According to the US Constitution, only Congress can declare wars. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war, in the following wording: “The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”
Most Constitutional scholars agree the framers of the Constitution deliberately separated the powers of declaring and waging war. They were fearful of a powerful Chief Executive becoming like a king – doing whatever he wanted to do. This was a deliberate separation of powers that our Constitution is famous for. The President submits a declaration of war. The Congress approves and declares war (or not). Separation of powers is one of the basic tenets of our form of government – whether we like it or not.
This power to declare war was further strengthened in 1973 when Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which requires the President to obtain either a declaration of war or a resolution authorizing the use of force from Congress within 60 days of initiating hostilities. The President must go to Congress if he wants us to go to war or send troops for America’s purposes.
So why I am I writing all of this?
The last time war was officially declared by Congress was June of 1942 when we declared war against Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. Since then we have fought in Korea, Viet Nam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan among the many fights we have been in. In all of those cases, we did not officially declare war on those countries. But we have had thousands of Americans die. We talk about a “War on Terrorism”. What is up with that?:
I am trying to figure out why Congress abdicates their responsibilities. Here is what the Senate says about it on their web page: “Since that time (World War II) it (the Senate) has agreed to resolutions authorizing the use of military force and continues to shape U.S. military policy through appropriations and oversight.” “Agreed to resolutions”? What about doing your duty as outlined in the Constitution?
Is it because no one wants to sound like they are against war?
Why wouldn’t the Republicans do it just to spite the President?
Is there no member of Congress with enough courage to demand a vote on sending out troops into war?
Even after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in World War II, Senator Jeannette Rankin voted against the declaration of war on principle. She was a pacifist. Have we no one today with similar principles today? For me, this is one more example of the complete failure of our elected leaders to do what is right for our country. Will we ever see a reversal?