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Beschreibung des Verlags
An “ambitious...deep history and a thoughtful inquiry into how the constitutional system of checks and balances has functioned when it comes to waging war and making peace” (The Washington Post)—here is the full, compelling account of this never-ending debate.
The Constitution states that it is Congress that declares war, but it is the presidents who have more often taken us to war and decided how to wage it. In Waging War, David J. Barron opens with an account of George Washington and the Continental Congress over Washington’s plan to burn New York City before the British invasion. Congress ordered him not to, and he obeyed. Barron takes us through all the wars that followed: 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American war, World Wars One and Two, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now, most spectacularly, the War on Terror. Congress has criticized George W. Bush for being too aggressive and Barack Obama for not being aggressive enough, but it avoids a vote on the matter. By recounting how our presidents have declared and waged wars, Barron shows that these executives have had to get their way without openly defying Congress.
In this “vivid…rich and detailed history” (The New York Times Book Review), Waging War shows us our country’s revered and colorful presidents at their most trying times—Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Johnson, both Bushes, and Obama. Their wars have made heroes of some and victims of others, but most have proved adept at getting their way over reluctant or hostile Congresses. Donald Trump will face this challenge immediately—and the Constitution and its fragile system of checks and balances will once again be at the forefront of the national debate. More essential than ever, Waging War is “both timely and timeless” (The Boston Globe).
Barron, a federal appeals court judge, surveys the fraught struggles between presidents and congresses over their war powers since before the creation of American constitutional government in 1787 and up through the Obama administration. . Barron takes strong issue with the claim that presidents trying to circumvent Congress and the legislature trying to limit presidential war-making are recent innovations, showing that neither branch of government has ever allowed the other to declare or wage war without interference. He argues vigorously from the authority of experience as acting assistant attorney general in the Obama Administration's Office of Legal Council (in which capacity Barron drafted a controversial legal memo authorizing the use of lethal drone strikes against American citizens without due process) that recent presidents have always stopped short of asserting the "sweeping power to run the wars in which they have led the country however they have seen fit." The book should be read widely by those responsible for the development and implementation of national policies. It's a fine example of the use of history to illuminate current circumstances and to counter unsupportable claims and arguments about Congress and the president.