Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Libertarians and war

Randy Barnett explains that Ron Paul doesn’t speak for all libertarians:

While all libertarians accept the principle of self-defense, and most accept the role of the U.S. government in defending U.S. territory, libertarian first principles of individual rights and the rule of law tell us little about what constitutes appropriate and effective self-defense after an attack. Devising a military defense strategy is a matter of judgment or prudence about which reasonable libertarians may differ greatly.

He also notes that "[a]ll libertarians...oppose military conscription on principle, considering it involuntary servitude." How would libertarians have fought World War II? Would they have relied upon the allegedly universal willingness of people to volunteer?

If libertarians are willing to fight wars only when they’re overwhelmingly popular, when the threat is so self-evident as to hit almost everyone (Harry Reid excepted, I guess) between the eyes, then I guess libertarian principle requires that we wait patiently for the next big attack. How many tens of thousands of American lives is libertarian principle worth?

Discussions - 34 Comments

It is, I think, the problem with rooting one's thinking about how and whether to go to war in "self-defense" - one the one hand, you make yourself vulnerable to devastating first attacks (especially in a nuclear age) and, on the other hand, you make possible a virtually unlimited rationale for pre- and post-attack warfare (since you are so vulnerable, it's rational, ala Hobbes, to strike first).

Military conscription is slavery, plain and simple. You are being ordered to go somewhere you do not want to go, to shoot and kill people, and to put yourself in a situation where you could be shot and killed at. If you refuse to follow these forced orders then you get severely punished. On principle, military conscription is slavery, and is a grave tool that should only be used when it is absolutely vital to the existence of the country (IE: Civil War, threat of Nazi/Japanese invasion). It was stupid to call for slavery during Vietnam, and would be exceedingly stupid to call for it to go fight in the Middle East.


Furthermore, most libertarians (and Ron Paul, who voted FOR invading Afghanistan) are not necessarily opposed to war. They do, however, request that Congress formally declare war when we plan on sending American soldiers to foreign lands to kill abd be killed. On principle, I believe, libertarians are opposed to things like the Wars Powers Act, which is a severe breach of the constitutional power of Congress. If we're going to war, there should be a formal declaration. Ron Paul proposed a declaration of war on Iraq in 2002, I believe, saying that he personally would not vote for it because he felt it would compromise our national security but asking that if his colleagues were going to join the president in leading us to war that they at least formally do so.


Lastly, on the issue of Iraq, when we invaded it was hardly a matter of self-defense. After our invasion and subsequent occupation it has become a grave issue of our national security. As I said, Ron Paul supported our invasion of Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda, backed by the Taliban, orchestrated an attack that resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans, and thus invading Afghanistan to bring them to justice was justified. If we had instead taken the 130,000+ troops we invaded Iraq with and pushed them into Afghanistan instead, bin Laden and Al Qaeda would (probably) no longer be a threat and the terrorists would not now be able to breed in Iraq. The invasion of Iraq compromised our national security, and Ron Paul realized that. He believes that the United States of America would be much safer if we protected ourselves and did not put ourselves in such dangerous positions worldwide.
To those who say that we have a "duty" to go defend the people of these sovereign nations and play world police because we are the most powerful nation in the world and have the responsibility, I ask you if whether or not that similar excuse can be used to, say, support socialized everything in our domestic affairs because we have the most powerful economy in the world and a responsibility to look after the welfare of our own people by doing everything for them.

I ask you if whether or not that similar excuse can be used to, say, support socialized everything in our domestic affairs because we have the most powerful economy in the world and a responsibility to look after the welfare of our own people by doing everything for them.

Given that the majority of the people who oppose the Iraq war would answer "Yes" to this, indeed that one of the reasosn they oppose the war is that they feel it takes money that should be spent on welfare programs at home, I'm not sure your argument here is as solid as you seem to think it is.

They do, however, request that Congress formally declare war when we plan on sending American soldiers to foreign lands to kill abd be killed.

There is no such thing as a "formal" declaration of war spelled out in the Constitution. The AUMF is certainly formal enough to meet any Constitutional standard. Would you really be any happier if Congress had said "We formally declare war on Iraq"?

Would it make any difference in terms of where we are today?

R.O.B.,

If you wish to be protected by a political order, then you have to consent to the conditions of that protection, one of which may be serving in the armed forces. if you're unwilling to contribute to the defense, then you can't make a claim on the protection.

