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Welcome to another edition of special report on line I'm Brett Baer thanks for joining us here in our new location.
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Slash politics and mobile device joining me absorbing polls OK with that -- get started let's bring in our panel we welcome tonight Marvin count.
He is the author of the road to war.
Talk without a second Steve Hayes of course senior writer for the weekly standard Juan Williams -- with the hill and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer department welcome.
Thank you nice to be here got the book right here the road to war presidential commitments honored and betrayed.
Your 32 pitch here.
Well one of the major points in the book and it's a book that I've been -- -- naming -- road for about forty years Syverson is covering the Vietnam War.
And that was a question in my mind how come the president.
Has the authority to send.
American troops to south Vietnam.
Without a declaration of war.
The constitution is fairly up front on that issue.
The congress has two major responsibilities when it comes to war.
One you declare it and to you lay out the money for.
And since December 8 1941.
No American president has asked congress for a declaration of war even though we have been it seems it almost constant war.
And only once since that time has the congress.
Moved in and specifically said we're gonna pull money for reward which are now conducting.
That was the very tail end of the Vietnam War.
When technically the war was already declared over.
Put in that final year and a half.
-- when the Communists made their big move to take over the country.
At that time the congress move so.
It is pathetic in my judgment that the congress of the United States does not participate.
With the president.
On declaring war.
On backing the president when he feels he's got to go went to war.
In my judgment really the president -- -- suits.
Like an old.
European monarch he's got his own army you can do -- every -- with it.
And nobody seems to raise any objection whatsoever.
The congress has simply not done its job.
So in this context with this book and you look at the world now in Syria where.
You've you've got you know the potential for US action right now just US support.
How do you think things are lining up in and the view of your book.
Well I don't want to be frivolous about that and answer but.
If -- a half hour from now the president of the United States where it to decide.
On his own.
That he is now going to bomb certain parts of Syria that he's going to send a limited number of Marines and there is nobody who's gonna stop him there is nobody.
Who was -- -- -- thoughts perhaps.
You guys around this table but nobody.
-- give me an authority.
Is going to say Mr.
President you can't do that.
But he now has that kind of power.
And I think it's it's wrong unless.
The congress is there with him to share the responsibility.
For sending people off to war.
CC -- -- rights Marvin -- seems like the type of person you'd see at the top of the mountain.
And people would climb up to hear his wisdom.
About that I read I think you used that quote on the book somewhere how -- -- -- -- -- strongly agree strongly.
Steve what about -- -- point and about the use of congress in declaring war about using.
Congress in the in the whole process works its.
It's very easy question and actually eager to read the book cannot ask questions that are answered yes is that the -- -- you and -- -- a position of the way things strongly -- okay good Damascus that was so it's like the magic eight ball.
She's going to act as -- go back to.
In your view would President Obama have had to have gotten -- -- -- -- -- war from congress to do what he did in Libya that limited limited engagement limited -- -- limited engagement on the view was covered.
-- foolish piece of legislation.
Called the war powers act.
According to the world powers that.
He was supposed to go to congress and ask for permission.
To engage in military operations for sixty days.
And then if he couldn't accomplish is saying that he gets another thirty days which -- is an illustration how childish foolish and really was.
And of course you get north and there are a couple of voice is up on the hill who said to us tennis you really can't do that kind of thing but he ignored it.
He continued to ignore it as other presidents have done when they have engaged to military because the legislation itself.
And the congress knows it and he knows and I hope the American people realize.
Says great point Marvin imperial presidency one.
When you hear those words imperial presidency referring to President Obama.
And in his campaign.
You know he use some phrases that they called George W.
Bush the imperial president.
What what do you think.
Well I have several thoughts this has is becoming a big item I must say this -- not the first book on this topic this is becoming an absolutely great for us this story was the first hour and -- from my role here is kind of hysteria.
But let me just say -- you.
That I think that the owners here is on the congress it's an abdication of their responsibility.
And so many cases that they don't want.
Anybody to come to them and say should we go to war because they don't want the responsibility so they prefer.
That the president.
Act and then they wink and nod in terms of the funding because they keep throwing -- the -- they can cut off the money at any moment.
But instead of acting affirmatively.
They act in a way that night.
You know it's hard to think of an appropriate word and -- -- it's there's a lack of courage or more moral standard seems to me from man.
And say as Americans as the congress we have a role to play and you're not going go off to war with out permission from this body.
Well I I absolutely agree with you and this country did operate pretty much on that standard.
Up until World War II.
There -- five specific times in American history.
When a declaration of war was asked for and got.
And the last one was December -- 1941.
