War act

7 July 2016

From the readings in Lesson 3, we discussed Congress’s quandry regarding the employment of combat forces abroad. During the Vietnam Conflict, President Nixon employed hundreds of thousands of combat forces into Southeast Asia without approval of Congress. Eventually, Congress felt compelled to pass the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (over his veto). As such, the president can still employ troops abroad to defend US interests, but then is required to notify Congress of the employment within 48 hours, and then withdraw them within 60 days – unless Congress formally declares war or authorizes the use of military force.

However, subsequent presidents have not all followed this Resolution. This has caused a rift between the president and Congress that still exists today. For this Forum assignment, please discuss the issue of how American military forces should be employed in conflict abroad. Is it strictly the president’s call? What is Congress’s role? Are the restrictions in the War Powers Resolution of 1973 realistic? How should this issue be resolved? Please use examples in your post.

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Post by 11:55 pm (ET) on Friday; include citations or URLs for your work to receive full credit; and, provide substantive replies to the posts of at least 2 of your classmates by 11:55 pm (ET) on Sunday. Assignment responses should be no less than 400 words and no more than about 600 words, while student replies should be no less than 150 words and no more than about 300 words. Under the United States Constitution, war powers are divided.

Congress has the power to declare war, raise and support the armed forces, control the war funding (Article I, Section 8), and has “Power … to make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution … all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof”, while the President is commander-in-chief of the military, and the militia (i. e. the National Guard) “when called into the actual Service of the United States”

(Article II, Section 2). It is generally agreed that the commander-in-chief role gives the President power to repel attacks against the United States[3][4] and makes the President responsible for leading the armed forces. In addition and as with all acts of the Congress, the President has the right to sign or veto congressional acts, such as a declaration of war. During the Korean and Vietnam wars, the United States found itself involved for many years in situations of intense conflict without a declaration of war.

Many members of Congress became concerned with the erosion of congressional authority to decide when the United States should become involved in a war or the use of armed forces that might lead to war. The credibility gap widened when news leaked out that President Nixon conducted secret bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. He did not tell Congress about his military plan. The resolution was created because Congress felt that the president had too much power. The War Powers Resolution was passed by both the House of Representatives and Senate but was vetoed by President Richard Nixon.

By a two-thirds vote in each house, Congress overrode the veto and enacted the joint resolution into law on November 7, 1973. Presidents have submitted 130[5] reports to Congress as a result of the War Powers Resolution, although only one (the Mayaguez incident) cited Section 4(a)(1) and specifically stated that forces had been introduced into hostilities or imminent danger. Congress invoked the War Powers Resolution in the Multinational Force in Lebanon Act (P. L. 98-119), which authorized the Marines to remain in Lebanon for 18 months during 1982 and 1983.

In addition, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 1991 (Pub. L. 102–1) which authorized United States combat operations against Iraqi forces during the 1991 Gulf War, stated that it constituted specific statutory authorization within the meaning of the War Powers Resolution. On November 9, 1993, the House used a section of the War Powers Resolution to state that U. S. forces should be withdrawn from Somalia by March 31, 1994; Congress had already taken this action in appropriations legislation. More

recently under President Clinton, war powers were at issue in former Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Haiti, and under President George W. Bush in responding to terrorist attacks against the U. S. after September 11, 2001. “[I]n 1999, President Clinton kept the bombing campaign in Kosovo going for more than two weeks after the 60-day deadline had passed. Even then, however, the Clinton legal team opined that its actions were consistent with the War Powers Resolution because Congress had approved a bill funding the operation, which they argued constituted implicit authorization.

That theory was controversial because the War Powers Resolution specifically says that such funding does not constitute authorization. “[6] Clinton’s actions in Kosovo were challenged by a member of Congress as a violation of the War Powers Resolution in the D. C. Circuit case Campbell v. Clinton, but the court found the issue was a non-justiciable political question. [citation needed] It was also accepted that because Clinton had withdrawn from the region 12 days prior the 90 day required deadline, he had managed to comply with the act[7]

After the 1991 Gulf War, the use of force to obtain Iraqi compliance with United Nations resolutions, particularly through enforcement of Iraqi no-fly zones, remained a war powers issue. In October 2002 Congress enacted the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Pub. L. 107–243 which authorized President George W. Bush to use force as necessary to defend the United States against Iraq and enforce relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions. [8]

May 20, 2011, marked the 60th day of US combat in Libya (as part of the UN resolution) but the deadline arrived without President Obama seeking specific authorization from the US Congress. [9] President Obama, however, notified Congress that no authorization was needed,[10] since the US leadership was transferred to NATO,[11] and since US involvement is somewhat limited. On Friday, June 3, 2011, the US House of Representatives voted to rebuke President Obama for maintaining an American presence in the NATO operations in Libya, which they considered a violation of the War Powers Resolution.

[12][13] Possible repeal On 16 January 2014, Senators John McCain and Tim Kaine unveiled legislation that would repeal the existing War Powers Resolution and replace it with a new law for greater presidential consultation to Congress before committing military forces to a war or armed conflict. Senator McCain justifies the effort by pointing out that Congress has not formally declared war since June 1942 and that the nature of war has changed since then. Senator Kaine said that modern threats require a re-examination of consultation between a president and the legislature.

Since the War Powers Resolution was passed after involvement during Vietnam in 1973, the U. S. has been involved in several military actions of varying scales without any real effect from the resolution. Recent events like U. S. intervention during the 2011 Libyan Revolution and the attempted call for congressional approval for action in the Syrian Civil War in 2013 have ignited debate over presidential authority and the effectiveness of the War Powers Resolution.

The proposed replacement law would require the president to consult with Congress before deployment into a “significant armed conflict” or engage in combat operations expected to last over seven days. It extends the time needed to consult Congress of the deployment to three days, but reduces the time required for a resolution to be passed by Congress for extending operations to 30 days. The proposed legislation does not affect humanitarian missions and covert operations. The proposal is based on the work of the bipartisan National War Powers Commission. [14] Questions regarding constitutionality

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