As for the rest, I think your arguments are perfectly reasonable, which is to say, reasonable people can reasonably disagree with them. That's one of Barnett's principal points, and I agree with him on that.

Nevertheless, I do think he and his libertarian friends (you included, I guess) are seriously wrong in principle about conscription and about the conditions of warfare in the modern world.

Joe,


I have no problem defending my country should it come under attack. As I said, when it is absolutely vital to the existence of the country, a draft is reasonable. During the Civil War, it was reasonable. During World War II, it was reasonable-- we were under threat of Japanese invasion on the East Coast (following a strike on our land and military) and, if Britain fell, the threat of eventual Nazi invasion in the East. I do disagree with calling for a draft to wage a war in Vietnam or, say, Iraq and Iran when, while they may pose threats to some of our interests abroad, they are not necessarily threatening the existence of our nation and our way of life. If Congress wants to allow the president to go to war with them, fine. But as going to war with them over an issue other than the existence of our way of life is concerned, the regular military should be all that is at his disposal.


John,


Yes, I would be happier of Congress were to formally declare war. The Commander-in-Chief, while leader of our military and defender of our nation, has no constitutional power to do anything with the military other than use it as a police force. If we are engaging in a war, Congress needs to be able to control whether or not our troops can be making war in foreign lands in another way other than controling their funding. Without congressional approval, the president should not be able to wage war in foreign lands for an extended period of time. Furthermore, a formal declaration of war allows our citizens to know we're at war with a belligerent nation, and to inform said belligerent nation and its citizens that we are waging war with them. It furthermore establishes that international law is governing the conduct of the war so as to protect citizens in the warring nations involved so that, when captured by their enemy, they will be treated as prisoners-of-war and not mere criminals. And, yes, I know that the various insurgencies we're fighting in Iraq will not pay attention to justice like this, but that is what makes them the bad guys and us the good guys.


Now, I realize that the kind of threat we're facing in the 21st Century is quite different than threats we've faced in the past, but the lines of separate powers on matters like this are becoming increasingly blurred, particularly under the current administration, and we can't allow a war like this to allow that to happen.

R.O.B

You pretty much ignored everything I said. There is no requirement as to what constitutes a "formal declaration of war" spelled out anywhere in the Constitution. And you yourself don't explain what you think it consists of.

By inference I conclude that you don't think that the authorisation which Congress did provide for this war is adequate. But you offer no legal analysis to back that up.


Furthermore, a formal declaration of war allows our citizens to know we're at war with a belligerent nation, and to inform said belligerent nation and its citizens that we are waging war with them.

Are you actually under the impression that there is any doubt about this? To the extent that some people refuse to accept that we are at war, do you imagine that Congress saying something like "we formally declare war" will make the slightest difference? They object to the decision itself, not the exact formulation of the words used.

It furthermore establishes that international law is governing the conduct of the war so as to protect citizens in the warring nations involved so that, when captured by their enemy, they will be treated as prisoners-of-war and not mere criminals.

No, a "formal declaration of war" would not do this. For one thing, as I say, we are already at war. Your hangup that Congress must say some magic phrase for this to occur is both incorrect and silly.

More to the point, "citizens in the warring nation" are not entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, unless they meet certain highly specific conditions. This is the case regardless of whether of whether or not Congress has said some magic phrase.

The "citizens" you refer to are what are known in legal terminology as "unlawful combatants", and under the law of war they have no rights. This may upset you, but it is the case nonetheless. We are within our legal rights in summararly executing them on the spot.

They are criminals, not "prisoners of war". Your saying otherwise does not make it so.


I know that the various insurgencies we're fighting in Iraq will not pay attention to justice like this, but that is what makes them the bad guys and us the good guys.

That is not what makes them the bad guys and us the good guys. If we capture a terrorist who has sawn the head off of a captured American, and we treat him like a prisoner of war, we are not behaving like the good guys, we are behaving like idiots.

Justice does not consist of treating dissimilar things as if they are indentical, it consists in treating dissimilar things differently.

If we treat the person who plants a bomb in a disco as a lawful prisoner of war, what incentive do genuine lawful combatants have to follow the laws of war? They have none. They may as well behave however they wish, secure in the knowledge that our behavior is not in any way contingent on theirs. In this way your line of thinking only serves to encourage more barbarity.

"....I guess libertarian principle requires that we wait patiently for the next big attack."


Or you could try actually going after the guy who attacked you. I hear he is in Pakistan.