And since that time I think.
And I could be wrong -- -- I think that after World War II when we entered a nuclear age when suddenly wars -- not just.
Wars with -- rifles -- wars with nuclear weapons.
And the Cold War.
And suddenly the fear that we may as we walked -- -- during the Cuban missile crisis.
We may actually get involved with the Soviet Union.
And end up in a nuclear exchange and so congress the way you described it lacks the courage.
To sort of engage itself it pull back and it -- therefore the responsibility for war with one person.
Now there's nothing wrong -- -- elect a president to do a big job.
But yeah in this country there are rules and I think we've reached the point now what with us much too much authority -- one person.
You know who would disagree with you -- and if someone we talked about the last panel and that is former Vice President Dick Cheney who was a big supporter of executive power.
-- your thoughts.
I think that's true but remember even the bush Cheney administration.
Was careful to go to congress from the get what's coming authorization for the use of force.
And I got a twice once for Afghanistan.
Ones for Iraq.
And the -- you can -- the father bush senior.
Did the same thing he's of these gulf war and -- the same thing.
-- it was an honor and authorization it was a resolution of support.
Which is different you know okay technique yes but what I'm saying -- went to the congress.
Neither got a formal declaration of -- and what I would say is what you could argue is that.
In the modern age would presidents have done them before a major engagement that is predictable.
Is to substitute the form of the request.
Everybody understood with the authorization the use of force in Afghanistan and in Iraq and in the gulf of those -- different.
That that was the equivalent of a declaration of war it wasn't.
Technically but that was the -- who is the president saying I want the authorization of congress.
Now there's ambiguity here because I think get a book bush senior said even if I don't forget -- I'm gonna do it which it's.
Not exactly the I don't that the founders had in mind.
But could you make an argument that no one else in the world -- declares ward today you don't hear that.
He's sort of -- -- from the eighteenth and -- from them inoculate.
You would declare war was sort of issue worst thing to do.
That -- -- knew does that put the modern.
Equivalent of a declaration of war is the authorizations support.
-- -- I agree with you listen to points.
It is one thing for the congress to pattern president on the back.
And say this is a great war Mr.
President go off and win.
It is another thing to authorize it saying we give you -- -- power authority.
To conduct this kind of war.
A declaration of war is something very different and it involves a different response from the American people.
A declaration of war is a shrill.
Statement to the nation and the world.
We are all in a big war we're all in this together.
And we don't mess around and when that happened in World War II everybody understood it.
Everybody people volunteer they went in and they all realize that everybody was involved in that war.
Right now we have a military that consists of point 6%.
Of the total body of the American people fighting on behalf of 99 point 4%.
That's a huge difference and it -- is opening up there was a study done recently.
On the number of people of the point six.
The children of the point six are now joining the army in the navy and the Marines -- an -- nine point four.
So what -- -- -- -- -- this is important of chose to pick up your point you know Wendy who are dealing with this kind of narrow.
Small piece of America.
Going off to fight on behalf of everybody.
We beat everybody sort of leans back and says hey buddy it's your problem not mine but mine that is not the -- -- sort of become.
But not -- wars and reports.
Not every war has -- pearl did you say that -- people who.
No I don't resent -- it's not because we're fighting didn't feel like -- requirement is to imitate what happened.
On December 8.
As a result Pearl Harbor then it how it applies in Libya that's not a big war.
Not -- Pearl Harbor are you saying.
That in the -- -- of the declaration which has to be done even enough.
Even a very small war and this president ought not act as always we -- -- trying to expose you.
There's something a little different from.
I am not saying that for every military challenge you the president asked for a declaration of war what I am asking for.
Is for congress -- participate.
In the overall decision to send people off to fight and possibly -- well I don't think that congress has a right.
To set off on -- side.
And do nothing well the president assumes total responsibility.
But again I want the congress to be part of the decision but isn't that what happened -- Afghanistan's.
Iraq and the go -- -- it.
Knowing what happens a lot of decision knowing they would have been so that was Charles -- -- -- too much in the what happened is that the congress.
What one -- for not having the courage to act.
Giving it to the president perhaps the guy in the back and so is right on this president you do what sort of there.
The reason that a declaration of war has so much more clout.
Is that it is a demand on the part of the entire nation.
To join in this military opera.
-- Margaret in today's world with 24 hour news and Twitter and FaceBook do you think any -- Even a great communicators.
Could get a declaration of war.
There's going to be a big opposition to any -- -- force being sent anywhere right.
It would be a pretty big PR campaign to get that across wouldn't.
They would be a PR campaign to get it across in the very traditional sense but we know.
