Saturday, September 04, 2004

Nit-picking from a Knee-Jerk Libertarian

Gene Healy reacted to one of Zell Miller's lines this way:
Senator Kerry has made it clear that he would use military force only if approved by the United Nations.

Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending.

I want Bush to decide.

Me, I want Congress to decide--you know, like it says in the Constitution and everything.
Gene, Gene, Gene, you know how it works. The president goes to Congress and says, "Please authorize the use of military force to do such-and-such" (which is tantamount to asking for a declaration of war). When Congress authorizes the use of military force, the president decides precisely when, where, and how to apply it.

Miller's point is obvious to everyone but Gene and his fellow libertarian extremists. Here it is: Kerry is less likely than Bush to use authority already granted by Congress and less likely to ask for new authority, when it's needed.

Gene and his ilk prefer the Kerry doctrine (wait until attacked) because it means military inaction, and libertarian extremists would rather die in a fiery building than have the president take pre-emptive action (military and otherwise) against anyone anywhere outside the United States. (Perhaps Gene and his friends are waiting for the enemy to bust down their doors, so they can shoot the enemy with their second-amendment weapons.)

Well, that's what Gene and his ilk think they believe. They haven't been mugged by reality yet.