Originally Posted by hardeeharhar
context is everything, Max...
You will note that John Dean's discussion was with regard to responding to terrorism. It was written three days after september 11 when the invasion of Afghanistan wasn't on the map, as it were...
Actions like Clinton's in Sudan and Afghanistan against terrorist targets DON'T require congressional approval. You have to realize that lobbing a few missiles is different than sending in forces for an extended period of time... One is explicitly allowed by the Presidential War Powers act, the other ISN'T.
So, are you the bitch? Yes, you are the bitch.
The date of John Dean's discussion is irrelevant to the points made in an article written in 1999, and also made the same author in 2002. Congress has the power to declare war, and to fund it. The President, the executive, has the power to make war, to author treaties, and to manage and direct foreign policy.
In other words, "Article I, section 8, clause 11, of the Constitution grants to Congress the power "to declare War." As Hamilton noted in 1793, this was an "exception" to the general grant of "executive power" to the President, and thus was intended to be narrowly construed" (Turner).
The meaning of a declaration of war, in the context of the 19th century, was set by international customary rules that required formal declarations of war by a state when it is go to an actual "war". As such, Congress has but this "narrowly construed" exception to the general power of the executive as war maker (e.g. the War of 1812 against Britan).
Short of that, the President has the power to conduct military operations in response to attack, to protect American property and people overseas, to strike against brigands and terrorists, to respond to treaty obligations, to deter another nations declared intent of attack or war, or to pre-empet clear and present danger. Starting with the Barbary coast pirates the U.S. has participated in armed conflicts without such declarations, including interventions throughout Latin America. Most recently armed conflicts have included: the Dominican Republic, Haiti (twice), Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea, Vietnam, the late 80's Iran/Iraq navel war against Gulf shipping, Grenada, & Panama.
The War Powers Act attempts to limit the executive authority to introduce US combat troops ONLY when there is a declaration of warm OR a statutory authorization OR in response to an attack on the United States or its armed forces. As Presidential executive authority is far broader than that, this act is clearly unconstitutional.
Moreover, as the War Powers act also gives Congress the power, by joint resolution, to order the President from making war regardless of Presidential veto, per Court cases, that clause is also unconstitutional.
The President could have invaded Afghanistan, and arguably Iraq, without a declaration (or the equivalent). The President can attack Iran's nuke facilities, and arguably, invade Iran if his reasons are for any of the reasons I gave previously.
So yes, the current debate is between broad Executive Authority and the restrictive and unconstitutional war powers act.