Friday, August 22, 2008

The American Presidency

The fact that the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent toppling of the Iraqi government along with the devastating effects of the wholesale destruction of national infrastructure and the catastrophic loss of human life represents an illegal act of aggression by a superpower on a weak sovereignty unable to defend itself against such extreme violence. The invasion was a monumental breach of international law and a brazen act of defiance in regards to world peace. However, although George W. Bush should be held personally accountable for this war and its consequences, the problem transcends any individual president.

In recent American history, there have been repeated instances of wars conducted by presidential fiat. Examples that come immediately to mind are Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War, George HW Bush’s invasion of Panama, Ronald Reagan’s War against Granada and the proxy war against the Nicaraguan government. In all these cases, the constitutional mandate that only Congress has the power to declare war has been skillfully bypassed.

This nation, that still regards itself as a republic, has ceded so much power to the office of the President that a mentally-comprised and emotionally disturbed individual such as George W. Bush can thrust the entire nation into an unnecessary and illegitimate war based on a personal predilection.

The consequences of a singular individual having access to the formidable military arsenal of the United States are only too evident, considering the remarkable damage done to the American economy and the international reputation of this nation.

It is time to reconsider how power is really distributed in our government. Do we really want an Imperial Presidency?

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