Been there, done that. Remember the Articles of Confederation?

William R. Hawkins presents a history lesson in Democrats vs. the Constitution ( 06ja11)

Antiwar leftists have returned to another theme from the Vietnam era: claiming that President George W. Bush is violating the Constitution in his vigorous prosecution of the war against terrorists.

The Bush administration has cited a number of laws and legal precedents to support its powers, as well as the actions of previous administrations from both parties. But President Bush has also cited inherent powers under the Constitution, so it is important to understand what the Founding Fathers were trying to do when they wrote it.

The principal failing of the Articles of Confederation was the lack of a strong central authority in defense and foreign policy.

As the world’s leading power, trying to defend its security and interests in a time of global turbulence, terrorist threats, and foreign wars, the United States cannot tolerate the kind of partisan politics that create “impotence, perplexity and disorder.” Whether motivated by a ideology of defeatism or mere self-interest, opponents of effective national leadership cannot be allowed to prevail by the American public. The Framers of the Constitution did not want their country to be weak, vulnerable, or a failed state.

The issues are many and deep. It is in the balance between the very weak power of the individual and the very great power of a state, or a union of states. It is about effective command and control. It is about checks and balances and accountability. It is about the proper role of a civilized society in managing its competing interests to both respect and protect its individual members.

We see in Venezuela an example of when the process fails. The founders of the US form of government also had their examples and their first attempt erred too far towards the individual and leaving the society at risk.

What is the lesson from the heyday of the sixties is that accountability is a two way street. Those in power must be held accountable but those in power are not only those who are given the position to operate the government, it is also those who report on government activity and also those who desire to change the government.

The lesson of the sixties is also that of just how important an issue is at stake. Because the true story was not reported and because of the dishonesty of the government opposition, millions were killed and a country was left to oppression and repression for decades.

Let us hope that these are lessons learned.

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