Declaring War: It’s Not Just a Good Idea, It’s The Law WW2

The US Constitution confers upon Congress the legal power to declare war.

Or, to put it a different way, if Congress hasn’t declared war, then the United States is not, in any legal sense, AT war.

No, an “authorization for use of military force” is not a declaration of war. In fact, AUMFs come right out and SAY they’re not declarations of war (the sections that say so are referred to as “war powers reservation clauses”).

From these facts, it follows that each and every one of the 90,000 or so US combat deaths since the final casualty of World War II — a B-32 gunner named Anthony Marchione, killed over Japan in August of 1945 — as well as all “enemy” casualties in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous smaller conflicts, were and remain war crimes. And that the politicians responsible are, yes, war criminals.

Now, US president Barack Obama has announced yet another count in the 70-year-long chain of criminal conspiracies to kill American military men and women, as well as foreign combatants and non-combatants. He plans to send US special operations troops into Syria, ostensibly to fight the Islamic State but also, and he’s not very coy about it, to overthrow Syria’s existing government.

Disclosure: Since leaving the US Marine Corps 20 years ago, I’ve personally become more and more anti-war in temperament. But even if I hadn’t, I’d like to think that looking back on seven decades of complete lawlessness as regards US military adventurism would lead me to the same conclusion.

If Congress isn’t willing to take the simple step of voting to declare war, why should the rest of us pretend that it has done so?

Why should ordinary Americans pick up the tab in blood and treasure for conflicts that can’t garner the plain, open, unqualified support of 218 US Representatives and 51 US Senators?

Why should ordinary Americans yield the extraordinary  powers and prerogatives war portends to politicians too craven to put the thing in writing and vote its passage?

No, I don’t believe requiring Congress to declare war before waging war will end war.

No, I don’t believe requiring Congress to declare war before waging war will make war less bloody or less horrifying or more humane.

But it might make them move a little more slowly and thoughtfully when it comes to condemning thousands, even millions, to violent death.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


CISA: Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Internet Liberty

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Well into the third decade of widely available Internet access for regular people, it’s getting more and more difficult to focus public attention on threats to our freedoms in cyberspace. We’re tired of having to constantly keep track of and squash the latest political and bureaucratic schemes to seize power over the Internet and what we do on it. And the politicians and bureaucrats are taking advantage of that fatigue, as we saw earlier this year when the Federal Communications Commission promulgated its “Net Neutrality” coup.

Now CISA (the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) looks to be within weeks or even days of final passage by Congress. The US House of Representatives has already passed one version of the bill, and the Senate followed suit with another on October 27. Once the two houses reconcile their slightly different bills and take another vote, CISA will be on its way to President Obama’s desk for signature.

It’s time to shake off the fatigue, folks. Time to get on the horn to “your” congresscritters and tell them, in no uncertain terms, that you expect them to vote “no” on CISA when it comes back to the House and Senate floors for final approval.

The conceit behind CISA is that it’s a “cybersecurity” bill which merely makes it easier for tech companies to “share” information with the federal government as a way of countering cyber-attacks.  Good for everyone. Adequate privacy protections. Yada yada yada.

If you believe that line, I’d like to talk with you about a friend of mine who died recently — a Nigerian general who left $10 million in a bank account, and I could use your help getting it out.

If you’re interested in cybersecurity, the LAST entity you want to trust with ANY of your information, EVER, is the federal government. Remember, these are the guys whose Office of Personnel Management got hacked earlier this year, exposing the personal information of more than 20 million people … that we know of. The feds are to cybersecurity what Inspector Clouseau is to police procedure.

The real purpose of CISA is to make it easier for companies who cooperate with the illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying operations of the National Security Agency and other government agencies to get away with doing so. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else.

CISA is the latest in a long line of actual and attempted Internet power grabs by the DC crowd. I know you’re tired of fighting these outrages. I know you’re tired of even hearing about them. But it’s important. Let’s put CISA down like the rabid dog it is, and put the politicians on notice that while we may be tired, we’re not asleep.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


Crowdsourcing: The Best Defense

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Sometimes unfortunate events spark good ideas. Ask restaurateur Art Bouvier. After his Cajun eatery, Papa Roux, fell victim to an allegedly armed robber, he decided to offer a 25% discount to customers who show their concealed carry permits.

“I don’t see that it makes anything worse by letting those people think twice about coming in here and thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, there might be people in here that do have weapons,'”  Bouvier told Indinapolis’s Channel 8 News.

Smart guy. Many restaurants and other “open to the public” establishments have taken, in recent years, to asking or even demanding that their customers go unarmed and defenseless. While it’s a property owner’s right to decide the rules for his property, business owners who truly care about their customers’ safety shouldn’t announce policies that amount, in effect, to “come on, hoodlums, do as you like — no one to stop you here.”

21st century America has become far too reliant on government personnel for security, and far too afraid of non-government personnel with guns. Our history tells us that those are both moves in the wrong direction.

In the late 19th century, the per capita homicide rate in Dodge City, gunfight capital of the “wild west,” was lower than that of Boston, where early victim disarmament — “gun control” — laws were already in effect. What was true then remains true today. The homicide capitals of the nation are the cities with the strictest “gun control” schemes. Conversely, violent crime rates are lowest where the right to keep and bear arms is most respected as a matter of law.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Papa Roux is a popular eating spot with law enforcement personnel, whose presence might deter armed criminals. But police aren’t always there.  And when they don’t happen to be dropping by for lunch, as the old saying goes, “when seconds count, police are always minutes away.”

As my old friend and ideological mentor L. Neil Smith writes, “crime of any kind, whether it kills six people or six thousand, represents a diffuse threat, and can only be countered with a diffuse defense.” An armed populace makes violent behavior more risky and therefore less likely, While increasing our chances of effectively countering it when it does appear.

Crowdsourcing works for security as it does for everything else. And next time I’m in Indianapolis, I know where I’ll be dining out.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.