Just muscular enough to not get mocked
It. Is. Not. A. Prop.

Uphold and Defend

Donald Sensing posits a situation that, as presented, would test elements of the Oath of Commissioning (and, the Oath of Enlistment).  I have some immediate reaction to the post, but also think that this is something that all of you who have honorably served should discuss.  I would point out to those who do not know that he is a retired officer.  You may want to factor that into your consideration and discussion.

Discuss, please! 


UPDATE:  TSO is on vacation, but has given me permission to post some rough points he made via e-mail.  I hope that we will get a fuller post on this once he is back in the office.

1) "he thinks he has authority as president to bomb Syria without going to Congress at all."  That ship sailed a long time ago.  He pretty clearly has that authority.  Now, whether it is a *good* idea is open to debate, but he pretty clearly has the authority. Sensing goes on to quote whether Libya was "legal" but he uses international law and the UN as his starting point.  That's a fairly novel approach for someone on the right to use.  And it makes me seriously uncomfortable.  If we go down that road, they we would have to seek UN approval for all things.  That's a sword I'd rather not have in anyones hands.

2) "He means that even if Congress votes against authorizing the Syria war, he can still order the strikes because he didn't have to ask Congress in the first place."  Didn't this already happen with regards to bombing Cambodia during Viet Nam? I'd actually have to do more research but my understanding is that it was a similar fact pattern, no?  (See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooper-Church_Amendment)

3) "I would maintain that our flag-rank military officers are duty bound to disobey those orders."  Ugh.  Oathkeeper stuff again. He's the Commander in Chief.  I'm always reticent to join an argument that has the military deciding when it is or is not appropriate to follow orders.  That kind of confusion can get people killed.  Now granted, this would be easier had Congress asserted itself in the past, and required actual declarations of war, but they have completely abrogated that now, so not sure what the answer is.  But, if the CinC says it's getting done, it's probably getting done.  If an Officer feels he must resign his commission, he is certainly entitled to do that.  But that will just mean a turn over at the top, and that is problematic.  Certainly it is the persons right, but will it actually change anything?

This is one of those weird occasions I hate so much where the points I think have merit, but from a Constitutional standpoint, it seems weak to me.  Syria blows and we shouldn't do shit.  But the point of having a unitary executive in charge of military matters has a long standing valid basis, and it scares me a bit to mess with it simply because we don't like that CinC.

Again, discuss.