Article I, Section 8:
“The Congress shall have Power To… declare War…”
Article II, Section 2:
“The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States…”
The way these two powers relate, as I understand it, is that the president may constitutionally wage war only with congressional approval. But once that approval has been given, the president takes charge as the CinC, and Congress then has no tight to intervene in the waging of that war.
The War Powers Act
I’m afraid I don’t have the text of this act handy, so I’ll be speaking from memory. Basically, the act expands on the constitutional war powers provided to the president. It gives the prez the power to wage war – without the consent of Congress – for 60 days.
It was passed, IIRC, after the Vietnam “war” in order to allow the US to respond quickly to volatile world events, but prevent another fiasco of a lengthy conflict void of congressional consent.
So, since Congress has not declared war, and the bombing campaign is now more than 60 days old, it seems to me that President Clinton is on shaky legal footing.
Quite a few members of Congress agree; they believe the president is violating both the Constitution and the War Powers Act. Led by a California representative, a group of about 30 congresspeople are suing Clinton in federal court to force him to receive congressional approval before continuing the campaign.
Opus suggests Clinton’s actions rise to an impeachable offense. That may be, but after our recent impeachment debacle, no one is seriously suggesting we pursue that route.
~ Complacency is far more dangerous than outrage ~