I’ve always disliked the term, “War on Terror.” It doesn’t convey what it should, a war on Islamic terror and Sharia. In this ongoing, never-ending, politically correct Poofter War, we send men and women around the world for apparently little purpose aside from bringing them home in caskets and filling our VA wards with a steady stream of amputees. While they diligently observe ridiculous ROE, the violation of which has landed good men in Leavenworth, judges open our borders to the people our military would otherwise kill. While this situation is changing for the better under President Trump, he just doesn’t have the Constitutional tools to defeat Islam here in the United States. For that, republics need a temporary dictator.
Perhaps just as bad, outward offensive measures designed to keep the nation safe have been turned inward; one must subject oneself to increasingly intrusive body searches and surveillance as we go about our daily business. These precedents in law and practice are certain to expand as additional, ineffective measures assault our freedoms, yet do little to defeat Islam.
Instead of taking weak half measures, of reliably splitting the baby so that congressmen and senators avoid media wrath and angering a tiny but growing and vocal percentage of their constituents who happen to be muslim, what if fed-up Americans demand our government deal with the threat that Sharia poses to our very existence and took the necessary steps to preserve our republic?
I wish the Framers had at least considered the office of dictator, because unlike conflicts led by the President, statutory law and executive branch precedent are unaffected by the diktats of a constitutional dictator.
In this squib and one to follow, I’ll justify something that can never occur, the constitutional appointment of an American dictator to defeat our blood enemy, Islam. The model I use is that of early republican Rome, as related by Niccolo’ Machiavelli in his Discourses on Livy.1 We’ll find that occasional resort to dictators poses fewer threats to long term liberty than empowering Presidents to do much the same thing, or treating terror as a problem for the criminal (social) justice system.
Why did Rome rely on dictators rather than consuls to save the nation? Because wars demand anti-republican actions hostile to freedom. In their wake, our wars left behind awful precedents and laws that wouldn’t have had a chance during peacetime. By definition, a free republic cannot enact laws which enslave men (military draft), and confiscate property, yet still remain a republic. If such actions are lawful, then the nation has slipped into despotism, where the retention of property and life itself is up to the discretion of the government.
But, in a war of survival, the nation must be defended at all costs. Security in our God-given individual rights is superseded by the need to preserve society and the nation. Since Sharia snuffs out the civil society on which individuals depend, our higher order duty is to preserve society, even at the temporary expense of individual rights.
How can republics best reconcile these two mutually exclusive necessities, do what it takes to survive, yet do it legally outside the law? An American version of the Roman dictator could go like this:
When congress determines the need for extraordinary measures to save the republic, it would pass a resolution which calls on the President to appoint a dictator. The resolution would detail the dictator’s power to harness the resources of the nation toward a military and civil victory. The President appoints a dictator (and not himself or Vice President) subject to the commission issued by congress. Through this process, the people and to a lesser degree the states order their government to defeat the enemy, (hopefully) by any means necessary consistent with the ends determined by congress.2
Now, what sort of man is worthy of this office? Perhaps a retired general, who, subsequently dipped his toe in the wider political world, and served as SecState or SecDef. These men long ago swore fealty to the Constitution and demonstrated the willingness to give their lives in its defense. While wars of endless attrition like the war on terror often suit the electoral interests of politicians, they are anathema to military men. Give an honorable military man wide authority for a six-month term, and watch the results. The dictator is always subject to removal by congress. If the people are dissatisfied with his performance, congress can and should withdraw his commission.
I don’t fault the Framers for not providing for a dictator in times of national emergency. Delegates to the Federal Convention had to write a plan that could pass muster with thirteen mutually suspicious states. Considering how evenly divided the ratification conventions were in 1787-1788, an additional Dictator Article would have likely scuttled the Constitution. However, the topic came up during the Virginia Ratification debates in 1788. Governor Edmund Randolph reminded the convention that the Union was so precarious in 1781 that Thomas Jefferson was relieved of the governorship, and a dictator, Thomas Nelson, was appointed take all necessary means to supply George Washington’s Army at Yorktown. To defeat the British necessitated very unrepublican acts, such as the confiscation of food, farm animals, and wagons from the local populace.
So fearful was the leading Anti-Federalist of the day, Patrick Henry, of the powers he believed would accumulate in the President during wars, that he favored the occasional office of dictator:
But, nations learn. Article V remains the vehicle through which to improve our governing institutions such that they better serve the ends of our nation as outlined in the Preamble to the Constitution, one of which is to provide for the common defense. As Livy put it, history was full of “fine things to take as models, base things, rotten through and through, to avoid.” During national emergencies, it is best that anti-constitutional measures not be undertaken by Presidents sworn to uphold the Constitution.
End the Poofter War and Save the Republic:
Acknowledge that Islam is at war with the United States.
Declare war on Islam.
Appoint a Constitutional dictator to direct the war against Isis abroad and Sharia in the US.
Stop all Muslim immigration.
Deport foreign-born muslims.
Suspend Habeas Corpus.
Establish military tribunals to expeditiously try and imprison followers of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Membership in these and affiliated groups is sufficient evidence of intent to make war on the United States.
In Part II, we’ll see how near-dictatorial powers accumulate in the executive branch during war, and how too many of these powers remain afterward and are turned inward against the people.
1. Machiavelli, N. (2008). Discourses on Livy, Translated by Julia Conaway Bondanella and Peter Bondanella. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Book I, Chapter 34.
2. Nothing but the ends can justify the means. For instance, only the timely defeat (end) of Germany and Japan could justify the carpet bombing (means) of their cities.