Some will rightly point out the potential for abuse, as there almost certainly will be, as with all social and governmental institutions. However, the U.S. government would be holding accountable a much smaller group of individuals, whose scope of operations are far more limited than the expansive U.S. military. If abuse were to be found, processes for investigation and prosecution would be in place to swiftly bring to account and deal punishment for violations, as they had in the past.

Some less rational factions will undoubtedly hail this as a crazy right-winged conspiracy to privatize the military. But Founders did not design a Constitution with powers that undermine other powers. If letters of marque were a tool of privatization, what good would it have been to include provisions, just a few lines below this, “to raise and support armies” and to “provide and maintain a Navy”?

It is not certain that such a mechanism would significantly aid a pushback against the Islamic State, but it’s difficult to argue that we should not let those who are willing and able at least try. If this attack were directly on our homeland, and it were our own neighbors being burned alive or beheaded, would we thrust our arms out to hold back our brothers and sisters who were trying to stop it? Would we exclaim our dismay at an upset of the status quo, or would we be relieved the mobilization of decent people to action against veritable evil?