Congress is banging the war drum

September 17, 1962

The pressure is mounting. Now the Congress is trying to upstage me on foreign policy. The House has attached three amendments to the foreign aid bill that cuts off all aid to any country whose ships are transporting any goods to Cuba. Any goods! Maybe those dunderheads in the House have never read the constitution. The president conducts foreign policy, for chrissake.

The Senate is also getting into the act. They have just passed what some of them are calling their “war plan.” War plan, schmor plan! Maybe my former colleagues in the Senate haven’t noticed that I am the commander in chief of the Armed Forces, that they don’t have an army, and that I do not take kindly to this kind of grandstanding.

I love Winston Churchill and Churchill said that democracy doesn’t work worth a damn, but it beats the alternatives. On days like this, I’m not so sure. The Congress is banging the war drum, but I am the one who has the responsibility for going to war; I’m the one who is responsible for the men put in harm’s way. Invading Cuba is not going to be a cakewalk, that’s for sure. I have seen jungle warfare, in the Pacific, and we Americans are not very good at it. When the dead bodies start arriving from Cuba, everyone will suddenly say, “Mr. President, now what are you going to do about that?”