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Think about the decision to use military force. Should that decision be made by a deliberative democratic body like Congress, or a unitary, decisive individual like the president? Is deliberation always preferable to democracy? Is democracy always preferable to deliberation? Under what circumstances should the decision to go to war be solely in the president’s hands?
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States”
---Article I Section 2
“To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia…”—Article I Section 8
“I don’t have to get permission from some old goat in the United States Congress to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.”
--President George H. W. Bush
“The president is authorized to negotiate a special agreement or agreements with the Security Council which shall be subject to the approval of the Congress…”
“Although the ratification of the Charter resulted in the vesting in the Executive Branch of the power and obligation to fulfill the commitments assumed by the US thereunder, the Congress must be taken into close partnership and must be fully advised of all phases of our participation in this enterprise. The Congress will be asked annually to appropriate funds to support the UN budget and for the expenses of our representation. It will be called upon to approve arrangements for the supply of armed forces to the Security Council and thereafter to make appropriations for the maintenance of such forces.”—Senate Foreign Relations Committee
“Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression…[the US is] prepared, as the President determines, to take all necessary steps, including the use of armed force, toassist any member or protocol state of the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty requesting assistance in defense of its freedom.”
Under what circumstances should the President be responsible for war powers?Are those criteria always met in the modern era?Is Congress equipped to handle its constitutional role?