The sixty-eight-year state of emergency

Gary Wills makes a persuasive (and pessimistic) case that the “whole history of America since World War II caused an inertial transfer of power toward the executive branch” and that Obama will have a hell of a time reversing it, even if he wants to…..

The monopoly on use of nuclear weaponry, the cult of the commander in chief, the worldwide network of military bases to maintain nuclear alert and supremacy, the secret intelligence agencies, the entire national security state, the classification and clearance systems, the expansion of state secrets, the withholding of evidence and information, the permanent emergency that has melded World War II with the cold war and the cold war with the “war on terror”—all these make a vast and intricate structure that may not yield to effort at dismantling it. Sixty-eight straight years of war emergency powers (1941–2009) have made the abnormal normal, and constitutional diminishment the settled order.

The sixty-eight-year state of emergency

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