Our Commander-in-Chief? March 30, 2007

by Will

In recent years it has become common to refer to the president as ?Our Commander-in-Chief.? That description is only proper when used by active-duty military personnel who have been called into service by Congress.

The designation ?Commander-in-Chief? refers to a function of the presidential office that is subject to, and qualified by, congressional war powers. In addition to the exclusive power to declare war, Congress appropriates money for the military and establishes regulations governing its training and conduct. In these matters, the president's constitutional authority is limited and derivative.

The Bush administration, however, insists that presidential Commander-in-Chief powers are unlimited, and permit the president to authorize any policy that suits his fancy.

In this view, he can set aside laws, authorize torture and detention without trial, and commit our country to war without a congressional declaration. This is the job description of a dictator.

As created through the Constitution, the presidency is a modest office. It was not intended to be the elected dictatorship it has become.

Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

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