But Knippenberg would rather sit around fantasing about bringing back the draft. I guess its not quite as bad as Mac Owens fantasizing about suspending habeus corpus. What is with you people?

Or you could try actually going after the guy who attacked you. I hear he is in Pakistan.

We were not attacked by Osama bin Laden. The "guys" who attacked us are all dead. They died on 911. OBL is very likely dead himself, since nobody has heard from him in years.

The mastermind behind the attack, KSM, is sitting in Gitmo at present, but I expect you would like to see him released from Bush's gulag.

The Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to declare war. I think that language is fairly clear. Now, thanks to Mr. Hamilton's interpretation of the war powers clause, precedent with Congress started interpreting it as the Congress has the power to initiate war (pre-emptive war) but when another nation makes war against the United States we are already in a state of war so no Congressional declaration is needed-- this was in response to the war with the Barbary Pirates in Tripoli.


The Supreme Court also ruled in favor, 5-4, of Lincoln's blockade of Southern ports, as it was a case of insurrection and rebellion and thus required the immediate attentions of the President without a formal christening by an out-of-session Congress. There is NO legal or constitutional precedent, however, for the president being able to commit troops abroad in the absence of a declaration of war, and the Supreme Court is still refusing to make a decision on this argument.


Federalist 69 also goes into detail on this when Hamilton is explaining the differences between the executive power of the President and the executive power of the British Crown. While the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. will have the supreme command and direction of our armed forces, the power to DECLARE war and raise and regulate our forces belongs to Congress alone. When Madison and Gerry motioned to change the writing in the Constitution from "make war" to "declare war," they claimed to be doing so in order to leave the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks-- not to allow the president to go launch pre-emptive wars. The language also clearly states that the Congress shall DECLARE war, not pass these unconstitutional "authorizations" giving the president power to go make pre-emptive war.


In my opinion, the AUMF was a mostly fine resolution because, as the precedent I mentioned suggested, as we had been attacked a state of war already existed and thus a declaration of war was unnecessary (which is why Ron Paul voted in favor of invading Afghanistan, because a state of war with the Taliban and Al Qaeda already existed. The AUMF does not, however, extend any constitutional legitimacy to the invasion and occupation of Iraq and, as Hamdi v. Rumsfeld shows, does not override Article 15 of the UCMJ (as concerning Gitmo).


And to claim Bin Laden is dead is mistaken, in my opinion. He has just released a new video, and Al Qaeda is as strong as ever right now and ready to attack us again. Had we not diverted our forces in Iraq and instead focused on hunting down Bin Laden, perhaps we would not be in this position. Don't get me wrong, Saddam Hussein was an evil man who deserved to die, but by going to Iraq, not focusing as much on Al Qaeda, stretching our forces, and giving the people of the Middle East enough anger at America for Al Qaeda to fuel themselves with, we have greatly compromised our national security.


I really hope the war powers argument reaches the Supreme Court some day soon and that they don't refuse to comment on it again. Until then this argument won't ever be resolved.

Did you just refer to Bush's prison, favorably, as a "gulag"?

God, you people are dense.

No, I refered sarcastically to "Bush's prison" (which is not in fact Bush's prison) as a "gulag". Let me know if you need any further clarification.

Yeah, clarify this: who are "you people"?

Clearly, I was referring to the Bruteans, of whom you are a subset.

Funny.

And even if bin Laden is dead (maybe you should tell the FBI so they can take him off the most-wanted list), his organization is still active in Pakistan. The "war" in Iraq is no more a war than what happened in the South from 1865-1877 was a war. Eventually the Republicans will come to their senses and walk away.

Then they can get down to the real business: fighting Al Qaeda. Of course, doing that will not require a draft, the suspension of habeas corpus, or billion dollar contracts for Republican donors. Sorry to disappoint "you people."

Well, now you are being just plain silly.

The AUMF does not, however, extend any constitutional legitimacy to the invasion and occupation of Iraq

I strongly suggest that you go and read the AUMF and then come back here and start from scratch.

we had been attacked a state of war already existed

Given the refusal of Iraq to comply with the terms of its ceasefire agreement, a state of war arguably already existed between the US and Iraq. In fact many in the WH and Congess felt this to be the case. As it happened, they went and got the AUMF (have you read it yet?) anyway.

The Constitution states that Congress shall have the power to declare war. I think that language is fairly clear.

