Originally Posted by MJ1970
As I understand the "imminent threat" language it should be inverted
...giving the President the power to act if there is
an imminent threat...not in the absence
of one. That's where we get into trouble.
Technically, that is what it says: It is never really followed, and it's something I don't agree with.
c) The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
First, the President should be getting a "permission slip" to go to war.
For a full-blown, extended conflict, yes.
Second, there's nothing that says the declaration of war from Congress needs to happen publicly in advance of a military action. But it should be made public immediately afterwards if secrecy is a concern.
OK, but does it need to be a formal "Declaration of War?" Or, can it just be an authorization?
Third, why is there a need for secrecy here? We're not talking about actual military tactics and form of military action...merely the decision to use military action.
What you're arguing is that the President can never conduct any operation without explicit approval to use the armed forces first. In some circumstances, it might even be desirable to let the enemy know about this approval. In some, it is a very bad idea. I'm not saying it should always be a secret, but the President should have leeway to use the armed forces and then go to Congress later. This is apparently what Obama is refusing to do.
Fourth, once at war, yes he's the Commander-in-Chief and doesn't need to be micromanaged by Congress. Which I think was the whole point of this structure. Congress operates as a check to an imperial Presidency and his or her fetishes for military adventurism. The President, once authorized, doesn't have to deal with Congressional meddling and micromanaging.
I agree in principle. I don't think micromanaging is really an issue here.
I view the constitutional structure that was created as a declaration of what the rest of the world could expect from the US: 1) We will publicly declare war against an enemy as determined and deliberated by a wider deliberative body...rather than capriciously by a single individual (or small cabal of hawkish individuals)...but...2) when do decide to act, there will be one single person with the authority and responsibility for executing with success and decisiveness (individual character flaws aside.)
The problem with this is it's based upon the geopolitics of 200 years ago. Wars are often asymmetrical now. Most military operations are not even really "wars." Launching a few cruise missiles, for example, does not constitute "a war." What does
constitute it is really up to Congress.
In my view the President today has way, way too much power. This is only one example (though it is a big one.)
We just disagree there. In fact, on a broader topic...there are some powers I would like to see the President have...such as a line-item veto. In terms of war powers, I think they are just about right. He can't just launch a sustained military operation....unless he's Barack Obama, apparently.