8

[Source:] ... Truman drafted an order to MacArthur, which was issued under Bradley's signature:

I deeply regret that it becomes my duty as President and Commander-in-Chief of the United States military forces to replace you as Supreme Commander, Allied Powers...

You will turn over your commands, effective at once, to Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway. You are authorized to have issued such orders as are necessary to complete desired travel to such place as you select.

If it were truly Truman (the pun is fortuitous) who wrote this letter, why did he use present perfect? GA MacArthur first learned of his dismissal here, so there's no past issuance of orders to justify this tense?

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    Instead of saying "Don't let the door hit you on your way out.", Truman is saying "You have permission to tell your valet to hold the door while you leave." Truman is also saying, "I don't care where you go, but you will leave Korea as soon as possible." – Jasper Feb 3 '15 at 3:07
  • @δοῦλος Could I please ask why you deleted your answer on Feb 3 at 7:17? Would you like to undelete it? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Feb 22 '15 at 22:06
  • Infinitives are non-finite by definition and therefore non-tensed, which means an infinitival perfect construction can't be present perfect. – snailcar May 24 '15 at 5:52
15

I can't be certain of this, since I don't know the peculiarities of English usage in the military or the top levels of government, but I think have issued is not the present perfect. The sentence means "you are authorized to have someone issue orders on your behalf to travel where you need to go."

In other words, it's the sense of have that you use when you say "Have my shoes shined" or "Have Jimmy wash the trucks". Omitting Jimmy, you could make a construction analogous to Truman's like this: "You are hereby authorized to have washed such trucks as you need to drive." (No one would speak so formally in everyday life, of course.)

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    Similarly, rewording the sentence as, "You are authorized to have such orders issued as are necessary..." might make it clearer. – anomaly Feb 3 '15 at 16:36
  • @anomaly +1 Yes, that helps! – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Feb 22 '15 at 21:55
5

Here MacArther isn't being authorized to issue things. The orders are being issued by an anonymous someone, and MacArther is being authorized to have that anonymous someone do it. I think it's part of the implicit intent of the order to say that his authority is being stripped to the point that he's not authorized to issue the travel orders himself.

Let's write it in another order (another fortuitous pun):

"You are authorized to have such orders issued as are necessary..."

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