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    Arrow This Will Open Some Debate....

    With a few of the Brothers......

    Democratic Congress Tests War Powers

    POSTED: 5:47 pm EST January 29, 2007
    UPDATED: 6:46 pm EST January 29, 2007

    WASHINGTON -- The new Democratic-led Congress is on a collision course with the White House over how far lawmakers can or should go to stop the war in Iraq, a dispute that could test the bounds of the Constitution.

    President George W. Bush has insisted he won't back down on a decision to send 21,500 additional troops to Iraq and will ignore any resolutions passed by Congress that state opposition to his plan. The Senate is expected to consider such a measure in coming days.

    Some Democrats say Congress must consider tougher alternatives to force the president's hand, including cutting funding, capping the number of troops allowed in Iraq and setting an end date for the war.

    "This Congress was never meant to be a rubber stamp," Sen. Barbara Boxer told her colleagues last week. "Read the Constitution. The Congress has the power to declare war. And on multiple occasions, we used our power to end conflicts."

    Boxer has proposed a bill that would call for troops to come home in 180 days, allowing a minimum number to say behind to hunt down terrorists and train Iraqi security forces.

    But many legal scholars and congressional Republicans say such legislation is not within Congress' power. The president has control of military forces, they say.

    "Once Congress raises an army, it's his to command," said Robert Turner, a law professor at the University of Virginia who plans to testify Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    But whether a president needs congressional approval to wage war is up for debate among many scholars. In recent decades, presidents have routinely bypassed Congress when deploying troops to fight. Not since World War II has Congress issued an official declaration of war, despite lengthy wars fought in Vietnam and Korea.

    "People think Congress has to say OK to everything," said John Yoo, a former Justice Department official who helped Bush write the 2002 resolution authorizing the Iraq invasion. But if that were true "that means every war we've fought since World War II is illegal."

    Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California in Berkeley, said Bush's request that Congress pass a resolution authorizing force in Iraq was purely a political one. The resolution passed by a 296-133 vote in the GOP-run House and 77-23 in the Democratic-led Senate, but was not considered a declaration of war.

    According to Yoo, the resolution was seen solely as a way of bringing Democrats onboard.

    Sen. John Warner, the former chairman of the Armed Services Committee and former Navy secretary, said he agrees Congress has no right to manage a war.

    "In an ongoing operation, you've got to defer to the commander in chief," said Warner, R-Va.

    But the veteran senator said he understands the debate that surrounds constitutional war powers and lawmakers' ability to check the executive branch.

    "There's always going to be this gray area between the powers of Congress and the powers of the executive branch," Warner said. "Never has been resolved, never will. We all want to leave it in a gray area."

    Sen. Russ Feingold, who will chair Tuesday's hearing on war powers, says Congress shouldn't flounder on the issue when it has the ability to end the war by cutting funding for it.

    In coming months, the Bush administration is expected to request Congress approve at least $700 billion in military funding, giving lawmakers the clearest opportunity to pull the plug on the war. The bill is expected to include 2007 and 2008 supplemental war spending, as well as 2008 annual military spending.

    Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., who chairs the House panel that oversees defense spending, says he wants to place such stringent conditions on the funding that Bush will have no choice but to scale back U.S. involvement in Iraq.

    Feingold, D-Wis., proposes eliminating the war budget after six months, an approach he says will give Bush time to bring troops home without adversely affecting their well being.

    "Americans are not looking to Congress to pass symbolic measures, they are looking to us to stop the president's failed Iraq policy," Feingold said. "That is why we must finally break this taboo that somehow Congress can't talk about using its power of the purse to end the war in Iraq."

    Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.


