OBSERVATION | 1998-11-14

The excuse for refusing to submit military action to a declaration of war is that things move too fast these days. Nobody has noticed that that is absolutely untrue. In the old days, fighting could have been going on for days or weeks before a declaration of war could be made. We are all aware that the Battle of New Orleans was fought two weeks after the War of 1812 had already ended.

The real situation is exactly the opposite. The congress can be assembled, fully informed, within the day of any incident. It is easier, not harder, to formally declare congressional support for a military action. People are used to hearing the word "faster" in connection with modern technology, so as soon as someone says this is an excuse for not consulting congress, our mindless political commentators, and our mindless people, accept the word without any thought.

It isn't true, that's all.