Amordaçar os cães de guerra

WASHINGTON, DC – Ao desempenhar funções em Paris como primeiro embaixador do Estados Unidos em França, Thomas Jefferson reflectiu sobre como o novo governo dos EUA poderia evitar os erros dos “déspotas”, que mantiveram os seus povos subjugados através da guerra e da dívida. Ao escrever para James Madison, reparou que a Constituição dos Estados Unidos tinha pelo menos travado “o cão de guerra”, ao transferir “o poder de o soltar do órgão executivo para o órgão legislativo, dos que estão a gastar para os que estão a pagar”.

Ao mesmo tempo, contudo, a Constituição designa o poder executivo como o “comandante-chefe”, um poder que os presidentes americanos invocaram para usar a força militar sem a autorização do Congresso, mais de 200 vezes. O Presidente Barack Obama baseou-se nesse poder quando disse, tanto ao Congresso como ao povo americano, que tinha autoridade para ordenar ataques limitados na Síria sem ter de recorrer ao Congresso.

Simultaneamente, ao alegar essa autoridade e ao dirigir-se ao Congresso para usá-la, Obama faz parte de uma pequena classe de líderes que procura activamente constranger o seu próprio poder. Isso é porque ele vê o seu legado histórico, como o de um presidente que terminou as guerras e as tornou mais difíceis de começarem, em vez de reinvestir os recursos dos Estados Unidos no seu próprio povo. Opôs-se à guerra do Iraque, em 2003, e prometeu, em 2008, que iria acabar com a “guerra contra o terrorismo” ilimitado, que se tinha tornado num potencial cheque em branco para os presidentes dos EUA usarem a força em qualquer lugar do mundo.

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