The War Power Belongs Only to Congress

The War Power Belongs Only to Congress
by JBS President John F. McManus

I happened to be reading a New York Times editorial a few days ago. In it, I was both pleased and surprised to find the following important statement about congressional dereliction of duty:

… by abdicating one of their most important responsibilities under the Constitution, which gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war, lawmakers are unwisely emboldening the executive branch to overstep its powers.

The US heads to the UN when it seeks approval for war, instead of Congress declaring war. Be sure to contact Congress to withdraw from the United Nations (Image from www.jbs.org). 

That sums up what has happened. But the Times editorialist didn’t go back as far as he (or she) should have gone in history. Pointing only to the 1973 passage of the War Powers Act wasn’t enough. Our nation went to war in Korea in 1950 without a declaration of war. Though a cease-fire was arranged in 1953, the state of war in Korea still exists and shooting could break out again at any time. Approximately 30,000 U.S. troops are kept on station in South Korea.

December 1941 marked the last time Congress used its power to declare war, first against Japan and then days later against Germany and Italy when these two nations declared war on the U.S. No one should ignore the fact that World War II happened to be the last war our nation won. We didn’t win in Korea, or Vietnam, or Desert Storm. And we’re not winning in Afghanistan after 13-plus years of struggle.

When a few senators challenged President Truman’s 1950 high-handed decision to send troops to Korea, the president insisted, “We’re not at war; this is a police action.” He got away with skirting the clear intention of the Constitution regarding war-making.

In 1973, after several years of sacrificing thousands of lives and spending billions of dollars in Vietnam, Congress decided to challenge the presidential usurpation of its exclusive war-making power. The lawmakers passed the “War Powers Act” that gave the president the right to use America’s forces without declaring war, requiring only that the president seek a congressional OK to continue using troops. However, whenever troops are already actively involved in combat somewhere, it is certain that very few in Congress would cease funding their mission. The War Powers Act didn’t help the situation; it merely gave members of Congress the opportunity to say they did something.

Our nation’s forces are now employed for humanitarian missions, removal of unfriendly leaders of governments, special missions, etc. All such deployments are initiated by the President acting with illicit regal-like power. Meanwhile, the sole reason for the very existence of our nation to have a military arm – protection of the lives, liberty, and property of the American people – has been forgotten.

Of course, the New York Times never mentioned the seeking of the United Nations (UN) or North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) authorization for the many uses of the U.S. military. When permission to use forces is sought not from Congress, but from elsewhere, the U.S. has placed itself in a subordinate position. The Korean War was fought under authorization supplied by the UN. Authorization supplied by the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (a duplicate of NATO and, like it, a “regional arrangement” authorized by the UN) resulted in the Vietnam War. Desert Storm was authorized by the UN. And the Afghan struggle has been placed in the hands of NATO. The U.S. military has become the UN’s force. This is terribly wrong.

Correcting this situation requires repeal of the War Powers Act and withdrawal from the United Nations, two steps never mentioned by the New York Times. Contact your Congressman to tell them to Get Us Out of the United Nations!

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Political Correctness Gone Amuck

Political Correctness Gone Amuck
by JBS President John F. McManus

Any mention of persecuting Christians spurs thoughts of the crimes of Nero or Diocletian or one of the other Roman emperors. In portions of today’s world, murdering or persecuting those who won’t budge from their religious beliefs has again become common.

In the early years of the 20th century, Christians made up 14 percent of what is generally referred to as the Middle East. Today, they number only four percent. There were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq in 2003, mostly Catholics. Today, more than a million have either fled or been killed. Even in Israel where Christ lived and died, the number has shrunk dramatically. In Egypt, Coptic Christians who formerly were left alone to enjoy freedom are being targeted. They live uneasily under the new government and the rise of Muslim Brotherhood power. Elsewhere, non-Christian Yazidis have been brutalized for their beliefs.

Catholic Fontbonne Academy (Photo by Patriarca12 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons).

What about America? Christians themselves aren’t being physically abused but their beliefs are under attack. In a Boston suburb, a man applied for a job at Catholic Fontbonne Academy. During a July interview, he matter-of-factly responded affirmatively to the requirement that all school employees were expected to be “ministers of the mission.” The mission, of course, was to uphold Catholic values and beliefs. Having assented to that rule and other requirements, he was given the job.

Later that same day, this man listed his “husband” as an emergency contact. Within days, he was told that he could not be hired because his relationship with a male partner was incompatible with Catholic beliefs and principles. With lawyers supplied by the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, he sued Fontbonne claiming that he was being denied the job because of his sexual orientation and had suffered harm as a result.

The case went to court and Superior Court Associate Justice Douglas Wilkins ruled that the school violated a Massachusetts anti-discrimination law. Judge Wilkins stated that the school was not exempt from the law because it was a religious institution, and that it had no constitutional protections regarding the matter.

