The Power to Declare War Essay

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Pages: 5

The Power to Declare War

Ritwik Ravin

Poltical Science
Mrs. Mooney
December 13, 2010

Ricky Ravin, Mrs. Mooney The Power to Declare War Congress and the president use their powers to check and balance each other. One power of Congress is the ability to declare war. However, Congress generally gives the president control during war time. Because of this, the president is able to acquire more power over the war while Congress can do little if they have already given their approval. After the Vietnam War, in which Presidents Johnson and Nixon continued to wage despite a divided Congress[i]; they decided that the Constitution did not warrant the president to have the power to declare war, so they passed the War
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The troops were left there for longer than 60 days without Congressional approval, again defying the limits of the act. President Bill Clinton sent troops into Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, the Middle East, and Kosovo, all without Congressional approval. Clinton, like other presidents, believes that the president has the authority of Commander in Chief to send troops into combat. House Joint Resolution 114, passed on October 16th, 2002, gave a broad authorization to the President to use troops against Iraq to protect the national security of the United States. The plaintiffs argued in the Supreme Court case Doe vs. Bush and Rumfield, that a specific declaration was necessary for the president to use troops. The case was dismissed as it was believed that foreign policy is outside the jurisdiction of the courts and President Bush was allowed to wage this war without any Congressional Declaration. In fact, Congress has only declared five wars, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. In these wars, the president has been the one who decided that war was necessary and asked Congress for a declaration. On the other hand, the president has waged over 100 conflicts without Congressional approval. The Constitution was left ambiguous by the framers when it came to war powers. They did not clearly state that the president could not send troops without a declaration of war, and they did not