Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon:
Back in January, 2006, the Bush Justice Department released a 42-page memo arguing that the President had the power to ignore Congressional restrictions on domestic eavesdropping, such as those imposed by FISA (the 30-year-old law that made it a felony to do exactly what Bush got caught doing: eavesdropping on the communications of Americans without warrants). That occurred roughly 3 months after I began blogging, and -- to my embarrassment now -- I was actually shocked by the brazen radicalism and extremism expressed in that Memo. It literally argued that Congress had no power to constrain the President in any way when it came to national security matters and protecting the nation.
To advance this defense, Bush lawyers hailed what they called "the President's role as sole organ for the Nation in foreign affairs"; said the President’s war power inherently as "Commander-in-Chief" under Article II "includes all that is necessary and proper for carrying these powers into execution"; favorably cited an argument made by Attorney General Black during the Civil War that statutes restricting the President's actions relating to war "could probably be read as simply providing 'a recommendation' that the President could decline to follow at his discretion"; and, as a result of all that, Congress "was pressing or even exceeding constitutional limits" when it attempted to regulate how the President could eavesdrop on Americans. As a result, the Bush memo argued, the President had the power to ignore the law because FISA, to the extent it purported to restrict the President's war powers, "would be unconstitutional as applied in the context of this Congressionally authorized armed conflict...
Yesterday, Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives that "the White House would forge ahead with military action in Libya even if Congress passed a resolution constraining the mission." As TPM put it: "the administration would ignore any and all attempts by Congress to shackle President Obama's power as commander in chief to make military and wartime decisions," as such attempts would constitute "an unconstitutional encroachment on executive power." As Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman noted, Clinton was not relying on the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (WPR); to the contrary, her position is that the Obama administration has the power to wage war in violation even of the permissive dictates of that Resolution. And, of course, the Obama administration has indeed involved the U.S. in a major, risky war, in a country that has neither attacked us nor threatened to, without even a pretense of Congressional approval or any form of democratic consent. Whether the U.S. should go to war is a decision, they obviously believe, "for the President alone to make.
What do you think?
Has the war on terrorism fundamentally changed the role of the US President in making foreign policy, especially in terms of war?
Should the US President (the Executive branch of the government) be the primary maker of foreign policy? Or, should the US Congress have equal authority to make foreign policy and check the policies of the US President?
Should citizens be more involved in US foreign policy making? Or, should citizens be kept out of foreign policy decision making and trust their political leaders?