Liberty Alert: The Cult of the Commander-in-Chief

On today’s All Things Considered, author-historian-journalist Garry Wills (former Buckley-protege turned liberal writer) was interviewed about his new book Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State.

The Bomb

Since World War II, Wills contends that Americans have been living under an abnormal Constitutional system. This system has granted more and more power to the President each year.  This power sometimes allows the Commander-in-Chief to make law through executive orders or to keep information from the public by citing national security.  Wills believes this power comes from the existence of the atomic bomb and the Manhattan Project.

He makes a fantastic point about the accumulation of power in the Executive during past wars.   But after other wars, we resumed the Constitutional system.  The suspension of habeas corpus under Lincoln was condemned by the Supreme Court afterward.  That retrospective justice never happened after the bomb because our government had a secret to keep.

The book is worth a read and the interview is worth a listen.

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