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22gigantes.com - A timely account of a raging debate: The history of the ongoing struggle between the presidents and Congress over who has the power to declare and wage war.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, United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals David 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. 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. The next president 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.
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“A brilliant book by one of our most brilliant young jurists, Waging War plumbs two hundred and forty years of history for answers to an urgent question about the future of the American democracy. Will presidents wage the wars of tomorrow within limits or without constraints? David J. Barron has written the definitive account of the value of constitutional government in the way the United States goes to war.” (John Fabian Witt, author of Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History ) “As the distinguished jurist and law professor David J. Barron reminds readers in his splendid and wonderfully lucid new work, the conflict between the commander in chief and congress to declare and wage war is truly the story of America. With a scholar’s rigor and precision, a historian’s hunger and curiosity, and a natural story teller’s gift for narrative and character, Waging War takes readers from the struggle to win and sustain independence to today’s shadowy post Cold War world characterized by shifting global and terrorist threats and lethal new technologies. For those who care about the past and future control of the supreme power of the American state, Waging War is a vital and essential contribution.” (Gordon M. Goldstein, author of Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations ) “Waging War, deeply researched with a compelling and exciting narrative, immerses readers in the struggles of presidents as commanders in chief, and Congress as they walk the Constitution's high wire over when and how to wage war. With challenges to presidential powers at their zenith today, Barron offers lessons learned from George Washington to Barack Obama about a decision critical to American lives and the world at large.” (Marcia Coyle, author of The Roberts Court ) About the Author David Barron is a United States Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit and former S. William Green Professor of Public Law at Harvard Law School. He previously served as the Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Legal Counsel at the United States Department of Justice. He is coauthor, with Martin Lederman, of the article “The Commander in Chief at the Lowest Ebb” and the author of Waging War.
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