regulation of the Armed Forces has always required an Act of Congress. The immortal Jefferson, a Virginia gentleman who understood the sanctity of oaths, gave the Barbary Pirates back their ship, after repulsing the immediate threat to our interests, because Congress had not authorized him to hold it. The amoral Clinton, an Arkansas Scalawag, bombs, invades and occupies, around the World; deposing Heads of State and openly promoting his personal social goals abroad, while ignoring sexual reality as old as Genesis at home.
It might have been nice if those Congressional Republicans, now patting themselves on the back with self-adulation over how courageous and conscientious they were in the recent debacle, had had the courage to even debate the legal aspects of the above. Gentlemen, it is called the "Usurpation of Power," the very worst form of abuse. It is what the term High Crimes was intended to refer to. And it is 210 years and 200,000,000 Americans more important than catching someone else with his pants down!