Tuesday's ultimatum

National Review
by William F. Buckley, Jr.

11/08/06

It is sobering to remind ourselves that the alternatives open to Congress come down finally to categorical action. When Congress decided to act on the unpopularity of the Vietnam War, it passed a series of resolutions and laws which prevented President Nixon from taking basic tactical steps to thwart the total defeat that lay ahead for us. If comparable laws were passed today they would forbid American money to be used in Iraq for hostile purposes, which would be tantamount to forbidding armed resistance to the claims of the insurgents. Merely to suggest such alternatives is to remind ourselves of the inherent inadvisability of contemplating them. The Constitution makes the president the commander in chief. To permit the continuance of his responsibility while stripping him of the means to act is a device for modifying the Constitution, for which critics would be reluctant to accept responsibility. If a crisis is of such a reach, then the orderly procedure is the impeachment of the president. But the people who went to the polls on Tuesday intending to register opposition to the war are not of revolutionary mettle. Still, they have found the means to make demands that the President will need to appease...

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