Write Forum post responses for the following two posts. They are to be substantive, containing useful information and not mere commentary.
The use of military force projected abroad should be mandatory any time their employment is directly tied to a threat to national security. The problem lies in defining what constitutes a threat to national security. USLegal.com defines national security as "the protection of a nation from attack or other danger by holding adequate armed forces and guarding state secrets. The term national security encompasses within it economic security, monetary security, energy security, environmental security, military security, political security and security of energy and natural resources." Given that definition, nearly any justification could be made for the deployment of military assets. The War Powers Resolution (WPR) of 1973 incorrectly set the conditions for the POTUS to be the one who makes that initial determination.
The POTUS is constitutionally appointed to head the Armed Forces, and during conflict, lead them. It is not the function of the POTUS to determine when to use military force; the POTUS determines how to use the force. The only unanimously agreed to exception to this rule is when responding to an attack or imminent attack against the US. This context ultimately amounts to defense of the nation, even if that means projection of force. The determination of when to use force lies solely with congress. Since congress alone has the ability to declare war, they should be responsible for establishing the objectives of a war, and how to fund it. Once that declaration is made, the POTUS should lead and control the war fighting effort as the Commander in Chief. In today`s deeply divided political arena, a congressional consensus to authorize use of force is probably asking for too much; thusly the only way to initiate combat operations abroad would be for the POTUS to act first, then ask for permission according to the WPR. Congress has demonstrated their unwillingness to challenge the president, and concurrently, the POTUS usually acts in accordance with the WPR, even if not citing it directly.
The WPR is unrealistic and effectively allows the POTUS to put the cart before the horse, pointed downhill, then tell congress it`s going to keep rolling anyway and they might as well put the horse in front. Unfortunately, the WPR is probably required because congress has so few in their ranks who would be willing to initiate military force, not to mention agree to an end state which would result in a withdrawal of troops or an end to the conflict. The WPR is a necessary evil which is required to maintain US status as a hegemony, but which should be revoked if congress could regain the political backbone to do what is right for the nation as opposed to what is right for their reelection campaign.
It is absolutely necessary for a president to obtain approval from Congress before beginning an armed war involving the United States military. For one, Congress placed a law into motion prohibiting such actions which to few people`s surprise, has been all but ignored by recent presidents. I do agree though, that the president may be put in a situation where he needs to act quickly and does not necessarily have the time to wait for Congress`s approval, which is very slow at times. But, before the time limit expires, the president must then seek further approval from Congress to continue use of assets and personnel before moving forward. If they deny, then the conflict is over pending further review.
We have sophisticated checks and balances system within our Constitution for a very good reason. This is to limit the power and reach of each branch and allow the other two branches to rein them in when they are getting out of control. Now, what is Congress doing when the president ignores their law in place regarding declaring war? It does not seem that the Houses have any plan set for when a president disobeys a law regarding specifically him, which seems like a huge oversight. If Congress had set forth punishments or impeachment protocols, in the event such an action happened, I believe the past presidents would be more weary of stretching the limits of their own power. If nobody is reining the presidents in to stop them from unconstitutionally declaring war on another nation or people, why should they stop? A law is only as good as those who enforce it and hold the standard.
I do not think this law is unreasonable or out of touch, but what our government needs is to hold members of all branches more accountable for their own actions.