When President Bush -- went before the nation and said we are now bombing.
He had the authority to do that because he decided that that was the action he wanted to take.
I'm trying to get to the point that you did in this world -- all of the communications.
It's one man.
Whom they said -- -- to act.
And I simply feel that in this country where we still are a democracy.
And we still require action on the part of other branches of government that the legislative branch and the executive branch.
In a decision involving -- and it.
-- -- let me say a little some results of the thing stuff independents and Democrats agreeing with.
-- -- more than Republicans.
About women agreeing that when you send the president should go to congress more than man.
GOP condemns the highest intensity so far as when Charles said bush was careful to go to congress you can see with the intensity marks.
For each party went either way.
But it's and -- the people are engaged in the whole discussion about what role congress.
No I was curious about -- I'll take from your authority here is your comment about mass media you seem to suggest that given.
The -- in a war -- country yeah yeah.
-- you're saying that it's impossible to gain consensus.
And for all the political elements and a polarized congress to come together and you're saying.
-- they're 24 hour media here and the critics will be out and no president.
No matter how awful.
The threat to us as an American people no president can get opponent.
But I'm saying no congress.
Because of the political implications of making that vote for the declaration question regarding what you chickens and -- yeah.
And that's how we -- -- -- think about the Iraq war in 20022003.
There was a robust debate I would argue nationally about whether it was -- to -- -- -- in Iraq there was a congressional vote that authorized that was.
Bipartisan vote why is that why how can you make the argument -- that congress is sitting that out when they were part of the process the entire time.
Let me try to incidents to continue that.
And it was February.
Senator Fulbright to side is that as we got more deeply involved in the Vietnam War.
It was very important for the country to understand what it is that we were doing in Vietnam.
And so he began to have hearings they will remarkable.
And he had.
-- of state defense national security former national security.
That witness a terrific lineup.
And that was the kind of thing that in my ideal perhaps -- -- I would love to see.
That kind of reconstituting.
Of a national tutorial.
On the issue of war and peace if the president a couple weeks ago said he's gonna participate militarily.
Well and the the rebels claim we haven't gotten a single bullet is here.
The president's policy in Syria is very confuse.
Yeah it's -- Wouldn't it be wonderful.
If there -- a new Fulbright with a set of hearings up on the bill to lay it all -- of that the American people understand what we're doing here's another.
Perspective another example perhaps President Obama.
When he ran as candidate Obama Afghanistan was his war of choice it was the right -- to fight.
When he did the surge in Afghanistan at first it was a paper statement.
Was not an announcement it was a paper statement that he gave a speech at West Point where he talked about a date certain for the troops to come home.
And then we didn't hear from the president on Afghanistan about why we were there watch we should still be there.
There weren't really any speeches about it so.
In your mind is it no surprise that the American public immediately.
Went downhill on the opinion of them.
Why we are in Afghanistan and give the president wasn't taking that -- No he wasn't -- you're absolutely right on that and I would spank him as you do on that kind of thing.
But I would lay out the congress first.
Because it is there that's the part envisaged by the by the founders of this country it's there.
That we're missing an important component.
The president is still there he is still making his commander in chief so he can still make the decision about sending people off to war.
But there is supposed to be another branch of government participating.
In a decision of that magnitude and importance and the rest.
But I would argue on Iraq and not to beat a dead horse but I don't think you answer my question on Iraq we have that kind of a debate we did -- now I was there I covered it I covered the hearings where where.
People brought in the hawks and doves and he had here in spirit function techie testifying that we would need more troops than we did and -- -- -- big stir and you had.
Joseph Biden foreign relations committee had hearing after hearing after hearing on the possible consequences on the -- long term commitment that we needed.
He had the debates in October of 2002.
The vote where Hillary Clinton went out and talked about Saddam Hussein allied with al-Qaeda and what a threat he was.
We we have that kind of a nationally I think you're right about the importance of a national debate I guess on that at least on that particular question.
I think we have one.
I think it's one of the reasons that Democrats had a more difficult time -- they might have otherwise had.
Distancing themselves from Iraq because they had them on board -- to -- Well yeah but what your point me to Steve but they still didn't do it an authorization for warning that a resolution is -- and again you know -- -- the president Barack.
They didn't do not really position was for the general use of force right.
It was the same thing is the Tonkin gulf resolution to 1964.
During the Vietnam War.
There was congress saying to -- president.
You have -- back to him to do what you want it was not specific.
It was not the result of an organized to -- I would argue with you was the degree of seriousness of that debate on Iraq.
But remember there was one party and I don't want to go into this again because everyone make you'll unhappy.
