Whose Army Is It?

July 20, 2009

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The Associated Press reports that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has decided to increase the size of the US Army by approximately 22,000 men.  This raises a question:  What gives him authority to make such a determination?

The Constitution gives Congress power to raise armies.  My guess is that among the myriad measures delegating Congress’s powers to others is one authorizing Gates to expand the Army.  Yet, Gates not only is not the Congress, he isn’t even the chief executive.  My belief is that whichever congressional enactment Gates is acting under is unconstitutional.

The president was not supposed to be a prince in the mode of a late-18th-century Hohenzollern, Bourbon, or Habsburg.  Pity that, in the area of foreign policy, we’ve transformed him—and some of his subordinates, it seems—“From Chief Executive to Prince.”

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