That is wonderfully evasive, and I am curious as to why you can't answer a straightforward question which I have asked a couple of times already. Namely, what do you think would constitute a "formal declaration of war"? What legal backing exists for your answer, if you ever give me one?

The language also clearly states that the Congress shall DECLARE war, not pass these unconstitutional "authorizations" giving the president power to go make pre-emptive war.

Based on your extensive study of the law and the Constitution, maybe you can explain for me the distinction here. When Congress "DECLARES" war, what is it doing other than authorizing the Preisdent as CinC to send the Army into battle? In other words, what is a declaration of war if not an authorization for the President to send the Army to war? Please make a least some effort to answer this, or I'll have to keep asking it.

To repeat a question I've already asked, what difference would it have made at any point if instead of the AUMF, Congress had said whatever you consider the magic words to be - I suppose something like "We, the Congress of the US, formally declare war on Iraq". What would be different today in that scenario?


Hamdi v. Rumsfeld shows, does not override Article 15 of the UCMJ (as concerning Gitmo).

I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. Care to elaborate?


And to claim Bin Laden is dead is mistaken, in my opinion. He has just released a new video

One which everyone agrees was made several years ago.

Had we not diverted our forces in Iraq and instead focused on hunting down Bin Laden, perhaps we would not be in this position.

What is your obsession with bin Laden, a man who is almost certainly dead? If you must reduce the war to a single individual (an odd way to run a war) then there are more worthy individuals to focus on. Surely Zawahiri is a better person to set your sights on?

by going to Iraq, not focusing as much on Al Qaeda, stretching our forces, and giving the people of the Middle East enough anger at America for Al Qaeda to fuel themselves with, we have greatly compromised our national security.

That is an interesting theory, but do you have any evidence to support your claim that our national security has been compromised, let alone "greatly compromised"?

There is NO legal or constitutional precedent, however, for the president being able to commit troops abroad in the absence of a declaration of war

As I say, you seem to be under the impression that there are certain magic words which Congress must say before the President may commit troops to battle. I look forward to seeing you provide some legal support for this theory, as well as (hopefully) finally telling me what these words are.

The "war" in Iraq is no more a war than what happened in the South from 1865-1877 was a war.

Maybe you should tell Al Queda this. They seem to think that Iraq is the main front in their war with the US. And let our intelligence services in on it as well, since they agree with AQ.

"War" with Al Qaeda is a metaphor: just like war with the Mob, war with the Klan, war with Columbian drug dealers. So if you want to use that metaphor, go right ahead. But you will never win that war, because you can't win a war against a non-state.

I guess that explains why we lost to the Klan and the Mafia then.

you can't win a war against a non-state

That would explain why non-state actors have taken over from states over the past few hundred years. Because non-states are undefeatable. No wonder the Brits lost to the IRA.


Yes, that is more sacrasm, since I know you need it explained to you.

"War" with Al Qaeda is a metaphor

There are a lot of soldiers in blown up tanks and shot down helicopters would be be mighty interested to hear that what they experienced was a "metaphor".

Yes the IRA, the Klan, the Mob, and drug dealers no longer exist at all. They cannot be found anywhere. Give me a break.

Yes, I have read the AUMF, and it states clearly that it authorized the president to go to war against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons. Last I checked, Saddam Hussein and Iraq had nothing at all to do with 9/11 and Al Qaeda was not on very good terms with Hussein's regime.


A declaration of war is a resolution that Congress passes that has the phrase "declaration of war" in its title. And, yes, it does matter, because it makes the president have to honestly and clearly lay his case for war to the American people and Congress (something Bush has consistently failed at doing) and it respects the Constitutional authority of the Congress. This difference is also great, because a formal declaration affects treaties and diplomatic relations. Alberto Gonzales said it himself: There was not a war declaration, either in connection with Al Qaida or in Iraq. It was an authorization to use military force. I only want to clarify that, because there are implications. Obviously, when you talk about a war declaration, you're possibly talking about affecting treaties, diplomatic relations. And so there is a distinction in law and in practice. And we're not talking about a war declaration. This is an authorization only to use military force.


Kindly show me where it says in the Constitution that the Congress can "authorize" the use of military force in any other way than declaring war.


Another reason declaring that the United States is in a state of war is important is because it grants the government greater wartime powers to be used to eliminate the enemy and then given up when the enemy is gone. These far-reaching powers that the executive branch is gaining look, for the most part, to be permanent as they are not being considered to be any special wartime powers to go away when the war is over, and that's what scares me most.


