An Old Soldier’s Denial on Afghanistan
In a letter to the Los Angeles Times regarding the Afghanistan debacle, Stephen Sloane, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy who served in the Vietnam War, is a perfect demonstration of how so many people, especially in the military, live lives of denial when it comes to foreign interventionism.
Addressing Marines who served in Afghanistan who are now frustrated and angry over the result in Afghanistan, Sloane tells them that there is no disgrace in defeat because U.S. soldiers “took an oath to the Constitution.” He says, “Loyalty to that oath has helped preserve the right of Americans and others to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for more than 200 years.” He points not only to “the failed effort to keep Afghanistan out of the hands of the Taliban” but also to “the failed effort to keep Vietnam free from communism.”
That’s just sheer nonsense.
Loyalty to the president
While U.S. soldiers technically take an oath to support and defend the Constitution, as a practical matter their oath is to serve the president and unconditionally obey his orders. Since the president is democratically elected, in their minds they are supporting and defending the Constitution when they dutifully and loyally obey the commands of their commander in chief.
The two examples that Sloane cities — Vietnam and Afghanistan — are perfect examples of this phenomenon.
The Constitution requires a declaration of war from Congress before the president can legally wage war. No declaration, no waging of war. Everyone agrees that that is what the Constitution says. The Framers did not want the president to be deciding whether the nation goes to war. They chose to have Congress make that decision.
It is undisputed that there was never a congressional declaration of war against North Vietnam or Afghanistan. Given such, no president had the legal authority to order U.S. troops to invade and occupy either country.
Article from LewRockwell