#935 – Dick Bernard: War. Its variations.

It’s been a rough week for the National Football League (NFL).
First comes the indefinite suspension of Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice after the violent incident with his “then-fiancee” in a hotel elevator. Then, this mornings banner headline in my local paper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, about Minnesota Vikings star “Adrian Peterson Indicted” for disciplining “his 4-year old son by beating him with a “switch.””
There is the news that dominates the airwaves and the internet; then there is the down on the ground news, talk among friends, about such things.
There is a disconnect.
One good friend remembers that when he was a kid his Mom pretty regularly used the “switch” on him, or something else if the switch wasn’t handy.
Another friend wonders what happened earlier in the elevator that wasn’t caught on film.
Such musings are only for safe company. There is no “other side of the story”.
These are two great guys, sincerely wondering….
Then there’s the National Football League, may as well be called America’s Corporation, probably one of the most financially successful and well known businesses.
Its ultimate objective, let’s be honest, is to cover its financial assets.
The NFLs product is sanctioned team violence. Football is a violent game – a war on a field.
(Thursdays Star Tribune had an editorial about head injuries in prep sports. Of 13 sports, Football had 42% of the injuries (second was girls soccer with 9%).
Pro football without Goliaths colliding would be boring for fans.)
There’s a devil’s dance going on.
Then there’s the main national event: the center ring: the American War against whomever, and who is to be held responsible for that war, however defined.
Currently, the contest is about what to do about ISIL, et al. It is the almost perfect storm, given that it comes less than two months before the 2014 election and the issues and complexities great..
By the Constitution of the United States, it is the Congress who has the sole power to authorize war. Constitution of U.S.001 (see page 9). The trick is how to make President responsible for what the Congresspersons would like to have happen, but do not want to own.
It is a real quandary.
We Americans elect our leaders by voting (or not showing up on election day).
We like our wars, so long as win them, at no cost to ourselves.
Today is the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, “bombs bursting in air”. Look at the entertainment that sells best. A strong focus on violence is popular.
But we’re eternally ambivalent. Our entry into WWII was delayed because Congress wouldn’t commit to war.
No war was ever declared in Korea, which was a police action.
An assortment of War Powers Acts especially since Vietnam have in effect amended the Constitution so that the Congress can pass off its responsibility for war-making to whomever is the sitting President. If its our guy, one thing; if its not, its another.
With respect to the abundant mess in Syria-Iraq and environs with ISIL, there is no right answer, though all pundits on whichever ideological side represent their analysis as the correct one.
The President of the United States, who is not running for anything in November, is, I believe, correctly assessing the situation, and has been for some years now.
He is interested in protecting the institution of the Presidency, but he is also interested in the Congress doing its job of making the crucial decisions about war and peace.
Our local congressperson is the point person who we need to elect carefully on Nov. 4. They should not be able to weasel-waffle out of declaring themselves.

Thursday, September 17th is Constitution Day in the U.S. Linked here is one of many sources of information. Take time to read our founding document: Constitution of U.S.001

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