When discussing a controversial matter in our United States Constitution, few can be more divisive then that of "war powers". Why has this topic withstood so many oppositions and difficulties in its existence? Perhaps the reasoning may be placed within the over-all vagueness of its delegation. That is not to imply, however, that the framers of the Constitution are to bare any of that blame. Both the Executive and Legislative branches of our federal government have taken on many contours of responsibility as generations have bestowed upon them more unique and complex matters. .
Originally, the Constitution allowed for Congress to possess the sole accountability for any and all war making decisions by furnishing it the right to declare war via military action . However, it also provides that the President is to be the Commander-in-Chief of said armed forces . Seemingly, a clear-cut division of power on this topic could be settled by allowing the President to command the military only after Congress has declared war, but politics as usual distorts the black and white into grey. This was proven by the actions of many early presidents. Polk sent soldiers to Mexico, Lincoln began the Civil War, and FDR assisted WWII well before a declaration of war .
To combat this degree of ambiguity, the 93rd Congress of the United States passed The War Powers Act of 1973 . Among many provisions, this act mandated a 60 day period for the president to wage war. Beyond those 60 days, war must be declared or he must receive special permission from Congress to continue . .
This topic has recently become an enormous issue for the current 106th Congress and the current Bush administration concerning the prospect of war with Iraq. Although reporters and political analysts have made the argument that President Bush does not have the power to initiate a war with Iraq, many members of Congress have remained unvoiced to the concern.