Monday, March 5, 2007

War Powers

Barack Obama has put forth some suggestions on benchmarks for troop drawdowns, sparking debate over Congressional war powers. Arguments are being made that Congress has "raise army" powers, but not management powers, which reside with the executive. The flip side is that the courts have already ruled on Congressional actions all the way back to which ports ships could sail to or from in actions against the French.
Juxtaposed to the discussion this week is the "discovery" in the Patriot Act of the executive's new power to appoint interim US Attorneys indefinitely and without confirmation, and therefore oversight.
It's time for Congress to start fine-tooth combing these executive overreaches and start holding folks accountable. Nobody's quite sure who at DOJ asked for, or who wrote, this change into the Patriot Act. But Congress had better own up to the fact they let it slide. Surely some staffer somewhere read the whole text.
Next to attack will be the interrogation and incarceration overreaches, because Congress certainly has the power to name the terms of war--including whether the executive can hold "combatants" so long that their brains are too fried to offer any meaningful intel.

No comments: