Atelier N°15, article 34
James A. Stevenson
On Making vs. Declaring War,  Part I

 In this first of a three (or possibly four) part essay, it will be argued that the operational needs of powerful institutions and structures in what is referred to as monopoly capitalism  along with the emergence of what historian William Appleman Williams long ago characterized as the U.S. informal, open door empire necessarily obliterated the Constitutional distinction which the U.S. "founding fathers" drew between making and declaring war.  The original distinction between the two means of getting into war started changing because large scale industrialization after the Civil War created a productive system that was far greater in its capacity to produce goods than was the capacity of the consumers in the home market to absorb those goods.  So, those powerful capitalists (e.g., Andrew Carnegie, John P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller), who owned or controlled much of that surplus and the means for producing it, had to find a profitable outlet for that surplus in foreign lands.  More importantly, when the material foundation, structural conditions, and fundamental needs of a society are transformed in such a swift and profound way as had occurred in the U.S. in a mere three or four decades after the Civil War — going from a basically agrarian and small-scale capitalist socio-economic system to an industrial and large-scale, corporate-dominated system — then so, too, are the society’s operating principles.  Accordingly, after an overview of what this currently means in this first essay, parts two, three, and possibly four will address some of the major events and state proclamations which reflected and assisted in this U.S. transformation.  These are the major events, actions, and assertions which first blurred and, then, virtually eradicated the founders’ original distinction between making and declaring war.  First, however, it is important to analyze some of the major political and structural conditions that have enabled the present day U.S. policy makers to bring us to the brink of yet another in a long string of undeclared wars.  Parenthetically, in regard to current war-urging U.S. policy makers, it is noteworthy that, according to combat veteran and much decorated former Army Colonel David Hackworth, "not even one national politician’s son is on the list to take that dangerous trip to Iraq."
Now, about the making of that looming U.S.-Iraq war and the possibility of thousands of people being killed, wounded, and rendered homeless with a lack of food, water and medical resources,  it seems perversely academic to raise the question of what the "founding fathers" of the U.S. Constitution intended when they gave the U.S. Congress the power to declare war.  But, of course, the issue has been academic since the advent of the U.S. led and created global free market after the Second World War.  That is the period when U.S. policy makers and presidents began to routinely make overt wars and numerous foreign military interventions without troubling to get any Congressional declaration of war.  Citing a listing by the Federation of American Scientists of these overt military operations (not including U.S. covert actions), the iconoclastic writer Gore Vidal charts at least 200 operations between the Berlin Airlift of 1948 and Kosovo of 2002.   Many of these operations were initially ushered in during the Cold War and when Democratic and Republican Congressional politicians wanted to be perceived as patriotically non-partisan.  And this Congressional practice of reflexively supporting Executive initiated military operations has been buttressed by a judicial branch that has either consistently condoned or ignored the whole matter.
No wonder, then, that some say that the manner in which war and peace has been decided in the U.S. since 1945 is illustrative of the fact that the political checks-and-balance system of the U.S. is largely a myth.  After all, all the branches of government are highly politicized and primarily responsive to needs and dictates of an elite wealthy and corporate class, including those from the powerful military-industrial complex.  Accordingly, since Americans live within a political economy which is shaped by those elite interests, the national interest is usually taken to be what leading policy makers consider will be that which best serves the wellbeing and power of the most wealthy property-owners and large-scale corporations in society.  Most recently, authors Kevin Phillips (Wealth and Democracy, 2002), Greg Palast (The Best Democracy Many Can Buy, 2001), and Mark Green (Selling Out:  How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation and Betrays Our Democracy, 2002) have provided much evidence to help verify this assertion.
Such authors would be unlikely to register any surprise that the U.S. Executive and Legislative branches — whatever their major party composition — have abandoned one of the most basic principles which the founders believed would separate a republic governed by the sovereign people from that of a monarchy governed by hereditary or divine right rule.  That republican principle was the principle of providing the sovereign people, through their elected representatives in Congress, the power to declare and finance war.  In his splendid little book concerning this issue, Constitutional and civil liberties lawyer John J. Abt summarized the prevailing opinion of the delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention as follows:
"In its original draft, the Constitution authorized Congress to ‘make’ rather than ‘declare’ war.  [James] Madison’s notes of the Constitutional Convention] on this draft show that [Charles] Pinckney of South Carolina opposed vesting the war power in Congress since, ‘Its proceedings were too slow.’  [Pierce] Butler of South Carolina proposed ‘vesting the power in the President, who will have all the requisite qualities and will not make war but when the Nation will support it.’  [Then, as a rejoinder to these views, Elbridge] Gerry of Massachusetts expostulated that he ‘never expected to hear in a republic a motion to empower the Executive alone to declare war.’  [Oliver] Ellsworth of Connecticut added that, ‘It should be more easy to get out of war than into it.’  [George] Mason of Virginia expressed his agreement.  He ‘was against giving the power of war to the Executive, because not safely to be trusted with it. . . .  He [i.e., Mason] was for clogging rather than facilitating war; but for facilitating peace.’"
After this exchange of views, according to Madison’s notes, Madison and Gerry reconciled these opposing views by proposing "‘to insert ‘declare,’ striking out ‘make’ war; leaving to the Executive the power to repel sudden attacks’ [and] their proposal was adopted with only one dissent."
Consequently, the actual Constitution gave to Congress the powers:
"To declare War . . .
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces . . ."
The war powers of the president, on the other hand, "are only those which may be implied from the following"  Constitutional provisions:
"The executive Power shall be vested in a President . . .
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy . . ."
As Abt concludes, the "debate in the Constitutional Convention shows that the intent of these provisions was to give Congress the exclusive right to initiate a war while reserving to the President, as commander in chief, authority to take emergency measures to meet an invasion."   Confirming this conclusion and despite being one of the strongest advocates for a supremely powerful and long-serving Executive authority, Convention delegate Alexander Hamilton later forcefully explained the founders’ intention to deprive the Executive of the capacity to carry the nation into war as if he had kingly powers.  In the Federalist Papers promoting the ratification of the Constitution, Hamilton writes:  "The president is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States.  In this respect his authority would be nominally the same as the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it.  It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first general and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies -- all of which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature."   Such was the crucial Constitutional distinction that the framers of the U.S. Constitution drew between making and declaring war.  And it is a distinction that has not only been eclipsed by the advent of advanced corporate capitalism’s imperatives but also by what is tantamount to a Legislative branch abdication and an Executive branch usurpation of original Constitutional powers.
Although certain of these processes underlying that institutional reaction were underway well before the end of World War II, they really took off in 1947.  As Vidal points out in his most recent collection of writings, Dreaming War, the 1947 birth of the U.S. "National Security State"  meant that it would begin calling all the important shots.   Embodying powerful elements of all three federal branches as well as many important personages from the corporate and wealth elite, the National Security State reflects the predominate economic interests in the U.S. political economy.  There, of course, is nothing new in this observation.  The structure and operation of the system was long ago demonstrated by the eminent sociologist C. Wright Mills when he wrote his classic study The Power Elite.
  In another splendid book, The Causes of World War Three, Mills not only brilliantly describes the structural impulse which has driven past and current U.S. policy makers to make war, but he accounts for the absence of any serious debate by Congress on any fundamental matter of tremendous military or economic significance.  His basic analysis is as relevant today as it was 45 years ago.  So, regarding the structural needs of an advanced capitalist system, Mills presciently writes:  "The aim of capitalist imperialism is, at first to open up markets for the export of ‘surplus’ consumer goods, and to use the colonial country as a producer of raw materials which the industrial nation [e.g. the U.S.] needs in its manufacturing. . . . [and] in due course . . . the backward region becomes a sphere for the investment of capital [e.g., energy/oil companies] accumulated by the advanced nation.  [But] only when the state will assure the capitalist that it will support and protect him can such risky investments be undertaken on any scale.  [Then] after the investment is made there is naturally an expectation or a demand that it be backed up politically [i.e., including militarily].  [And] only a highly organized capitalist group can expect to exert such influence within and upon the state.  For example, the oil corporations."
Turning, then, to years of Congressional non-decision-making and rubber-stamping of Executive war, Mills explains why it is ridiculous to imagine that any real power over such a matter still resides in Congress.  After pointing out that the U.S. "system of [domestic] power is usually interpreted as a moving balance of many competing interests," Mills notes that such a belief "confuse[s] the present era with an earlier time and [confuses] its top [of the power system] and bottom with its middle levels."   While Congress, as Mills demonstrates, remains a forum and arena for dividing the "existing pie" among parochial groups and interests like those of white collar workers, wage laborers, farmers, and small businesses, it is at a middle level of power.  "This middle level," Mills writes, "is better understood as an affair of entrenched and provincial demands than as a center of national decision."   Meanwhile, at the top of the system of power are the "expanded, centralized, and interlocking hierarchies [i.e., corporate, military, governmental/bureaucratic, media] over which the power elite presides [and these] have encroached upon the old balance and relegated them to the middle level."   It is at this top level that "those decisions hav[ing] to do with all the issues of war and peace" as well as those having to do with economic "slump and poverty and ‘economic development,’ which are now so very much problems of international scope" are made.
Therefore, Mills explains that contemporary "politics . . . is not a forum in which the big decisions of national and international life are debated.  Such a debate is not carried on by nationally responsible parties . . .   There are no such parties in the United States.  More and more, fundamental issues never come to any point of decision before Congress, much less before the electorate in party campaigns."   And, so, Mills declares that Congress "abdicated all debate concerning events and decisions which surely bordered on war [e.g., the 1955 Quemoy crisis with Communist China, the 1958 Lebanon crisis in the Middle East and a 1958 crisis in the Far East]."   "Such decisions," he adds with a view that holds for the present as well, "now regularly by-pass the Congress and are never clearly focused issues for public decision."   After all, we, he writes, are at a stage in U.S. history when "bureaucratic administration replaces electoral policies; the maneuvering of cliques replaces the open clash of parties.  Corporation men move into the political directorate, and the decline of Congressional politicians to the middle levels of power is accelerated. . . .  [Thus] behind the increased official secrecy great decisions are made without benefit of public or even Congressional debate."
With what may stand as his final words on this topic, Mills draws a devastating conclusion about the reality of democracy in America.  He writes, "The idea that this society is a balance of power requires us to assume that the units in balance are of more or less equal power and that they are truly independent of one another."   These assumptions, Mills notes, are factually erroneous.   Nevertheless, as he concludes, "Such images of democracy are still used as working justifications of power in America [i.e., ideological mystification].  [Still,] surely we must all now recognize such descriptions as more fairy tale than useful approximation.  The issues that now shape man’s fate are neither raised nor decided by any public at large.  The idea of a society that is at bottom composed of publics and run by publics is an ideal and, as well, the assertion of a legitimization masquerading as fact [e.g., an ideology]."
Naturally, given such a distribution of real power and political decision-making, as described by Mills and others, on the fundamental issues related to the U.S. political economy and matters of war, it is foolish to expect a serious Congressional debate on the issue of going to war against the current Iraqi regime and its tormented people.  Moreover, as Sidney Lens, Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, and other thinkers have detailed in their studies, such an expectation and debate is rendered moot by the fact that U.S. big business institutions and the wealthy corporate class have an extraordinary ability to "manufacture [public] consent" in favor of their viewpoint, interests, and goals.   Indeed, just as Karl Marx utilized some of the information, insights, and analyses presented in the thinking of the classical British economists such as Adam Smith and David Ricardo, so, too, have analysts like Chomsky and Herman used the ideas, definitions, and explanations provided by, among others, such thinkers as Harold D. Lasswell, Robert Brady, and Edward L. Bernays.  In fact, as one of America’s foremost public relations and marketing/advertising experts in the first half of the 20th century and beyond, Bernays, especially, contributed a fount of ideas that thoroughly buttress Chomsky’s and Herman’s contentions about an elite shaping of the public mindset that pervades U.S. society.
Indeed, Bernays’s own words on the topic of an elite’s need for and practice of "engineering consent" are in many ways more powerful than Chomsky’s and Herman’s because, unlike them, Bernays is a leading teacher of those who admire and advocate such an elite indoctrination and manipulation of the public’s thinking/attitude.  His words, while ostensibly otherwise, are in the nature of a how-to-do-it-book for the anti-democratic minded elite.  Thus, in 1952, he referred to the practice of "leaders" [i.e., business, political, and socio-cultural elites] [who] "with the aid of technicians[,] . . . have been able to accomplish purposefully and scientifically the ‘engineering of consent.’"   This means, as Bernays writes, the "application of scientific principles and tried practices in the task of getting people to support ideas and programs."   Indeed, Bernays states that "The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process," and while "the consent should be based on the complete understanding of those whom the engineering attempts to win over," such is not always necessary because "it is sometimes impossible to reach joint decisions based on an understanding of facts by all the people."   And, so, according to this guru of mass thought control, indoctrination, propaganda, and Madison Avenue techniques of public relations, we slip from an open democratic process to the advent of covert, totalitarian-like manipulation of people under the rubric of serving democracy.  Bernays explains, "With pressing crisis and decisions to be faced, often a leader cannot wait for the people to arrive at even general understanding, [so] leaders must play their part in leading the public through the engineering of consent [i.e., manipulate the populace with media techniques and technologies for goals that the leaders want to achieve]."   In fact, this is done pervasively and constantly for, as Bernays admits, "Today it is impossible to overestimate the importance of engineering consent; it affects almost every aspect of our daily lives. . . .  [Indeed,] it is among our most valuable contributions to the efficient functioning of modern society."
From this point, Bernays proceeds to explain that any effective control of the populace by "leaders" includes making use of the "motives of the public."  These "motives," as Bernays defines them, are "the active conscious and subconscious pressures concocted by the force of desire."  And those which "psychologists have isolated" are the ones which manipulative leaders must target with their "compelling appeals [i.e., propaganda]."   The drives underlying "motives," he says, include: "self-preservation, ambition, pride, hunger, love of family and children, patriotism, imitativeness, the desire to be a leader, love of play . . . and other drives."   Using an awareness of these drives, the leader’s propagandist can "put his case in terms that will so appeal to fundamental motives as to get the attention and support" desired.
Then, shrewdly, in some of his final advice for controlling the dominant public outlook, Bernays recommends that "symbols" are the "currency of propaganda," for they are "a shortcut to understanding and to action."   With "symbols," "planning," "timing," and tailored messages to different audiences,  leaders can do much to control public attitudes but to be most effective, writes Bernays, they "must create news."   "Primarily," he writes, "the engineer of consent must create news. . . .  The developing of events and circumstances that are not routine is one of the basic functions of the engineer of consent."   Moreover, states Bernays, in a way that throws a light upon current U.S. leaders’ continual demonization of those with whom they differ, "Newsworthy events, involving people, usually do not happen by accident.  They are planned deliberately to accomplish a purpose, to influence ideas and actions."
As Bernays caps off his advice to "leaders" on manipulating public attitudes, he enlightens all who can understand about the reality of modern thought shaping in America:  "People translate an idea into action suggested by the idea itself, whether it is ideological, political, or social. . . .  But such results do not just happen.  In a democracy they can be accomplished most effectively by the engineering of consent."   Such, then, is the art of elite manipulation and indoctrination of the public outlook, according to Bernays.
Probably aware of Bernays’s teachings and directly relating them to the issue of military spending and war, military-industrial analyst Sidney Lens described the same phenomenon of thought creation by the military-industrial complex more than thirty years ago.  He noted that, in order to sell their weaponry, U.S. arms merchants were simultaneously engaged in the "synthetic manufacture of public opinion" and their lethal wares.  And this is done, Lens declared, with the "ceaseless bombardment of the public with propaganda that . . . is partly paid by the Pentagon, as well as [its] allies [i.e., "other segments of the military industrial complex"] who depend on it.  [Moreover], much of the advertisement for weapons procurement," he continued, is "directly or indirectly" paid for "with government funds."
Now, this is an obviously lucrative practice for those who sell weaponry because the U.S. taxpayers not only get to pay for part of the advertising propaganda that induces them to accept the purchase of expensive weaponry, but they also get to pay for the weaponry that is sold by those who created the propaganda in the first place.  And to this double whammy there is added the cloak of official secrecy which shields defense and intelligence agency matters from the public view.   And that secrecy enables elite-serving policy makers to engage in even more gratuitous manipulations of the public’s thinking.  In fact, this practice is so well known that Robert Higgs, a defense analyst writing for the conservative think tank Cato Institute, candidly acknowledges its existence with these frank words:  "Manipulation of information is [not only] central to what modern governing elites do, [but] on defense-related and foreign policy matters, the scope for information management and opinion leadership by the national security elite is much wider."
Now, given this elite domination of the information, non-information, misinformation, and disinformation which flows into the heads of the U.S. public and Congresspeople on matters of national security, is it any wonder that, once "Osama bin Laden proved harder to find than a weapon of mass destruction in Baghdad"  the Bush II Administration had to switch the public focus to a "regime change" in Iraq?   Following all that cowboy macho talk about gettin ‘em "dead or alive," it was down-right embarrassing for people to remember that the sheriff and posse had failed in their primary mission of rounding-up the "evil-doer."  And, so, with the major media’s help, there occurred a "turn in plot."   This was done, according to Canadian journalist Linda McQuaig, "without a [tough] question" being raised about "Saddam’s use of chemical weapons against his own Kurdish population . . . when Saddam was still a [de facto] U.S. ally,"  and his government had been taken off (and remained off until 1990) of the U.S. State Department’s list of states sponsoring terrorism.   More importantly, she adds, "the [mainstream] U.S. media have filtered out anything that could lead viewers to question why so many people around the world feel such bitterness toward Washington."   So, she explains, "even after a full year of media ‘analysis’ of 9/11, Americans still have little knowledge of brutal U.S. foreign interventions . . .  Instead, the [mainstream] media pretty much accepted Bush’s [simplistic] explanation that those who hate the U.S. are simply jealous of its freedoms.  And the media, following the White House script, consistently presents U.S. actions abroad as well-meaning . . . rather than [as many others may see it] aggressive attempts to advance U.S. economic and political power."   And, now, as she sardonically writes, "Enter Iraq — so oil-rich, so under the thumb of a cartoon-style bad guy, so defenseless.  Now there’s a war worth fighting."   Except, as she rather sorrowfully notes, "it takes two to make a war" and "what the US is about to do in Iraq is more like shooting fish in a barrel.  [But], of course, we’re told exactly the opposite — that Iraqi strongman Saddam threatens the world."
So, in highlighting the major, mainstream media’s deference to prevailing authority, McQuaig once again draws our attention to both the influence of propaganda and the National Security State.  And once those influences are combined with the actual distribution of elite decision-making in the U.S. "system of power," we can see why we can expect only the rarest of moments when a majority of Congresspeople will oppose U.S. military interventionism in weaker foreign lands.  After all, the historical record shows that Congress has condoned, remained in silent support, or cheered on, all but a few of the scores of U.S. military interventions that have occurred since 1945.  As for the larger U.S. public, while it has been basically compliant or complacent about these many military actions as well as the many additional covert interventions that have come to light over the years, the public also has been kept largely ignorant or uncritically aware of such operations by the mainstream U.S. media outlets.  And, yet, despite these many obstacles, the U.S. people have periodically displayed a remarkable independence of outlook.  "You" simply "can’t fool all the people, all the time," as Abraham Lincoln did not say.  Thus, having been beaten over the head for almost half a year by the Bush II’s Administration’s incessant scare tactic propaganda regarding Saddam Hussein, a Newsweek poll reported on January 18, 2003, that "60 percent of the [U.S.] populace favors waiting longer to find a peaceful alternative" to an invasion of Iraq.
But, the oligarchic nature of real power in the U.S. political economy does not oblige those dominating the U.S. National Security State to subordinate themselves to the popular will.  Besides, as previously stated, those in that position of power can easily utilize a variety of means and methods to manipulate public opinion into the channels that they desire.  Then, too, while public opinion may be ignored, the structural dictates of the existing capitalist system cannot be ignored by policy makers who have the job of working to insure the health of the that system and its most important economic institutions and interests.  And, as economist Douglas Dowd succinctly explains, "to prosper, even to survive, capitalism . . . has had to satisfy its strongest imperative:  to expand — ‘vertically’ through capital accumulation (net real investment) within each national economy and ‘horizontally’ through increased trade and investment in a buoyant world economy,"  so large scale "corporate money is forever on the side of foreign adventure."
These are the hard realities that rendered nonsensical a recent petition that was sponsored and signed by some U.S. historians.  It was entitled "Petition to Congress:  A Vote Needs to Be Taken on War with Iraq."  It was circulated before September 13, 2002, and by that date it had nearly 1,300 signatures.  Two key passages in the petition read:  "We . . . urge our members of Congress to assume their Constitutional responsibility to debate and vote on whether or not to declare war on Iraq. . . . We ask our senators and representatives to do this because Congress has not asserted its authority to declare war for over half a century leaving the president solely in control of war powers to the detriment of our democracy and a clear violation of the Constitution."   Now, since the explanatory introduction to the petition stated, "We understand that this may not stop war with Iraq — we are not sure anything we can — but it does provide us with a chance to stand up for the fundamental Constitutional principles of legislative decision on war-making,"  the petition was ostensibly an anti-war petition.  But considering what has been argued in this essay, the petition’s actual thrust was just the opposite because its proposal was tantamount to calling for a Congressional debate leading only to an inevitable declaration of war against Iraq.  For everyone, except, perhaps, some naïve historians, must know that the Executive branch has demonstrated, for almost sixty years, that it can readily orchestrate a Congressional debate on war with a result that is favorable to the Executive’s demand for war.
So, this particular petition — contrary to its apparently anti-war motivation — would only have led to a Congressional declaration of war against Iraq.  And that is something, given the popular U.S. penchant for unconditional surrender and total war, that would be far worse for the Iraqi people than an undeclared and un-debated Executive war.  This is so because such an Executive-waged war is likely to have much less legitimacy, be more quickly criticized by the people, and, in the event that such a war begins to go more badly than expected for the U.S., it would be more quickly disparaged.  In other words, the best anti-war petition that sympathetic U.S. historians could have possibly signed would have been the one that opposes all Congressional debate on the issue entirely.  By urging a boycott of phony Congressional debates on the Executive’s wars, eventually the emperor might not only be shown to have no clothes, but we might even find that we don’t even need any emperors at all.
In fact, as expected and under the implication of appearing unpatriotic or weak on terrorism if they voted "no," the Senate and House of Representatives "debated" and overwhelmingly passed a joint resolution (October 11, 2002) granting the president the authority to use "force" against Iraq, "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq."  In an open-ended and sweeping fashion, Congress declared, without any widely accepted or real convincing evidence of its assertions as of October 11, 2002:  "Whereas the United States is determined to prosecute the war on terrorism and Iraq’s ongoing support for international terrorist groups combined with its development of weapons of mass destruction in direct violation of its obligations under the 1991 cease-fire and other United Nations Security Council resolutions make clear that it is in the national security interest of the United States . . . that all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions be enforced, including though the use of force if necessary; . . .  Now, therefore, be in Resolved . . . The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to — (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq."
The Congressional resolution that Congress passed earlier in response to the attacks of 9/11 on U.S. soil ("Authorization for the Use of Military Force," Public Law 107-40) was characterized by similar sweeping language.  Its key passage reads:  "Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives [for the resolution in the Senate 98-0, in the House 420-1, on September 14, 2001] . . . That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force 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, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
Both of these resolutions, of course, contain language which declare that they are in legal and, therefore, Constitutional accord with the 1973 "War Powers Resolution" (Public Law 93-148) that presumably gives the president limited authority to use military force in specific situations and requires more congressional approval to continue military action.  Yet, while ostensibly intended as a Congressional mechanism which might interfer with the prerogatives of presidents to make foreign wars, the War Powers Act actually provides the Executive with considerable wriggle room to avoid those hindrances.  For instance, it contains crucial compromises of timing deadlines that warp its ostensible purpose strongly in favor of the Executive’s global task of maintaining and enlarging the global free market domain.  In that respect, the War Powers Act offers a Constitutional cloak for Congress’s abdication of its war powers to the Executive.  Because of the paramount U.S. role in maintaining an "open door" global market place, it is simply impossible to stop and declare war every time U.S. forces have to be deployed in combat situations.  Accommodating this need, the War Powers Act actually facilitates the war making power of U.S. presidents because it only requires that a president inform Congress within 48 hours if U.S. forces are "introduced — (1) into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances."   Then, the Act allows the president to keep those forces in combat for 60 days unless Congress "(1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) . . . [if the withdraw of U.S. forces is ordered and their safe removal requires additional time, the Act grants "an additional thirty days" for a total of 90 combat days].   Given such stipulations, it takes little imagination to see how difficult it would be for most Congresspeople to deny to any president the authority to continue on-going U.S. combat operations beyond 60 or 90 days after the president declares that nothing but an extension of time will guarantee the troops’ safety or the conclusion of a mission that is vital for the national security of the U.S.  Once U.S. troops are in serious combat, it is highly likely to be incredibly easy for any president to rally Congress and most of the U.S. populace to "support the troops" if the president desires to continue military operations beyond the limits of the War Powers Act.  It would be "easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle" than for Congress to refuse to do that.
Since the end of World War II, U.S. presidents have been rather like major CEOs who have been presiding over what is essentially a global military protectorate.  This role, on behalf of maintaining the global free market economy for both powerful national and, more recently, transnational business interests, has long necessitated a ready ability to threaten and carry out world wide U.S. military actions.  Now, such a global obligation and economic need is reflected in both the 2000, U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) Joint Vision 2020 military doctrine of "full-spectrum dominance" and the recent Bush II Administration’s 2002, National Security Strategy of the United States of America.  So, as a verification of that global obligation and economic need, consider these words from the DOD’s Joint Vision 2020:  "The ultimate goal of our military force is to accomplish the objectives directed by the National Command Authorities [i.e., read the National Security State, various Congresspeople and presidents].  For the joint force of the future [i.e., Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps], this goal will be achieved through full spectrum dominance — the ability of U.S. forces, operating unilaterally or in combination with multinational and interagency partners, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the full range of military operations. . . . Additionally, given the global nature of our interests and obligations, the United States must maintain its overseas present forces and the ability to rapidly project power worldwide in order to achieve full spectrum dominance" because "the global interests and responsibilities of the United States will endure, and there is no indication that the threats to those interests . . . will disappear."   Frankly stated, "full spectrum dominance" is simply the latest in a number of similar U.S. military strategies for global confrontation which stretch all the way back to former General Maxwell Taylor’s advocacy of the "flexible response" strategy (adopted by the John F. Kennedy Administration) in his 1959 book Uncertain Trumpet.
At present, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice proudly refers to "imperial America."   And she and others in the current circle of dominant Washington policy makers are updating U.S. military doctrine with the contentions and strategies that will enable them to undertake preemptive warfare against any state or non-state group that they — and they alone — declare is a threat.  So, in the imperious words of the Bush II Administration’s official 2002 National Security Strategy of the United States that has been produced by those neoconservative policy makers whom historian Arthur Schlesigner regards as a "crowd of loonies,"  we see their thinking and doctrine.  It reads, in part:  "We will disrupt and destroy . . . any terrorist or state sponsor of terrorism . . . by identifying and destroying the threat before it reaches our borders  . . . [and] we will not hesitate at act alone . . . by acting preemptively against such terrorists . . . and compelling states to accept their sovereign responsibilities."   Considering the outlook of the 2002 National Security Strategy, Dilip Hiro, a prudent scholar of the contemporary Middle East, writes, "‘The National Security Strategy of the United States,’ a document drafted by Condoleezza Rice, . . . ["seems"] to support the thesis that America has formally entered a neo-imperialist phase, where it seeks world wide dominance not only in diplomacy and military but also in culture."   Indeed, even George Orwell might blush at the National Security Strategy’s obfuscating double-think, and its doctrine of defense as a cloak for imperial pretensions.
 As things now stand, if current U.S. policy makers succeed in launching their desired war against Iraq and if they deem it a victory, they may well escalate their foreign interventionism, unilateralism, and military actions.  But, even if they momentarily curb their more bellicose policies, contemporary neoliberal capitalism, its policies, and its institutions will continue to exert a powerful pressure for future state support to protect and expand capitalist market domains.  So, the state which makes war, rather than declaring it, will not soon disappear.  Beyond that reality, neither will the particular socio-economic system that has given such a state its raison d’etre.  And, in the long run, the inexorable operations of that system may, in fact, be more destructive to global life, liberty, and security than the wars that it seems to generate.  For, as political scientist Michael Parenti has so wonderfully encapsulated the system’s intrinsic economic and ecological contradiction, "Capitalism’s modus operandi is to produce and sell an ever expanding supply of goods and services for ever greater profits.  But the [resources of the] earth [are] finite.  [And] so is its ability to absorb waste and toxins."   Thus, if people are to prevent the probable catastrophes that loom before them — including recurrent war and ecological disaster — then profound political, economic, social, and democratic reforms must be undertaken and, in a metaphorical sense, that means both declaring and making war on that which magnifies greed. (E)
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Notes On Making vs. Declaring War,  I

 The description and explanation of that stage in the development of a free market economy known as monopoly capitalism can be found in many works by, among others, such historians and economists as Eric Hobsbawn, Thomas McCormick, Philip Foner, Ernest Mandel, Paul M. Sweezy, and Douglas Dowd.  Of these authors, the latest work by Dowd (Capitalism and It’s Economics:  A Critical History, 2002) is, perhaps, the most readable and thorough in its treatment of the subject.  Dowd breaks monopoly capitalism into the phases of monopoly capitalism I and II.
 David Hackworth, "An army of many who can’t cut it," The Daily Citizen, 25 January 2003, 4A.
 Estimated casualties in a U.S.-Iraq war may  be found in a leaked. "strictly confidential," draft U.N. document entitled "Likely Humanitarians Scenarios" (dated December 10, 2002) and explanatory note that are found on the web site of the British-based "Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq (CASI)."  The document was written to help prepare for the contingency of safeguarding the wellbeing of a post-1991 Iraqi population (26.5 million) who, as it states, are "now totally dependant on the Government of Iraq for a majority, if not all, of their basic needs and . . . have no way of coping if they cannot access them [i.e., the resources necessary for life]."  It cites the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates of 100,000 direct casualties and 400,000 indirect casualties who could require medical treatment for "traumatic injuries." (para 23 and note 5).  The report notes that 4.2 million children under age five in the south and central regions of Iraq along with "one million pregnant and lactating women, plus a further two million IDPs [internally displaced persons]" will be "particularly vulnerable [to health risk] because of the likely absence of a functioning primary health care system in a post conflict situation" (para 24).  Then, the report states that, based on a United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimate, "some 3.03 million persons countrywide will be [in such] dire ["nutritional status"] . . . that they will require therapeutic feeding." (para 27 and note 7).  Similarly, the report cites United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates to declare, "It is estimated that there will eventually be some 900,000 Iraqi refugees requiring assistance [e.g., food, clothing, shelter and medical], of which 100,000 will be needed for immediate assistance [and] the number of refugees may in fact be much higher." (para 35 and note 13).  While this UN draft report can be found at CASI site of   HYPERLINK "" undocs/war021210.pdf  and at   HYPERLINK "" , only brief references as of January 13, 2003, to it have appeared in the British or U.S. major media (e.g., Daily Mirror, and Rupert Murdoch-owned British Times).  The explanatory note by CASI was written by Nathaniel Hurd and can be obtained at:    HYPERLINK "" war021210notes.html .
 A study by the London-based Medact Relief Organization (Medact) adds to this UN report by estimating that between 46,716 - 216,100 Iraqis would be killed in the initial U.S.-led conflict with the Iraqi regime and as many as 200,000 more would die as a result of post-war health problems.  This report was cited by Scott Taylor in The Ottawa Citizen, December 10, 2002 (pg. A7) under the heading "Aid agency fears post-war crisis." (Email attachment of 12/10/02).
As for estimates of the economic cost of the impending U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, one quite thorough discussion of the matter recently was provided by William D. Nordhaus in the December 2002 New York Review of Books.  He, noting that the "Bush administration has . . . produced [for the public] no official estimates of the cost," provided two basic scenarios and analyzed the costs (in 2002 U.S. dollars) on the basis of a "low estimate, for a short war, favorable to the U.S." at $121 billion and a "high estimate, for a protracted war, unfavorable to the U.S." at $1,595,000,000.  The U.S. of course, was assumed to be "victorious" in both scenarios.  Itemizing the cost in a table, Nordhaus created this breakdown of the figures:
Table 1
Estimate of the Cost of a Potential War in Iraq
(in billions of 2002 U.S. dollars)Low EstimateHigh EstimateDirect military spending
Follow-on Costs*          $50       $140Occupation and peacekeeping           75         500Reconstruction and nation-building           25         100Humanitarian assistance             1           10Impact on oil markets          -30         500Macroeconomic impact             0         345Total       $121    $1,595*These follow-on costs are the decade following the conflict (e.g., 2003-2012) in 2002 prices.  Negative numbers are benefits.  See William D. Nordhaus "Iraq:  The Economic Consequences of War," Table 1, and, The New York Review of Books, 5 December 2002, wysiwyg://1/http:// articles/15850.
 Gore Vidal, Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace:  How We Got to Be So Hated, New York:  Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2002, 22-41.
 In just a few vignettes verifying this reality, Mark Green recently noted in a Nation article, "The Evil of Access," that "ninety-four percent of the time, the bigger-spending Congressional candidate wins — and ninety-eight percent of House incumbents win.  The average price of a House seat rose," he adds, "from $87,000 in 1976 to $840,000 in 2000."  So, what does this buy?  Well, Green connects the dots for us when he writes that "Senators John Kerry [D-MA] and John McCain [R-AZ] were stunned when their efforts to increase fuel-efficiency standards failed 62 to 38 — with the average no-vote getting $18,000 in donations from auto companies and the average yes-vote only $6,000."  See Mark Green, "The Evil of Access," The Nation, 30 December 2002, no.23, vol. 275, 16.
 John J. Abt, Who Has the Right to Make War:  The Constitutional Crisis, New York:  International Pub., 1970, 14-15.
 Ibid., 15.
 The Constitution of the United States, Art. I, sec. 8, in George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi, America:  A Narrative History, Fifth Brief Ed., New York:  W.W. Norton, A19.
 Abt, 14.
 Ibid., Art. II, secs. 1, 2 in Tindall, A21, A22.
 Abt, 14.
 Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, The Federalist Papers, No. 69, New York:  Mentor Books, [1787-1788] 1961, 417-418.  Hamilton’s emphasis.
 Vidal lists some key components of the National Security State as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Department, and the National Security Council.  See Gore Vidal, Dreaming War:  Blood for Oil and the Cheney-Bush Junta, New York:  Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002, 103, 122.
Related to Vidal’s description of the National Security State, it is possible to quote and paraphrase the words of political scientist Michael Parenti and the anti-Marxist sociologist Max Weber to explain that the "state" (i.e., instrument of coercion and rule), as Parenti declares, is "a theoretical distinction about overlapped empirical actualities."  The Executive branch components of FBI, CIA, Defense Department, Office of Homeland Security, etc. are overlapped by various Congressional Committees that deal with military and intelligence oversight, foreign relations, judicial and executive appointments, and appropriations.  Likewise, the federal judicial branch is staffed with judges and prosecutors who are appointed by the Executive branch and approved and paid for by the Legislative branch.  Now, as Weber maintains, the essential task of the state is to protect the status quo of the dominant social order and to preserve law and order in that context.  Thus, the state, he pointed out, has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force and violence in society.  In addition, we may say that the U.S. state functions primarily to defend a social order which is shaped and maintained to serve the dominant economic interests of an elite strata of U.S. society.  Today, as the world’s only superpower, the U.S. state is taking the lead in extending and protecting what some call the free world, some call corporate globalization, some call the U.S., informal open door empire, and some call neo-imperialism.
 Ibid., 66.
 C. Wright Mills, The Causes of World War Three, New York:  Ballantine Books, 1958, 74.  Among numerous others, former British intelligence agent and novelist John le Carre points out that the current President George Walker Bush administration contains an inordinate number of former defense contractors and oil executives in the upper-most rungs of its decision makers.  Some of those, whom Vidal also includes in the "oil junta," are identified by le Carre as:  "George W. Bush, 1978-84:  senior executive, Arbusto Energy/Bush Exploration, an oil company; 1986-90:  senior executive of the Harken oil company.  Dick Cheney, 1995-2000:  chief executive of the Halliburton oil [service] company.  Condoleeza Rice, 1991-2000: senior executive with the Chevron oil company . . . and so on."  See John le Carre, "The United States of America has gone mad," 15 January 2003, Times Online, 2,   HYPERLINK ",,1-152-543296,00.html" printFriendly/0,,1-152-543296,00.html .  To these names, Vidal adds a couple of other high-ranking Bush administration figures in the "oil junta":  "Donald Rumsfeld of Occidental, and Gale Norton of BP Amoco."  See Vidal, Dreaming, 51.
 Mills, 39, 40.
 Ibid., 41.
 Ibid., 40.
 Ibid., 41.
 Ibid., 43.
 Ibid., 41.
 Ibid., 41-43.
 Ibid., 45.  An ideology may be defined as an integrated system of ideas, beliefs, and assumptions, not necessarily true or false, which serves the needs and interest of a particular group or class at a particular time in history.
In just one recent example verifying Mills’s analysis of the "power system" in operation and providing proof that Congress is not only at a secondary level of power but that the federal judiciary is also leagued with the other branches in serving the same power elite as the Executive and Legislative branches, Nation writer Matt Bivens offered this description of the way things work: "On December 30 [2002, Federal Judge John] Bates rejected a lawsuit brought by Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich and thirty-one other members of Congress who argued the president [i.e., Bush II] should have asked Congress for permission before tearing up an arms control treaty [i.e., the ABM treaty] [See Bush vs. Kucinich] . . . The Kucinich team’s logic was simple:  The Constitution says treaties, once approved by the Senate and White House, are federal law; and the president does not enjoy the power to repeal laws.
 Rather than wrestle with the Constitutional question, however, Judge Bates accepted the argument of Bush’s lawyer that members of Congress can’t sue the president.  Period.  This echoes Bates’ . . . argument last month in rejecting the General Accounting Office’s [GAO] attempt to subpoena the records of Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.  Bates [made] a sweeping ruling dismissing the entire GAO . . . as having no right to legally challenge the White House.
 Only if the full Congress rises up in majestic wrath to challenge the president can the courts intervene, Bates argues.  Otherwise, he says, neither the non-partisan GAO nor a united front of thirty-one Congressmen have what would seem a basic sort of right in a functioning democracy -- the right to seek judicial recourse."  "Bates," Bivens states, "was [Special Prosecutor] Ken Starr’s deputy . . . who [urged getting the court order which opened up the Clintons’ White House living quarters for a vain] search for a box purportedly belonging to Vincent Forster."  Bate, unsurprisingly, was appointed to the federal bench by the Bush II administration.  See Matt Bivens, "Bush and the ABM Treaty That Was," The Nation, January 6, 2003,   HYPERLINK "" .
 For Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman’s thesis and argument on this topic, see Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent:  The Political Economy of the Mass Media, New York:  Pantheon, 1988, and see Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions:  Thought Control in Democratic Societies, Boston:  South End Press, 1989.
 Edward L. Bernays, Public Relations, Oklahoma:  University of Oklahoma Press, [1952] 1963, 159.
 Ibid., 160.
 Ibid., 165.
 Ibid., 166.
 Ibid., 166-167.
 Ibid., 167.
 Ibid., 167.
 Ibid., 168.