My evidence that our national security has been compromised is that Al Qaeda is as powerful as it was before 9/11 once more, that they are now gaining strength in Iraq to attack us some more, and that anti-American sentiment around the world and particularly in the Middle East is extremely dangerous for us. The Taliban is regaining power in Afghanistan while the turmoil in Iraq is both distracting us and emboldening our enemies. Furthermore, we are stretching our resources--especially our most vital of resources, the men and women in our armed forces--thin by waging these wars, and if another nation were to attack us at this time it would be very bad for us. We have put ourselves in a trap that I don't believe we can get ourselves safely out of.

You are reading the wrong AUMF.

Try this one.

In the event that you finally read the darn thing, you will discover that it lays out the case to the American people for why we are going to war with Iraq in long and tedious detail.

Read it and then get back to me.

A declaration of war is a resolution that Congress passes that has the phrase "declaration of war" in its title.

What do you base this assertion on? Please cite some relevant case law if you have it.

Kindly show me where it says in the Constitution that the Congress can "authorize" the use of military force in any other way than declaring war.

A declaration of war IS an authorization to use force. It does not and cannot compel the President to do anthing. In theory Congress could "declare war" and the President could ignore it, assuming he could survive an impeachment threat.

Another reason declaring that the United States is in a state of war is important is because it grants the government greater wartime powers to be used to eliminate the enemy and then given up when the enemy is gone.

Based on your extensive legal research, what are these greater powers which the government has, unjustly in your view, seized for itself?

These far-reaching powers that the executive branch is gaining look, for the most part, to be permanent as they are not being considered to be any special wartime powers to go away when the war is over, and that's what scares me most.

Hard to respond, since you continue to talk in vague generalities. But I'm guessing that much of what you consider to be "special wartime powers" are not going away because they are not in fact special wartime powers.

The fact that you were ignorant of the AUMF which is at issue here does not instill great confidence in me that you are knowledgable on these topics.

Disregard any and all references to the United Nations and its resolutions in that document, as the United States has absolutely no duty to listen to or protect anything the United Nations asks us to.... Disregard all references to 9/11 an Al Qaida, as Iraq had nothing to do with either of them.... Disregard other accusations of terrorist organizations based in Iraq threatening us, as I've not seen or heard of any prior to our occupation.... Disregard comments about WMDs that can be used against us, because I haven't seen any.... What's left? Whining about Saddam Hussein imprisoning an American serviceman and not listening to U.N. rules imposed on him a decade ago? Claiming that Iraq's actions are a "vital" concern for this country's national security??


If we go to war over people imprisoning American citizens, then we would have already been at war with many nations, including Russia, China, and Iran (the latter of which is STILL holding several American civilians prisoner). So, since that obviously isn't a reason for war, let us disregard that one for now.

$500 Billion dollars, 5 years, 158,000 soldiers


Please show me, then, how Iraq was such a "vital" threat to the national security of the United States of America before we invaded it. Please show me how five years, $500 billion dollars, and over 150,000 American soldiers overseas have made Iraq safer towards our "vital" national security concerns.

There are no relevant case laws because the Supreme Court refuses to speak on the issue.


Increased surveillance on Americans and others, growing secrecy in the executive branch, the practical absense of habeas corpus with places like Gitmo, PATRIOT Act, "black site" prisons, increased presidential claims of being able to ignore laws passed by Congress (most laws and resolutions involving the military), and the weakening of government oversight (the most common example being Cheney's claims of being exempt from executive orders). For example, I believe Congress has sent the White House four resolutions saying that the President cannot use military force agains Colombia, and each time Bush has declared in a signing statement that he can do what he wants with the military because he is Commander-in-Chief and Congress has no power to regulate his army. Bush has also said that he does not have to obey laws protecting "whistle-blowers" from being fired for telling Congress about government wrongdoing.


I am not saying that these things are not necessary in times of conflict. I am just worried that they are not temporary.


As for the confusion, generally when people refer to the "AUMF" they are referring to the one passed on September 18th, 2001. The one you talk of is generally referred to as the "Iraq War Resolution." Thus the confusion on my part.


I do not believe the Iraq War Resolution to be justified or constitutional. But that is where we fundamentally disgaree over the inerpretation of the War Powers Clause, and until the Supreme Court finally decides on the issue I do not believe either one of us will successfull convince the other of our interpretations, and should simply agree that we fundamentally disagree on this clause for now.

