L. Neil Smith's
A Foolish War -- King George's Nightmare
by Keith Shugarts
Special to TLE
A cold late winter wind dances its way down a darkened Pennsylvania Avenue, past two spectral entities enjoying the view of a light anxiously flickering to life in the window of a white palace. The palace surrounded by fence, gate, and guards. The occupant of that palace, a man, rises from a nightmare. His body moist with the sheen of fear sweat. In a panic, he calls for his sycophants and co-conspirators to attend him. They rise up out of their darkened lairs to rush up the flights of stairs and stand by his side, wondering if they'd have to reassure him that there were no pretzels in the room. Upon entry into the sacred chamber, one darkly dressed minion scurries around the room to check and see if there are any nude statues to cover. Another mumbles something about terrorist warnings thinking to himself that he's got to get more well known. Most though are cooing to the whimpering King. The King's mouth moves with little strength and the words flow out with small enthusiasm. "They were here again, whispering about the abuses, about the mockery we have made of the Constitution," the King says pulling his knees up to his chest.
The assembled multitude chuckles and chortles, rising from that their mirthful cacophony begins to coalese into words "Mr. President, we control the Constitution, we decide what the Constitution says." Their words now rising to a chant, "our shackles are in tatters, torn to ribbons by endless laws and the desire for power!"
The King wills his quivering lips to speak ignoring the placation of his court, "They said the military was unconstitutional," He wraps his arms around his knees, his wavering voice continued,"they said they were going to be spreading the word and wanted to recapture the spirit of Paine and Henry." All the cronies and lackeys, boot-lickers and storm troopers, the power mad, the impotent important, the rulers and lawmakers gathered in the room let loose a roar that rattles the bulletproof windows in defiance of the natural force outside shout, "they wouldn't dare!"
One of the most powerful tools of a tyrant is the military, especially a permanent military. Through certain passages in the Constitution, the Founding Fathers attempted to deny a tyrant these tools and bind the aggression of his fist. However, by careful and calculated maneuvers meant to grant and acquire more and more power, the tyrants have found their hands unbound through the co-opting of the Constitution and with the co-operation of those who presume to be called representatives of the people. By doing so, and through other obvious and covert acts, these leaders of the government have conciously denied their allegiance to the Constitution and have instead, installed themselves as arbiters of that which is meant to controls them - arbitrary arbiters at that.
Those passages dealing with the control of the military are simple in their logic, as is most of the Constitution. These passages' simplicity though, betrays a deeper understanding regarding the history and nature of the military, as well as military strategy. Trenchard and Gordon, writers of the famed Cato Letters, through historical research, had already proven that the existence of a permanent military was one of the characteristics of a tyrannical government. The Founding Fathers were also very aware, from their understanding of historical experience, of the temptation a government would feel to exercise its pride and launch the country into war even with the most tenuous of reason or to go about trying to right perceived wrongs. The Founding Fathers also realized that a permanent military would require incredible amounts of funding and sought to limit the need for the government to seek out new sources of tribute.
The Founding Fathers essentially designed those parts of the Constitution dealing with the military to restrict the use of the military to the defense of the nation and to compliment both the Preamble and the 2nd Amendment.
Most of the restrictions on the military contained within the Constitution exist within Article 1, Section 8. In Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, the section dealing with congressional powers, there exist several powers and restrictions placed upon Congress regarding the founding and forming of the military. This was done to deny the United States government the ability to create a permanent military, to restrict the use of any military action to that of defensive, and to deny the government the excuse to steal money from its citizens through the use of taxes.
The first part of Section 8 that deals with military power is the phrase that reads, "Congress shall have the power to raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years". This part of the restriction on military powers would effectively deny the President-King the ability to use the army as a force beyond the border. It does allow Congress to create an army to deal with the threat of invasion, but not a military that would be able to threaten invasion itself. The army is only meant to augment the militia, for it is the militia that will be defending the nation against invasion, insurrection, and to execute the laws of the nation. The army that the Founding Fathers had in mind was not meant to be the main force of deterrence, nor a weapon of aggression.
The creation of a permanent army also provides the government with the excuse to use that army to restore lost pride and launch the country into war even with the most tenuous of reason or to go about trying to right perceived wrongs. The use of the military in this way often provokes responses that would threaten domestic tranquility. That threat to domestic tranquility brought about by the use of the exportation of the military to foreign lands and the imposition of the will of the government upon non-citizens of this country. It was this use of the military that brought about the events of September 11th.
The Founding Fathers also feared that the government would use the threat or actions of war to be able to wrest a percentage of income from its citizens. During the War Between the States, King Abraham the Syphilitic pushed through an emergency-funding bill so that the United States government would be able to extort a percentage of income in tribute from its citizenry. King Woodrow, used the recently passed 16th Amendment to pay for the preparation of the United States Military in anticipation of its entry into WWI. By denying this restriction of the Constitution, the government creates the need to extort more and more tribute from the people in order to fund a greater and more powerful permanent military - one that it is not supposed to have in the first place.
The second part of Article 1, Section 8 dealing with the military is this, "Congress shall have the power to provide and maintain a navy". Why separate the army and the navy?. A navy is an effective deterrent against invasion. The British proved this time and time again throughout the centuries without benefit of a large and overwhelming army - depending mostly on militia and local forces for land based protection.
Another section of Article 1, Section 8 states, "Congress shall have the power to call forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrection, and repel invasion." This fully goes to compliment the 2nd amendment - an armed militia and citizenry. Why use the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrection, and repel invasion? The answer is simple and two fold. The first is that the militia is not initially beholden to the federal government, the state and local authorities control it. The second is that once the threat has subsided, the militia can then return to non-threatening countenance as shopkeepers, mechanics, and ordinary citizens.
Conservatives and some libertarians will point to the Preamble of the Constitution which states, the government of the United States shall "provide for the common defense". They will then use this argument to justify the existence of a permanent military and the use of it in an aggressive manner. However, if one looks at how the Founding Fathers constructed the Constitution, they will see that the military was meant to be a minor nuisance, not a permanent plague. That the common defense was the defense provided by the militia and not a standing army. The whole idea the Founding Father's had for the military was to be a defensive force designed to augment the militia in times of invasion and insurrection. The Founding Fathers meant for a navy and the militia to be the first line of defense against invasion.
Even in its most benevolent form, the military presents a very clear and present danger to liberty and freedom. In its current form the United States Military is clearly unconstitutional. However, the tyrants that now rule this land in a freeman's stead, keep the sword close to their hand to put force behind their arbitrary pronouncements and rulings. By continuing support of the permanent military of the United States, the government arrogantly turns a blind eye to the restrictions of the Constitution.
The spectres who'd brought the dream to the King's mind left their watch of the window and allowed the wind to carry them out of the stenchful town. Smiles crossed their face, as they knew it has begun.
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