But the media.
A good bit of -- responsibility.
When it did not raise basic fundamental questions.
About the course of the president's policy what it is that he was thinking of doing.
The media more or less -- a long and -- as patriotic as everybody else.
That is the reason I am suggesting.
That if the congress really was serious.
And did that kind of homework that is required when you're sending your children off to fight and die.
That you've got to be serious about your responsibility.
And it's simply.
-- but my shortly.
The war and the process -- -- you say should be the model.
Pearl Harbor December 1941.
The media surely let -- without -- to an extent issues that overshadows anything today the propaganda of the censorship everything.
And if your model is that well.
It's not so much how you can start the war.
That you view it and you're arguing that we should have involvement of congress all along all the way we should be you know stay in the fight.
Well hundreds of their constitution.
The congress declares war.
And then it's done it can't.
It doesn't undeclared war all the authority in the hands of the total of the -- -- and yes the power of the purse is always there.
But if -- point in his -- let's return.
To the declarations of war I'm not sure that that's a solution and.
Charles I said that's a blank check that we witnessed.
I said before the my desire is not who returned.
So facto to a declaration of war it is a return to a responsible.
Congress acting -- an issue of war if we got to a circumstance where you would need a declaration.
Where you will need -- shrill.
Cry from the president that we are all in this remember that President Bush to.
Right after going to war said he wanted everybody to go about their business in a normal way.
That you don't have a declaration of -- for that.
That would have been foolish but you do have been -- arguing about is the congress look.
I'm here to promote a book.
-- I'm saying is read the book and make up -- There you know they.
It's a good good point we all agree we can agree on that definition definitely.
We've got a lot of comments coming in the -- It's true unit of account here for an inquisition.
By the way the senate has agreed on -- deal while we've been talking on the student loan interest rates we're expected to hear that.
Just confirming that at this hour this from reading right now.
Getting a lot of people from around the country reacting to.
This question and another one RB and 69 says Marvin cal I knew his son in -- in 1970.
Then his son went to Korea the RVN in my title.
Is Republic of Vietnam so we have viewers from all over the musically there is wrong I don't have -- -- -- wonderful daughters oh well sorry -- But I.
-- definitely tell there you go back.
Barbara what about you mentioned the media.
What do you think the media is.
Job and now is on some of these things -- one of the it's writers -- in -- -- says I want to thank you for continuing to cover Ben Ghazi.
The truth is owed to those who died their families of the American people and -- someone who may have been complicit in the lack of response to the attack.
May be running for president of the United States is imperative.
We know the truth about her role you know obviously.
There are a lot of organizations covering the fallout from bad guys you what you thought about.
That will fox certainly -- the full from thing because it until it the other networks didn't know.
Fox certainly did.
My feeling very strongly and I'm an old timer when it comes to freedom of the press.
My sense is that the journalist has a fundamental responsibility.
To be there on behalf of the American people to find out as much about the truth as it possibly can and to lay it all out.
No matter where it ends up.
I am concerned.
When the press becomes too political.
I think that the president -- stay the hell out of forgive me stay out of politics is -- its online market.
You can busted -- but I don't protect.
No I I feel let me to journalists is the glue of American democracy.
And look look I've been covering stories all over the world do you get off an airplane.
Wherever you are in the world and go under the first kiosk and look at what it is that is the journalism of that country.
You know immediately whether it's a free country you know authoritarian country a dictatorship.
You know would immediately because the press reflects it.
And if in this country the press reflects.
The certain political point of view -- we're in trouble I think that we have to have much more.
Unafraid coverage when we went into any fair balanced -- a fresh -- When we went into Iraq.
I forgot the exact numbers but I think they -- 15100.
Reporters not obviously not just American within a cup of that attack.
When Americans are not being.
When they're not in great danger.
-- American press corps leave us.
What gives it legitimacy.
The American press gives it legitimacy in this country is when Americans are in danger we don't seem to care that much that much.
About the rest of the world.
Which is why it's a hard sell for anyone in Syria.
To get congress and to do something on that from an exactly even in -- -- -- Olivia.
Marvin on -- being.
Radar here -- -- false left right and center are all agreed with your last statement about journalism about the checks and balances.
And that was the highest intensity -- not just salute if you get.
-- to buy this book Iraq by the -- golden -- thanks so much been my good and thank you all -- panel has always.
Another addition of special report on line with this new factor.
By the way somebody at the controls here in the control room.
-- -- it's her birthday.
So as we waved goodbye the control room happy birthday to -- there she is waving.
Where else would she wanna behave this -- percent of the online -- -- Have a good moments and actually.
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