The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts protested on the basis of religious liberty found in the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. Even more, the League pointed to the Massachusetts Constitution that guarantees not only freedom to worship as one chooses, but also affirms the right of religious institutions to govern their internal affairs free of state interference.

Catholic Action League Director C. J. Doyle noted that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had stated in his dissent in the Obergefell decision that the high court’s approval of same gender marriage would have “potentially ruinous consequences for religious liberty.” Doyle also pointed to the “charade-like character” of the religious exemption to the Massachusetts gay rights law. An appeal is expected.

Forcing a Catholic institution in America to hire a man who admits to holding views that openly mock Catholic principles is certainly not the equivalent of what has transpired for Christians in Roman times or in today’s Middle East. But Catholics can wonder if their rights and those of others will be further eroded in the coming days and years. Will the nearly insane political correctness already sweeping through America lead to physical violence? Or will America turn back to the sanity and good will that marked the nation a mere 50 years ago? Time will tell.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.


Refugees: America Not Being Given the Whole Story

Refugees: America Not Being Given the Whole Story
by JBS President John F. McManus

Not everyone is burying details surrounding the refugee crisis and the potential for terrorism. But there surely are some potentially dangerous ideas afloat.

First, President Obama wants to welcome thousands of Syrian refugees to America. Who decides whether someone is a legitimate refugee merely seeking safety and is not a potential mass murderer? The answer is the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Anyone from anywhere who seeks refugee status goes to a UN official who relies for his determination on a set of qualifications contained in the 1951 Refugee Convention. How many Americans know of this arrangement?

America is not being given the whole story in regards to refugees (Image by UNHCRflag.svg: *UN_refugee.jpg: UNHCR derivative work: Kashmiri uploaded by: Montgomery 16:26, 14 July 2011 (UTC) (UNHCRflag.svg) [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons).

Not only does UNHCR decide whether this or that individual meets the UN’s criteria, the world body then decides which country should accept them. Are some being directed by the UN to go to America? Will any be terrorists? No U.S. authority knows. As in so many other matters, the UN is the behind-the-scenes controller of the situation. Mr. Obama certainly is aware of this arrangement but he’s not telling us the whole story. Will thorough background checks be made on UN-designated refugees? No problem, says the President. But not everyone believes that either.

Among the needed perspective that some are trying to convey is Congressman Peter King (R-N.Y.), the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. A few days prior to the San Bernardino rampage where 14 were killed and 21 injured in what was clearly a terrorist attack, he stated on the MSNBC morning news show, “I am extremely concerned. What the President is telling us is not true.” King insisted that those who would check incoming refugees simply don’t have the capability of determining whether a refugee might be a terrorist. He wrote to both the President and House Speaker Ryan with a plea for terminating acceptance of Syrian refugees until there is “an effective vetting and monitoring process that insures our national security.” He based his concerns on classified briefings he and others in the Congress attended.

King is not alone. As recently as October 22nd, FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the Bureau is unable to vet the Syrians the President wants to welcome. He told lawmakers, “If someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity – or their interests – reflected in our database, we can query our database until the cows come home, but there will be nothing show up because we have no record of them.”

What concerns Director Comey is the inability of his people to know of any terrorist inclinations in such persons as Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik who killed 14 and wounded 21 in San Bernardino. Neither of these two was on anyone’s watch list, including the FBI’s. Could a similarly inclined person escape detection by posing as a Syrian refugee? Of course!

Finally, another dangerous idea floating around is one of gun control. Immediately after the carnage in San Bernardino, the New York Times placed its editorial comment not on the Editorial Page but on Page One. This admittedly remarkable departure from normal hasn’t been done at the Times since 1920. Labeled “The Gun Epidemic,” the December 5th editorial called for more gun controls, meaning more cancellation of the God-given right to be armed.

Washington D.C. police chief Cathy Lanier had already registered a “politically incorrect” recommendation during her pre-San Bernardino appearance on the CBS 60 Minutes program. If faced with a gunman, she said it would be a good idea to have a gun to use against a terrorist or a crazed individual. She gave her advice as follows: “If you’re in a position to try and take the gunman down – to take the gunman out – it’s the best option for saving lives before the police get there.” While her rhetoric is to be commended, her record of approving concealed carry permits in DC appears to be lacking.

Mr. Obama’s position is totally wrong and the American people had better realize how wrong he is. Congressman King, FBI Director Comey, and DC Chief of Police Lanier should be applauded for making extremely good sense.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and now President. He remains the Society’s chief media representative throughout the nation and has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs. Mr. McManus is also Publisher of The New American magazine and author of a number of educational DVDs and books.