 In one of his many talks about the use of propaganda, Chomsky synthesized the explanation of propaganda that social scientist Harold D. Lasswell made in his 1937 essay "Propaganda."  Chomsky’s synthesis was very close to these words, so I’ll put them in quotations:  "Propaganda is the creation and maintenance of collective attitudes through the manipulation of significant symbols."  Lasswell’s own description in "Propaganda," is less concise, but it results in essentially the same meaning.  "Propaganda," he writes, "in the broadest sense is the technique of influencing human action by the manipulation of representatives." (521)  Then, he adds, "As older sentiments gave way to nationalism . . .  [it] compelled the development of a whole new technique of control, largely through propaganda." (523)  [So,] when lords fall out, commoners come into their own. . . . As proposals for action along new lines arise to compete for the moral and physical support of masses, propaganda attains eminence as the one means of mass mobilization which is cheaper than violence, bribery or other possible control techniques." (524)  Thus, he continues, "propaganda is surely here to stay; the modern world is peculiarly dependent upon it for the coordination of atomized components in times of crisis and for the conduct of large scale ‘normal’ operations." (526)  As for democracy, the propaganda machine and its elite operators "rests," according to Lasswell, "upon no democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests.  The modern propagandist . . . recognizes that men are often poor judges of their own interests . . . (527)  [So,] the task of the propagandist is that of inventing goal symbols which serve the double function of facilitating adoption and . . . changes in conduct necessary to bring about permanent adaptation." (527)  See Harold D. Lasswell, "Propaganda," Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. XI, Editor-in-Chief Edwin R.A. Seligman, New York:  MacMillan, [1933], 1937, 521, 523, 524, 526, 527.
 Sidney Lens, The Military-Industrial Complex, Philadelphia, PA:  Pilgrim Press and National Catholic Reporter, 1970, 49, 58, 53.
 Perhaps the best example of this latter observation, as Vidal points out, is the unconstitutional practice of U.S. taxpayer funding of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).  Such funding occurs without any real budget submission or budget review of those agencies by Congress.  In the acerbic words of Vidal:  "Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution requires government agencies to submit their budgets at regular intervals to Congress for review.  Neither the CIA nor the DIA does this.  Occasionally, at the dark of the moon, they will send someone up to the Hill to disinform Congress, and that’s that.  After all, to explain what they actually do with the money that they get [Virtually no one in Congress knows how much these agencies get because their budgeted funds are taken from and mingled with other line items of the federal budget.] would be a breach of national security, the overall rubric that protects so many of them from criminal indictments."  See Vidal, Dreaming, 103, 169.
 Robert Higgs, "U.S. Military Spending in the Cold War Era:  Opportunity Costs, Foreign Crisis, and Domestic Constraints," Policy Analysis no.114 (November 30, 1998):  14,   HYPERLINK ""  .
 Linda McQuaig, "It takes two to make a war," Straight Goods, 20 January 2003,   HYPERLINK .
 Linda McQuaig, "Media frenzy feeds U.S. delusions over attack," Toronto Star,, 15 September 2002, 1-2,   HYPERLINK… ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_P… .
 McQuaig, "It takes two."
 Bob Dart, "Marchers tell Bush to hold his fire," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 19 January 2003, A-17.
 Douglas Dowd, Against the Conventional Wisdom:  A Premier for Current Economic Controversies and Proposals, Boulder, Colorado:  Westview Press, 1997, 39.  In another of his many fine works, Dowd identifies the other two "imperatives of functioning capitalism" which, along with "expansion" as the "sine qua non" of the entire capitalist process," are "exploitation" and "oligarchic rule."  He demonstrates that these final two imperatives are the "result" of the arguments and principles that Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, "provided."  Dowd writes:  "Smith did not advocate labor exploitation (who ever has?) but . . . he, albeit unintentionally, provided a strong rationale for increased exploitation [of the 18th century labor force that was already demoralized, impoverished, and massively unemployed].  Smith had intended to make a principle of the systematic elimination of both social constraints on employers and social expenditures for the poor. . . . But so intent was he on brushing aside the mercantilist policies holding back industrialization that he . . . allowed his vision to exclude unpleasant possibilities." (20)
Likewise, "Regarding the imperative of oligarchic rule . . . Smith was also arguing for the effective rule of property owners, a small fraction of the population. . . .  [But] just as he did not [explicitly] advocate ‘exploitation,’ but provided arguments that had that result, neither did he advocate ‘oligarchic rule.’  [Still,] he did advocate rule, in effect, by the tiny percentage of the population that in having the power to make unhindered decisions as to what to produce, how, when, and why, in the principled absence of any other decisionmaking group, would be an oligarchy of power [backed by the state ‘protector of that propertied class]."  See Douglas Dowd, The Waste of Nations:  Dysfunction in the World Economy, Boulder, Colorado:  Westview Press, 1989, 20, 21.
 Vidal, Dreaming 164.
 Sponsors Joyce Appleby and Ellen Carol DuBois, "Petition to Congress," History News Network, 6 Sept. 2002,   HYPERLINK "" .
 "Congressional Joint Resolution to Authorize Use of Force Against Iraq,"   HYPERLINK ""  , 11 October 2002, A12,   HYPERLINK "" ac2/wp-dyn/A9570-2002Oct10?language=printer .
 U.S. Department of State, International Information Programs, "Congress Authorizes President to Use All Necessary Force," 15 September 2001,   HYPERLINK "" 01091706.html  .
 "War Powers Act," November 7, 1973, 2,   HYPERLINK "" .
 Ibid, 2, 3.
 U.S. Department of Defense, General Henry H. Sheton, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Office of Primary Responsibility:  Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, J5; Strategy Division, Joint Vision 2020, Washington, D.C.:  U.S. Government Printing Office, June 2000, 6, 1.  My emphasis.
  Dilip Hiro, Iraq:  In the Eye of the Storm, New York:  Thunder’s Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002, 257.
 Arthur Schlesigner, Jr. "Unilateral Preventive War:  Illegitimate and Immoral," TomPaine.Common.sense:  A Public Interest Journal, (First Published in Los Angeles Times, 21 August 2002), 16 September 2002, 1,   HYPERLINK "" . Among those to whom Schlesigner referred are Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Pearl, and Elliot Abrams.
 "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America," Washington, D.C., September 2002, 6. My emphasis.
 Hiro, 257.
 Michael Parenti, Democracy for the Few, Sixth Edition, New York:  St. Martin’s Press, 1995,116.