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Repatriation — The Dark Side of World War II, Part 6

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 The U.S. government's cry to the American people during recent wars has been: "Support the troops." A person might disagree with the war itself. Or the president may have failed to secure the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. But, the government says, put all objections aside once the shooting starts. What matters then is that the people support the troops. The strategy is always effective in diminishing opposition to the war. Unfortunately, however, the U.S. government has not always followed its own exhortation. Sometimes, not only has it failed to support its own troops, it has actually knowingly and deliberately abandoned them to imprisonment and death. The best example of this is what happened to American soldiers who had been captured by the Nazis and who were "liberated" by Russian forces at the end ...

Covering the Map of the World — The Half-Century Legacy of the Yalta Conference, Part 6

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 In 1940, the Japanese consul general in Harbin, Manchuria, intercepted several messages sent from the Soviet foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, to the Soviet ambassador in Tokyo. In one of these messages, Molotov told his ambassador: "We concluded an 'Agreement with Germany' because a war is required in Europe" between the capitalist nations, to open the door for the future communization of the European continent. Molotov went on to explain that any peace settlement that would end the war between China and Japan "might destroy our work proceeding among the suppressed peoples of Asia, and . . . it would not instigate the Japanese-American war which we desire." If Japan turned its eyes towards conquest in Southeast Asia — including the U.S.-controlled Philippine Islands — and became embroiled ...

The Power to Declare War — Who Speaks for the Constitution? Part 3

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Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 The favorite justification for presidents unilaterally wandering off to war around the globe seems to be: everyone else does it. Proponents of executive war-making contend that ample precedents — two hundred or more troop deployments without congressional approval — exist for the president to act without a congressional declaration. Yet, this list chiefly consists of, as constitutional scholar Edward Corwin put it, "fights with pirates, landings of small naval contingents on barbarous or semi-barbarous coasts, the dispatch of small bodies of troops to chase bandits or cattle rustlers across the Mexican border, and the like." These are dubious justifications for, say, ousting an existing government and occupying an entire nation. Anyway, et tu remains an unpersuasive reason to ignore the nation's fundamental law; the fact that past chief executives acted lawlessly does not empower the current one to do likewise. Successive presidents have been able to ignore the Constitution's clear strictures only ...