While watching The O’Reilly Factor on Fox News recently, I heard Dennis Miller say to Bill O’Reilly that President Obama is “my commander in chief.”
Ummm…no he’s not Dennis.
Now someone might accuse me of being hypercritical, but I assure you, I’m not trying to slam Dennis Miller. However, his statement really bothers me and it should concern everyone, because it reflects both widespread ignorance of the Constitution and the increasing militarization of our society. Americans are witnessing an unprecedented expansion of Executive power and it’s critical that we understand precisely what the President’s constitutional role as commander in chief is.
If you’re a civilian, the President is not your commander in chief. If you’re in the National Guard, he’s not your commander in chief either, unless and until your unit is federalized. But what about the regular Army and Navy?
Article. II. Section. 2. Clause 1of the Constitution states:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States
However Article I gives Congress and not the President the authority to declare war. Unless it is to repel a sudden attack against the United States, presidents have no authority whatsoever to deploy troops without prior Congressional authorization in the form of an explicit declaration of war.