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IPFS News Link • Political Theory

A Warped View of Patriotism on Pat Tillman

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The op-ed is about former football player Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan twenty years ago. It's written by Bill Dwyre, a former sports editor for the Times.

Dwyre reminds us that Tillman was motivated to join the military after the 9/11 attacks. He gave up a $3.6 million football contract to join the U.S. military and was hoping to be sent to Afghanistan to fight the terrorists.

Dwyre writes, "It was a can't-miss story of patriotism. Americans applauded from the safety and comfort of our homes and communities." (Since he uses the pronoun "our," presumably Dwyre fell into the "safety and comfort" group rather than the "patriot" group.)

Unfortunately, however, Dwyre doesn't explain why Tillman's act was one of "can't miss" patriotism. Apparently for him it's a self-evident truth.

No declaration of war

The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It is the higher law that we the people impose on government officials. We are expected to obey their laws, and they punish us when we fail to do so. By the same token, they are supposed to obey our law, the Constitution.

The Constitution requires a congressional declaration of war as a prerequisite to a president's waging war against any other nation-state. If a president and his army wage war without a congressional declaration of war, they are acting in violation of the law.

It is undisputed that President Bush did not secure a congressional declaration of war from Congress before he ordered his military to invade Afghanistan. That made their war illegal under our form of government.