||12 EDWIN B. FIRM AGE The more I reflected on the experiences of history, the more I have come to see the instability of solutions achieved by force and to suspect even those instances where force has had the appearance of resolving difficulties. Sir Basil Liddell Hart18 The Framers of our Constitution separated the power to decide for war from the power to conduct it. The power to initiate war, except for sudden attack upon our country, was lodged exclusively in the Congress. The president was confined to conducting war once Congress had decided upon such a course. The assumptions behind this separation of war power are as vital to us 200 years later as they were when these ideas were penned in Philadelphia. The executive or monarchical inclination to make war impulsively, without deliberate debate among a sizeable and varied body of people, was thought by many to have contributed to decades of war that ravaged Europe. War came almost to be the natural condition, interrupted rarely by periods of peace. The Framers thought that by denying to the president the monarchical power of raising armies and deciding for war, and placing such powers in the Congress, the sensitivities of the people who had to fight such wars and pay for them would be reflected through their representatives. In other words, the condition of peace, not war, was considered to be normal. The biases and presumptions of law and government, the inertia factor, were placed on the side of peace. Those who were for war had the burden of persuasion not easily borne. Only after open debate in a deliberative body, a process intentionally meant to prevent precipitous, cavalier action, would the state move from peace to war. A number of factors have eroded these constitutional checks against war. Two world wars and a depression in this century have moved much power in government from the deliberative body-Congress-to the executive. Certain advantages of administration and dispatch are obvious. But the costs of executive abuse-Watergate, Iran and Nicaragua, and executive war in Korea and Vietnam-have been devastating. Perhaps government based upon an assumption of perpetual crisis fulfills its own presumption. 18 Sir Basil Liddell Hart, Why Don't We Learn From History? 72 (New York: Hawthorne Books, 1971).