When you refer to "that document", which document are you referring to?

If it is the AUMF which I pointed out to you, I have no intention of obeying your curt instructions to "disregard" anything.

Contrary to the nonsense you have been repeating all through this thread, the AUMF does explicitly give President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq.

A good first step for you in trying to regain some of your tattered credibility might be to admit that.

And I'll also just throw out there to clarify that while I am fundamentally opposed to our reasons for invasion and extremely unhappy with our current occupation, I do not support immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces in Iraq because now it IS a threat to our national security.

I guess that fact that it has "Authorization for Use of Military Force" in the title might tend to fool people such as yourself.

Your transparent attempt to cover up your error is not making you look any better. But you do what you think is best.


I do not believe the Iraq War Resolution to be justified or constitutional.

Your qualifications to say that are nil. No court has made the finding you claim as to the constitition. As to being justifiable, that is outside the purview of the courts. Congress clearly felt it was justifiable, and they are the only people whose opinions counted.


until the Supreme Court finally decides on the issue I do not believe either one of us will successfull convince the other of our interpretations, and should simply agree that we fundamentally disagree on this clause for now.

How incredibly generous of you. Of course, my interpetation has the weight of law, while your interpetation is worthless. But if it makes you feel better to pretend that our views are of equal weight, knock yourself out.

Bush has also said that he does not have to obey laws protecting "whistle-blowers" from being fired for telling Congress about government wrongdoing.

You are making a habit of this. Of course Bush has said nothing of the sort. I could expend the effort to get you to admit it, after which you would come up with some excuse for the "confusion" and some explanation for why we are equally right in your eyes. No doubt it would involve some lament on your part that the courts have not found as you think they should, yet. But you will be convinced that if they only looked at things with your eyes, they would agree with you.

I think I will exit here and allow somebody else the pleasure of playing with you and demonstrating the truth in what I say.

God, you people are stupid.

At least I'm not the one still justifying the invasion of a country that had no Al Qaeda presence until after we invaded it.

Just to clarify, when I say my interpetation has the weight of law, I mean that my interpetation has the backing of court rulings. I'm not claiming to sit on the bench and to have made the rulings.

John,


George W. Bush has tried to get around the law regarding whistleblower protection, through the use of a signing statement. He's also tried to bypass many other acts passed by Congress through the use of signing statements.

Evidence #1

Evidence #2

Hello.

The only war that was justified was the American Revolution.

Would you be willing to spread the word about www.draftresistance.org? It's a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts.

Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help.

Thanks!

Scott Kohlhaas

PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

John, for being one of these apparently "stupid people" at least I am not resorting to petty name-calling, insults, and biting sarcasm to fuel my arguments.


Scott, please explain to me how the American Revolution was the only justified war. How can you ignore the War of 1812, for example, when the British made it so far as to burn down Washington? Or incidents like the Barbary Wars, where our vessels were constantly attacked by the pirates of Tripoli and we saw to it that they stopped disrupting our commerce? Or the Second World War, when the Japanese Empire unprovokingly murdered Americans stationed in Hawaii and had plans to launch an invasion against the entire western coast in order to gain complete dominance of the Pacific Ocean while the Nazis worked to dominate Europe and the Atlantic? Claiming that only the war that gave birth to our nation is justified and all others are null is ridiculous. Had we rolled over in 1812, the British would have reconquered us. Had we rolled over during the Civil War, th nation probably would have been so divided that the Europeans would have most likely attempted to reconquer us and succeed. How we just rolled over in WWII, most of the world--probably ourselves included--would be subjugated to Nazi and Imperial Japanese rule. Correct me if I'm wrong, but had the Japanese managed to launch a full scale invasion of the United States prior to Pearl Harbor, I believe that they could have reached the Midwest before we would have been able to adequately respond. And had the Nazis managed to topple Britain and survive against the Soviets, Hitler would have had no problem extending the Reich into North America. These wars were vital to the existence of the Union and followed deliberate and premeditated attacks against American citizens. How is responding to them with force not justified?

There is a reason unalluded to that we don't don't get white-tie formal Declarations of War anymore.

Under the Law of Armed Conflict, on the outbreak of war between A and B, non-belligerent nations C through Z are required to intern the military personnel of both nations A and B present in their territory.

This is bad for nations with lots of forward deployment.

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