In light of Congress getting ready to cede yet more authority to the Bush administration for the cause of avoiding "soft-on-terror" ads during elections, it's interesting for me to look at this scenario in the view of both bureaucratic politics and individual influence.
Bureaucratic politics theory says that basically bureaucracies are imperialistic. In an article we had to read for class, Graham Allison looks at the Cuban Missile Crisis and shows how you could see the CIA, Air Force and Navy all fighting for the power/privilege of responding to the Cuban missiles, even at the expense of a coherent and effective national response. Under this model, you would expect Congress to avoid AT ALL COSTS ceding important powers to the Executive, including:
- Rendering habeus corpus irrelevant
- Rendering trial-by-jury irrelevant
- Allowing the President and his appointees to decide who is an enemy combatant (and thus defining who benefits from Constitutional rights and who doesn't)
- Removing actions of the Executive from the supervision of the Judiciary
An answer on the individual level of analysis would point to the individuals who fill Congress. Congressional leaders are sycophantic, corrupt and powerhungry, unwilling to criticize a fellow Republican, fearful of losing the far-Right Evangelical support (the only demographic left that supports Bush) and are brown-nosing the Bush Administration (oops, I mean "bandwagoning") in order to bask in Bush's Christ-annointed power.
An interesting question would be "which level of analysis is more pessimistic and cynical - systemic, which believes war is inevitable, or sub-state, which believes that wars arise out of individual choice?"