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It's Time to Declare War on Iraq


Diamond Member
May 8, 2004
Reaction score
Austin, TX
The true strength of the Constitution has always been tensile—the taut, almost musically tuned cables that suspend and balance the executive, legislative and judicial branches against one another. But the business of war powers has, from the beginning, been something of a flat string. Article I specifically vests Congress with the authority to declare war, but Article II designates the president as commander in chief not only of the Army and the Navy, but of the militias of the several states. That's a whole lot of power explicitly given to one person, and a whole lot that may or may not have been given to the legislature to share with him.

If the office of the president really wields absolute authority over the nation's military—and it does—then why involve Congress at all? When it comes to taking the country into combat, is the American legislature merely a symbol? A chorus? A solemnly nodding counsel of elders charged with standing behind the president when he dons battle gear?

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