    "There's always going to be this gray area between the powers of Congress and the powers of the executive branch," Warner said. "Never has been resolved, never will. We all want to leave it in a gray area."
    I suspect that's because it can be used an effective tool by either side.
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    Cool

    Oh Malahat; did you really intend to open this can of worms thread? This debate will now certainly go on forever.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lvwrench View Post
    Oh Malahat; did you really intend to open this can of worms thread? This debate will now certainly go on forever.
    Well in a previous life I was more commonly known as "Sht-Disturber". Ya know the type. One o them guys who throws a really nice, warm "golden apple" (you really old guys and horse buffs will know what I mean) into the crowd then ducks and runs to the high ground to watch the fireworks display.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    I used to work for a Captain known from one end of the Mississippi to the other as"Sh** Stirrer.Even his own Mother called him that.
    Back on subject,if Congress aka the last refuge of failed lawyers has to determine if they have a power to order withdrawal of troops,they don't have it.
    In the Constitution is a section that says to the effect that powers not specifically assigned to Congress or the President belong to the states and the People.
    I don't see why they'd try this end run around the Constitution knowing as much about the law as they do.Then again,maybe they don't know anything about the law.

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    Nothing, not even the law or the Consitution, is cut and dried. Everything is open to debate. If you have the money and can get the right lawyer to argue your case in a manner that confounds the people you can even get away with murder.

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    My understanding is that only Congress can "Declare War" under the Constitution but once war is declared the President is the only Commander in Chief.

    The War Powers Act of 1973 allows the President to commit the armed forces to conflict but he must seek Congressional approval. Congress must grant that approval within 60 days or forces must be withdrawn (can be extended by 30 days).

    In the case of Iraq I believe the President committed our troops, asked for approval, which was granted by a Resolution in 2002. P.L. 107-243 authorized the use of force in Iraq.
    Authorizes the President to use the U.S. armed forces to: (1) defend U.S. national security against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. Directs the President, prior to or as soon as possible (but no later than 48 hours) after exercising such authority, to make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that: (1) reliance on further diplomatic or peaceful means alone will not achieve the above purposes; and (2) acting pursuant to this joint resolution is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization for use of the armed forces, consistent with requirements of the War Powers Resolution.
    Now, what's not covered in the War Powers act is how a Resolution, once given, can be revoked. Also, the wording of P.L. 107-243 does not mention an expiration or anything about reauthorization. I don't think there's anything that Congress can do Resolution or War Powers Act-wise force the president to remove the troops.

    As was said in the article, removing, or putting significant limitations on the funding is always an option.
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    When the legislative and the executive branch cannot agree, it is up to the judicial to decide.

    Are you reading this Alberto? Or are you just tapping my cell phone?

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    Good points were made about what exactly is entitled by a "resolution" rather than a Declaration of War. Maybe Congress needs to stop putting all their eggs in a cut-funding basket and look at ways to amend things and cap the powers granted in a resolution so a President doesn't have the power to go to war for 5 years rather than 60 days under the War Powers Act, if that's what they want. This is something that should have been done after the Vietnam war to prevent continuous escalation of conflicts by the President. I guess no one ever got around to it. Unless, like you say, the gray area is left gray so it can be used by both sides. Though, it's easier said than done, and a heck of a lot easier to do in peacetime.

    On the other hand, Congress seems dead set on cutting resources. I just hope it doesn't mean we have a soldier in the field who is supposed to have 7 magazines of 5.56mm but gets 1 bullet and a bayonet instead. Whose fault would it be? Congress would say it's the President's fault because he ordered additional troops knowing that the funding wasn't there. The President would say it was the fault of Congress because they knew additional troops were going in, but cut funding anyway. And the only person left in the calculation is the soldier, who won't care whose fault it is, because he'll be too busy fighting hand-to-hand with a suicide bomber. Catch 22.
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    The War Powers Act does require that the President update Congress after approval has been granted:
    The President in every possible instance shall consult with Congress before introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situation where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, and after every such introduction shall consult regularly with the Congress until United States Armed Forces are no longer engaged in hostilities or have been removed from such situations.
    It does not explicitly say how often this consultation would have to occur, but leaves it vague (as it probably should be since its conflict-specific).

    More importantly, it does not mention what happens if Congress disagrees with the President once approval is granted. Since it isn't in the act itself, I would think that could have been part of the Resolution. It could have been written so that it wasn't open ended and had to be "renewed" at one of the regular consultations.
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    Theres an old adage which sprang up around the First World War I think....

    "Theres no law in war".
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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