America should return to issuing letters of marque and reprisal. This will allow the U.S. to win wars again, move some military power away from the president and back to Congress, and work towards a goal of reducing an increasingly incompetent and hostile Department of Defense.
Congress hasn’t issued letters of marque and reprisal since the 1800s. But it’s time for it to do so again. Nearly 15 years after Islamic terrorists attacked the U.S., the American government has proven that it is not up to the task of defeating this primitive enemy (or any other enemy for that matter) with the DOD and its armed forces.
Letters of marque and reprisal will rectify this by providing specific authorization to private entities to target and destroy identified enemies. Private entities will not be burdened with American politics, nor will they be burdened with the bureaucratic monstrosity known as “oversight” that cripples the armed forces with politically correct requirements and other nonsense.
Not only will this new policy solution enable the U.S. to begin winning in wars again, but it comes with little to no price. The majority of the funding for those receiving letters of marque and reprisal comes from the seized assets of those they capture and destroy. Any other funding provided by the U.S. government (such as reward money when there are no assets to seize from enemies) will be miniscule compared to the bloated budget of the DOD.
Furthermore, people of all political stripes have expressed concern that the president has become too powerful in military matters. Congress hasn’t declared war since the 1940s and yet every president since that time has waged war, leaving people to wonder if Congress has any ability to control warfare any longer.
Congress does, of course, retain abilities to control military matters. Controlling spending is the most well-known ability. But Congress also has the constitutional ability to issue letters of marque and reprisal to private citizens.
So why not use this power?
In addition to being about to counter the inability of the American government to win wars, letters of marque and reprisal allow the Congress to set the targets it wants privateers to attack and destroy. This means that letters of marque and reprisal don’t just allow the Congress to field a force capable of winning, it means they allow the Congress to target the correct set of enemies if the executive branch won’t do so.
The third major benefit from Congress using its power to issue letters of marque and reprisal is that they are key in moving towards the eventual reduction of, or even elimination of, the incompetent and now hostile Department of Defense.
The modern DOD promotes sexual deviancy, touts feminism and the concept of “toxic masculinity,” advocates for troops who want lactation rooms and maternity leave, thinks harshly treating enemies is treason, generally hates its troops, and is becoming increasingly hostile towards loyal American citizens and their interests.
It’s warped beyond repair.
Letters of marque and reprisal would be the starting point for moving towards the eventual reduction of or elimination of the DOD. (Reviving state militia would be another step.)
Working towards greatly reducing or eliminating the DOD might seem absurd. It’s not. This wouldn’t happen overnight—it would be progressive. On top of this, who would have ever thought the armed forces would embrace all that it does today?
Furthermore, the U.S. is already reducing the size and capabilities of the armed forces through sequestration. They are no longer even a fully ready and capable force. And the Army is actually advocating to accept this reality even as it calls for more radical changes.
So my proposal falls right in line with the seeming bipartisan desire to reduce and neuter the armed forces.
Those who continue demanding changes in war strategy by way of the executive branch and DOD are wasting their time. They’re intractable and corrupt. Therefore, it’s time for a new policy that’s also constitutional. And that new policy requires the U.S. Congress to once again issue letters of marque and reprisal to private American citizens to fight and defeat its enemies.
Mortal Gods: Ignition is Paul Hair’s new collection of three short stories about superhumans in a real-world setting. Read an excerpt of one of these stories (“The First Transgender Superhuman”) at Liberty Island. Buy the full eBook at Amazon.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.