Our Founding Fathers carefully drafted the Constitution and defined that the power to declare war properly falls in the hands of Congress. This was no accident. The creators of this country understood that such a power cannot and should not rest on the shoulders of one single man. They understood that the power to wage war is a serious one and that for the safety of the American people the power to declare war must carefully depend on the discretion of many, not on the whims of one. Some argue that the president is the head of the military and therefore should have the authority to declare war as he sees fit. This argument is not only absurd but unconstitutional. Our nation is founded on the safety of separation of powers. Giving blind authority to one man means abandoning the principles of representative government.
Several presidents have ignored the constitutional provision and have initiated military force without consent from Congress. After America endured the war in Vietman, the longest military engagment ever suffered by the American people, without so much as a declaration of war, it became clear that American presidents must be limited from blatantly ignoring constitutional provisions. The War Powers Act of 1973 specified that a president could not send military forces into action for longer than 60 days without congressional approval. The requirements were clear. The president can only initiate military actions if Congress has declared war, if Congress has approved use of military force or if there is imminent danger.Details