August 19, 2021 --
If Nixon could go to China, will Biden be the president to reverse our policy, since Korea, of going to "war" without congressional declaration, thereby accepting stalemate, even defeat? After all, Korea lacked a declaration of war and resulted in this stalemate of seven decades and counting.
Vietnam lacked a declaration of war and resulted in defeat. (The expedition against Saddam Hussein was an expedition against a paper camel.).
Our intrusion in Iraq proved messy. Now, behold the situation of Afghanistan, where we got involved without declaration of war, for two decades.
But if, indeed, Biden is basing his Afghanistan approach along the lines of never letting a crisis go to waste, could he invoke the memory of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, as the situation in Afghanistan becomes more dire for U.S. nationals and targeted-by-the-Taliban Afghanis? Such invocation might go as follows:
Biden goes before Congress to announce that his new policy on use of military force will be founded on the old policy, of fidelity to a clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. He will in his address, confess error having said that our difficulties in Afghanistan are the result of actions taken by his predecessors: George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
He will advise Congress that the situation in Afghanistan hearkens back to President Truman's decision to take the advice of Secretary of State Dean Acheson to send our forces into Korea without declaration of war against North Korea. As David McCullough pointed out at page 789 of the paperback edition of his biography, Truman, W. Averell Harriman "urged Truman to call for a war resolution from Congress as soon as possible, while the country was still behind him. Dean Acheson disagreed, insisting that such a resolution was unnecessary and unwise."
Biden will tell Congress that history, that subsequent events, have shown Acheson to have been not only unwise, but to have set us down an unconstitutional road to military conflict that has been vague in its construction and disastrous in its result. Biden will tell Congress, "here's the deal, Harry S. Truman was wrong to have taken the advice of the supercilious, self-righteous, smug Acheson, for it is Acheson who led us down the primrose path away from the vision of the Founding Fathers, to the tragedy of Vietnam and, now, the disaster in Afghanistan."
Biden will continue, "the need for a congressional declaration of war was so obvious to Madison, that he said as much in Federalist Paper No. 41, indicating that '][n]o man' will think it necessary to question the need for a declaration of war, adding, 'It would be superfluous, therefore, to enter into a proof of the affirmative.' " Biden will add that Acheson, in placing his wisdom above that of the Founding Fathers, truly gave us the precedent that has culminated in our humiliation by the Taliban, in Afghanistan.
Biden will then announce to Congress, "The days of the Acheson precedent of thumbing our nose at the Founding Fathers, the days of sending our troops into harm's way without the declared backing of Congress are over. And with our return to the provision in the Constitution that requires a declaration of war, with clear aims, my administration will act pursuant to the sage advice of the great five-star general Douglas MacArthur, wrongly relieved of his duties in Korea for daring to commit the sin of urging victory, not an indecisive suspension of hostilities, on the Korean peninsula."
Biden will then tell Congress, "My administration will premise its use of force with this end in mind, quoting General MacArthur in his Farewell to Congress, April 19, 1951:
'[O]nce war is forced upon us, there is no alternative than to apply every available means to bring it to a swift end.
'War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision.
'In war there is no substitute for victory.'"
It is to be expected that Congress will rise as one person to give Biden a prolonged ovation. When the cheering and applause ceases, Biden will call for a declaration of war against the Taliban -- in Afghanistan and out, and announce that after we employ all available means to achieve a swift victory of the Taliban, his administration will follow what was the successful stewardship of the United States in Japan, the years after Japan surrendered, and name John Kerry as U.S. pro-consul for Afghanistan to insure the transition of that benighted land into the 21st -- not the 7th -- century.
And next day, the media will report that Biden's poll numbers have skyrocketed from the mid-40's to more than 70% approval, with congressional Republicans no longer quite so confident that they will return to power in Congress in 2023.