[Got this in my email inbox. As usual Ron Paul Rules-- most consistent with the platform as written. This also approximates my own feeling about national defense.]
One of the primary reasons the "States" "United" was for national defense. Yet George Washington and the founders envisioned a nation of peace, only going to war when necessary, and avoiding the entangling wars of Europe fought for spurious reasons. George Washington, in his famous "Farewell Address", said "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world". The U.S. has fought many wars of aggression in the last 60 years, in the name of the United Nations (U.N.), (a permanent entangling alliance) including the most recent war against Libya. U.S. Ambassador, attorney and LDS apostle J. Reuben Clark predicted in 1945, after reviewing the U.N. Charter, "Not only does the Charter Organization not prevent future wars, but it makes it practically certain that we shall have future wars, and as to such wars it takes from us the power to declare them, ... and to control and command our sons who do the fighting." ("Prophets, Principles and National Survival', pg 458.)
What does the Constitution say about National Defense?
The Constitution places the power to take the nation to war in the hands of congress, not the president. This provision was debated and intentional. The founders experience and observation was that in Europe, a single person, the king, could take an entire nation to war, and often did so for deceitful reasons, such as to deflect domestic criticism or for personal gain. The founders wisely placed the power to "declare war" in the hands of a numerous and elected congress, representing both the States (Senate) and the People (House). (Article I Section 8 clauses 11-16.) While the President is "Commander in Chief of the military" (Article II Section II), all the rules governing the military (including the commander in chief) are made by congress (Article 1 Section 8 clause 14). It is congress, not the president, who has the power to "raise armies", "call forth the militia", and "declare war". (Article I Section 8, clauses 12, 15-16, and 11 respectively.)
What does the State's predominant LDS faith teach about National Defense?
LDS scriptures discuss when war is justified in the "Doctrine & Covenants" Section 98. This section admonishes members to "renounce war and proclaim peace" (D&C 98:16) and counsels "...if any nation, tongue, or people should proclaim war against them, they should first lift a standard of peace unto that people, nation or tongue" (D&C 98:34). Also, "...I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land; And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." (D&C 98:6-7).
What does the Republican Party say about National Defense?
"We support a military force of sufficient strength and readiness to deter any threat to our national sovereignty or to the safety and freedom of our citizens. ... We oppose placement of United states troops under any foreign command, including the united nations." (Utah State Republican Party Platform http://www.utgop.org/pdf/Utah%
"As a matter of U.S. sovereignty, American forces must remain under American command" (2008 Republican National Platform, the current platform until 2012: http://www.gop.com/