Thursday, April 26, 2007
I've been mulling over my last post about Wolf Blitzer's interview with Dennis Kucinich, trying to come up with a more precise formulation of what I find so troubling about it. Unlike Blitzer, the Constitution never suggests that the powers of impeachment should be suspended during times of war. Not because of some glaring omission on the parts of the Founders. But because the idea that a declaration of war confers some sort of absolute power to the executive branch would have been anathema to the guiding principle behind the document.
But while the logic behind the question is hostile to the very notion of separation of powers, it does raise another more valid question. Under what circumstances are the people justified in removing the power to wage war from the hands of the President? And I think the answer is pretty clear: When a sufficient majority of them are convinced that the war does more harm to the national interest than good.
No general would go into battle without the option of strategic retreat in the event the attack fails, and none would confuse such a retreat with surrender. President Bush and the last supporters of the War in Iraq would have us choose a counterfeit version of honor over self-preservation. But they'll find no support for their masquerade in the Constitution.