The War Powers Act of 1973 - Article Example

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The writer of this paper states that on many occasions over the past 65 years, since World War II, the United States has been involved in military conflicts labeled as interventions, police actions, liberations, etc. but has not officially declared war…
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The War Powers Act of 1973
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Download file to see previous pages Congress attempted to regain its sole authority to declare war when it passed the War Powers Act in 1973 as a response to the undeclared Vietnam War. The Act allows the Commander-in-Chief to respond to emergency situations and deploy troops for a limited amount of time without a formal declaration of war. However, presidents from Truman to George W. Bush have summarily ignored this Act as well as their constitutionally limited authority by waging protracted wars all over the world. All have selectively cited the part of the Constitution that gives them authority over the military while ignoring the part that stipulates they do not have the authority to wage war on their own.

According to the United States Constitution Article One, Section Eight, only Congress has the exclusive authority to “to declare war [and] grant letters of marque and reprisal” (United States Constitution). Presidents do not have this authority. However, the War Powers Act of 1973 circumvented the Constitution. The Act allows the President to deploy troops to a country for 60-90 days without the consent of Congress (War Powers Resolution, 1973). It is intended to first allow the president to deploy troops in an emergency situation but secondly to strictly enforce Congressional authority to declare war, to adhere to the framers of the Constitution’s intention for the people’s representatives in Congress to decide if military action was in the nation’s best interest. Given the ambiguity of this license, the office of President now has to initiate war, but the President could, hypothetically, of course, act without specific congressional approval to wage war against a sovereign nation that did not pose a military threat. This could theoretically lead to a seemingly endless, bloody conflict that greatly impairs the credibility and security of the U.S. has the ability to invade a country simply because it can and not because it is the option of last resort. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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