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Give War Powers Back by Asking For Congress's Opinion?

Give War Powers Back by Asking For Congress's Opinion?

Adopting some wisdom from America's founding fathers, a bipartisan panel of former US officials concluded that the president should consult Congress before going to war. Congress last officially declared war, as called for in Article I of the Constitution, during World War II.

The National War Powers Commission, led by former secretaries of states James Baker III and Warren Christopher, proposed a law to require a congressional vote of approval or disapproval before the US engages in significant armed conflict for more than a week, except in cases of emergencies. The proposal pushes for cooperation and dialogue between the White House and Congress and imagines a Senate-House group that would assess the president's justification for war along with sensitive intelligence.

The Commission says it doesn't want to solve constitutional complexities; the Constitution holds that Congress declares war and controls funding, while the president is commander-in-chief. But the new law could reaffirm the notion that Congress is the president's war consultant, and not the other way around. Do you think this proposed revamping of war powers goes too far in tying the hands of the president? Or should Congress's unique ability to declare war be completely reasserted?


Join The Conversation
syako syako 9 years
hypno wins quote of the day!!! "This takes attention away from important things like banning Gay marriage." :woohoo: :P
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'd really like to see the President actually go to congress and ask for permission to use force, just like President Bush did. And as to which congress spent the most money, if you put all past budgets into 2008 dollars, you'll get a different picture. Having said that, I would like to see congress create legislation to eliminate pork spending, and give the president the ability to veto any ammendment that adds pork to a bill that isn't related to the original bill.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
With all due respect to the phenomena we call Auntie Coosa, girrrl you crazy! Suggesting that a resolution for one problem should be completely ignored because there is no resolution for several other issues is in my opinion nothing more than venting in frustration and complete abandonment of reason. There is no doubt that a corruption of egotism which thirsts for power leaves too many of our Representatives and Presidents straddling the line between public service and self service which falls evenly on both sides of the ile. This should not be a judgment of Republican vs. Democrat but a judgment of our collective consciousness which transcends political affiliation. I don’t know if I can think of two men that I admire more when it comes to foreign policy than Warren Christopher and James Baker. They along with a bipartisan commission for over a year have concluded that the current structure of War powers is inadequate, inefficient and for all intents and purposes dangerous in the way of security and issues of balance of power for the United States to rely upon. The new structure would not impede the Commander & Chiefs authority to deploy troops at will nor would it give the Congressional Committee made up of the leaders of both houses and chairpersons of select committees veto over the Presidents authority. The suggested amendment simply provides a “guarantee that the president consults with a cross section of Congress” also just as important in light of the way intelligence reports were manipulated and ignored in the run up to the War in Iraq a “permanent, bipartisan staff with access to all relevant intelligence and national-security information” will be established “giving the president the political benefit of forcing Congress to take a position on going to war. And it would do so without insisting that the president get the consent of Congress.” To be against this proposed amendment is in my opinion to be against good sense. If you’ve witnessed and lived through the fiasco which led us into Iraq and you are of sound mind and judgment there is no reason to oppose it.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
"They republicans"? I meant "Them republicans"
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I do agree with you on the raises and social security, but I have to part ways on the democratic congress. They republicans controlled both houses and the white house and spent more money than all previous administrations since the birth of our nation and mired us in debt for decades. McCain was a big part of that, by the way.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
When Congress gives back all the raises it has voted for itself every session, when Congress uses Social Security as its source of retirement, when Congress uses the same type of Health Insurance available to Voters, when Congress votes to limit all Congressional terms so that there are no "life-time" elected Congresspeople, when Congress actually acts as it was intended, THEN, Congress can ask the President to consult them about any future "wars." Bye the way, does anyone realize that the Democrats have controlled Congress for the past couple of years and that this is one HUGELY inefficient Congress? Nancy Pelosi has been so self-serving as Majority Leader in the House that she has single handedly refused to bring bills to the floor of the House for purely self-serving reasons. Why doesn't the Media hold her responsible for her lack of action. She bragged how this would be the 'greatest' Congressional session because the Democrats were in control. And what has she produced? Nearly Nothing! The Democrats in Congress have proved they are inept and mainly interested in serving up big portions of PORK to their favorite constituents. Congress is practically worthless. It's no wonder why President Bush side stepped them. They'd never have brought any bill out of committee and it would not just be two tall towers that were destroyed by terrorists, there would be destruction in all major cities while "Congress plays the fiddle" and "the USofA burns." Give credit where credit is due, John Sidney McCain does NOT add PORK projects to any bills. If you want to see your taxes go down and the US Government become fiscally responsible, vote for McCain.
stephley stephley 9 years
I think World Wars I and II and the Civil War presented some unique challenges to the then serving presidents - and Bush went looking for Iraq. What does he need the benefit of a doubt for?
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
This takes attention away from important things like banning Gay marriage.
stiletta stiletta 9 years
I too am for checks and balances, but I am very nervous about letting congress dictate the course of any war. When it comes to matters of national security on any level, the more people who have a say in the matter means delays, infighting and ultimately defeat. WWII was completely different than the Taliban and we can't ask congress' approval every time we find a terrorist to see if we can kill them or not. I think Bush is facing a war no previous commander-in-chief has ever faced and we should give him the benefit of the doubt.
jadoremondieu jadoremondieu 9 years
I have no right to comment as I'm an Australian citizen, but on a general level I agree totally with Jude C's comment - those checks and balances seem to keep getting eroded in democracies like ours. I started laughing (in agreeance) at what Janneth said...and then wanted to cry because she's so exactly right. It's what happens here in Australia, too (and probably many countries).. there's always a political 'term' (i.e. excuse) for circumventing the "checks and balances". GRRR.
janneth janneth 9 years
Q:How can we get around this Declaration of War thing? A:Let's call it an intervention, or a crisis, or an operation, or...
Michelann Michelann 9 years
Congress violated the constitution when they gave up their duty to declare war. I will always be in favor of obeying the rules of the constitution. So much blame is placed on President Bush for the Iraq war, but if Congress had lived up to their constitutional responsibility (and insisted Bush do so too) then perhaps things would have turned out differently.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
MSucre: Congress did give Bush authorization to use of force in Iraq (not an official Declaration of War). What that authorization practically entailed and whether Bush stayed within seems to be up for debate.
mini_pixie mini_pixie 9 years
Isn't this proposal basically how things are supposed to work? I also am unclear exactly how things have been circumvented, not just for this but for Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea et al...
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Hooray for checks and balances!
MSucre MSucre 9 years
So can someone explain how Bush got around this? Am I mistaken or is it not the Iraq war? Was it because the WMD qualified as an emergency?
stephley stephley 9 years
Absolutely, reassert Congress' authority, then make sure the twits exercise it.
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