The Constitution and the War

Commentary (July 1972).


It is frightening when out of the privacy of the Oval Room or of Camp David a decision emerges to invade Cambodia, bomb Laos or North Vietnam, or, as most recently, mine the harbor at Haiphong and risk a clash with the Russian navy. Made privately, the decision is irrevocable, and by the time it is announced, it has been implemented. One man makes it, as freely as any dictator or emperor. Have we come these thousands of miles and hundreds of years to be governed in so old a fashion? Can this be in accordance with the American Constitution?