And Speaking of That...

It's time for another Boneheaded Congress update.

As a Classical Liberal, I believe that the legislature, being most immediately responsible to the public, is meant to be the most important branch. That position is harder to maintain when the Congress carries on behaving, during wartime, as if national defense was of no importance.

Today's example: Congress has decided to restrict the use of Special Operations. Henceforth, in order to deploy commandos, the President will have to write and sign a finding, and send it to Congress. The increase in turnaround time between recognizing a threat and acting on it is immense: now no one in the Pentagon or SOCOM will have authority to send commandos to address a threat. It has to go to the President himself.

This is exactly the opposite direction that Congress should be going. Congressional oversight is important and proper. It shouldn't be constructed in a way that detracts from our ability to respond to threats. Let's say we find a Qaeda camp in Pakistan and, thanks to a UAV, determine that bin Laden or some other ranking figure is there. Can we send the Delta Force, or the SEALS, or the new Marine Commandos? Yes, once the military has contacted the President, the President has written a finding, the finding has been sent to Capitol Hill... and then, once that's been done, we can tell the commandos to start on their way.

As this comes right after the DARPA business, where Congress shut down a great program they didn't understand without even attempting to understand it or have it explained, I am reconsidering the Congress. I frankly think that the problem is gerrymandering.

Congress was meant to be responsive to the people, especially the House. Because of gerrymandering, however, the number of Representatives who have competitive districts is incredibly small. As a result, Congress is free to engage in this kind of foolishness even during wartime without fear of voter reprisals.

The solution: legislation requiring that districting be done by nonpartisan contractors, who will be forbidden by law from considering party affiliations of members when they do it. I favor a system wherein districts are drawn by figuring lines drawn outward from a central point in the state, so that the only consideration is making sure each "slice" has the right number of people in it. In that way, districts become competitive, Congress is brought back to the heel of the public, and--coincidentally--problems like the one in Texas are avoided.

No comments: