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Declaring official war

  1. Apr 6, 2003 #1

    Kerrie

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    I need someone to educate me on how war is decided if possible...I remember learning in school that Congress must vote on a declaration of war, yet it doesn't seem that this "officially" happened, and the media is calling Iraqi Freedom a war...

    Furthermore, if this how war is decided, then did Congress declare war or did Bush Jr. make that decision all on his own?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 6, 2003 #2
    The justification was based onthe idea that the U.N. violations were cause enough, I think. Funny, how the U.N. is an excuse and a hinderance all at once.
     
  4. Apr 6, 2003 #3
    ya i don't think it is legaly a "war" but more of a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham.
     
  5. Apr 7, 2003 #4

    russ_watters

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    Um, nice opinions guys, but neither of you address the question. Kerrie was asking about the declaration of war itself, what it means, why we haven't seen one in 60 years, etc.

    Kerrie, the Constitution says Congress holds the power to declare war. But it also says that the President is Commander in Chief of the military. These two ideas are somewhat contradictory. The last declared war the US had was WWII. Since then, no president has seen fit to ask for one and no Congress has taken it upon themselves to vote on one.

    We do however have a document called the "War Powers Act" which I believe was signed into law shortly after Vietnam to clarify the constitutional powers of war. It basically says the President can do whatever he wants for 60 days, after which he needs Congressional authority (not necessarily a declaration of war) to keep going. This sounds nice, but it is generally regarded by constitutional scholars to be unconstitutional. As such, Congress has NEVER invoked it (they don't want to risk losing it in a challenge) and presidents generally have simply ignored it.

    Either way, what this means for a formal declaration of war is that it is currenly just an anachronism. Its a little pointless too, don't you think? Send a piece of paper to Berlin to tell them we are going to war with them. Why not send a squadron of bombers instead? Same message, more force.

    Also, I don't think the founding fathers forsaw the type of limited war we so often see today. When a country went to war hundreds of years ago, it was virtually always a big deal requiring a draft and the mobilization of the entire country to support the war effort. Not so today.
     
  6. Apr 7, 2003 #5

    arivero

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    In Spain, Congress *and* the King share the power to declare war, the king being the Chief of the army, in theory. So Mr. Aznar has not been able to send troops, and he is sending three ships under the label of humanitatian aid! Well, one of the ships is a military hospital. But time ago this was called logistic aid.

    There is a point You the powerful People forget about wars, and it is about losing it... the power of war is about the power to declare war AND peace. At least in Spanish law it is labeled so; the Government is not authorized to surrender, only the congress and/or the king can sign a rendition.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2003
  7. Apr 7, 2003 #6
    that is not contradictory at all, it works just like arivero explained that it does in Spain; our founding fathers did a nice job of laying it out very clearly and it seems the Spanish people benefited from it as well. unfortunately people have argued that it is "contradictory" so much that the lines have been blurred here in America, as people have argued that "humanitarian aid" is not the same as logistic aid; but argueing a such a postion does not make it any less false.
     
  8. Apr 7, 2003 #7

    russ_watters

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    Well, I haven't read the Spanish constitution, so I can't comment on how it works in Spain. But in the US, it is clearly not as simple as you want it to be. I don't think anyone would claim the 101st Airborne Division is in iraq providing either "humanitarian aid" or "logistic aid."

    If it is so simple and clear cut, why hasn't Bush been impeached? Not to mention Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, Carter, Nixon....
     
  9. Apr 7, 2003 #8
    why? because there are so many people that don't even have the attention span to understand a reference from one post up; let alone the whole constitution. also, because there are quite a few people who play that fact to their advantage.
     
  10. Apr 7, 2003 #9

    russ_watters

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    This just in: Constitutional scholars all have ADD. More at 11.
     
  11. Apr 7, 2003 #10
    Out of interest, 'War' was never declared in the UK. The Queen has to give her consent for war, but I believe we just called this a 'conflict' to avoid that issue. It isn't really a war anyway IMO.
     
  12. Apr 8, 2003 #11

    arivero

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    Well, if it is not a war, it seems very much as if it were :) And it is not very different of other wars waged by Englishmen, even in the same scene!

    Other questions is what to do. According to our legal system, for instance, the declaration of war (or peace) without the consent of the king can be considered "High Treason"; tribunals could be invoked, in theory.
     
  13. Apr 8, 2003 #12
    Yes!, and NO!

    Sometime after 9/11 your government authorized your president to use any force and means nessecary, with repect to the terrorist thing, since then, it has not been revoked, hence he still has authorization from his own (the American) government, but he is in violation of international law, the Geneva Convention, and the UN Charter as this war has no international legitimacy.
     
  14. Apr 8, 2003 #13

    russ_watters

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    Re: Yes!, and NO!

    Again, since when has the lack of Congressional autorization EVER stopped a president from taking military action? It is simply irrelevant.

    The rest of your post is for another thread...
     
  15. Apr 8, 2003 #14
    Re: Re: Yes!, and NO!

    So the law, according to you, is "Irrelevant" that is the same law that got George elected, keeps him in power, allows you the freedom you enjoy on these pages, to post whatever claptrap you like.

    Not bad russ, not bad!
     
  16. Apr 8, 2003 #15
    Russ, do you work for the Bush administration? They like to ignore any laws that are against their goals by calling them irrelevant...you know, things like the 1st Amendment.
     
  17. Apr 8, 2003 #16

    enigma

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    Re: Re: Re: Yes!, and NO!

    Up until the Vietnam war, the President had full authority to move troops where he wanted, when he wanted.

    If the Congress tried to enforce the law they wrote after that war, it would get struck down in the courts.

    The President is commander in chief of the army. End of story.
     
  18. Apr 8, 2003 #17
    Enigma, do we throw away checks and balances?
     
  19. Apr 8, 2003 #18

    russ_watters

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    Re: Re: Re: Yes!, and NO!

    Law, what law? Are you referring to the unconstitutional war powers act or the Constitution (the constitution is not a law)? If something is never used it may as well not exist - the War Powers Act is de facto irrelevant.
    Heh, sure. Ok I used to think everyone was anti-US, but mabye they are just anti-Bush. Clinton (and every president before Bush) has done the same things. A law that is never enforced (for whatever reason) is an irrelevant law. This does NOT just apply to Bush. No president has EVER had his power as CINC challenged.
    What do checks and balances have to do with it, Zero? Regardless of Congress's ability to declare war they have precisely ZERO authority to send orders to the military. That is stricly the President's domain. Its in the Constitution.

    Look, you guys have a nice picture (maybe even a GOOD picture, I am undecided) of how you WISH things were, but wishing life were one way never made it that way. If you want the President's (any president's) war powers restricted, you need a Constitutional amendment. If you think the War Powers Act sufficiently clarifies things, tell me *WHY* Congress has never attempted to enforce it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2003
  20. Apr 8, 2003 #19

    enigma

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    Hell no.

    It's in the constitution: the President controls the military.

    The War Powers act (thanks russ... I forgot the name of it) is the only law which could even come close to giving the Congress any direct control over the military.

    The War Powers act is 100% unconstitutional, but there is no way to get it removed unless they try to enforce it.

    Checks and Balances are a good thing. If the Congress disagrees with the President's war, they can:

    a) draft a constitutional ammendment and get (it's 50%, right? 67%?) the states to ratify it.

    b) not allocate any funding for it.

    But the congress has no authority to control the President's movements of troops.
     
  21. Apr 8, 2003 #20
    When teh constitution was drafted, the military didn't have the power to remove a country from existance in a month. Nukes didn't exist, communications were measured in days and weeks, instead of minutes. Everything about the way things were set up was to provide authority in situations that don't exist anymore. 200 years ago, if the President told the troops to jump, they might not get to teh battle for 6 months.
     
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