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War Powers Act Of 1973

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I. The Influence of the War Powers Act of 1973

The United States of America holds the position in the world as a nation in which foreign policy is focused and debated as a matter of embittered public outrage and controversy. This is the reality not only among the party in office and their equivalent opponents but mainly within the very party themselves. It is much truer within the party that is controlling the executive branch. This criticism thrown at foreign policy is not that evil. It is a well meaning constructive criticism that tells the incoherence of policies passed by the executive branch. However, the fault is not likely coming from a flawed national character or among the attitudes of the leaders but the circumstances that surround it. Such circumstances comprise an increasing external challenge coupled with congressionally mandated restraints on the executive branch. The combination of both provides a dangerous whipsaw that can render American foreign policy as ineffective.

As such it can be seen that the President is bound by laws, amendments and continuing resolutions that place too much weight on the conduct of foreign policy complicated by the participation of military aspect (Cockburn, 1999). It is essential that the effect of these laws on foreign policy should be understood.

The War Powers Act of 1973 was a result of drastic response to the American participation in the Vietnam War. The act was passed over the veto of the President and apparently it seemed to many as a good idea at that time. Therefore, then President Johnson entered and tried to conduct a full scale and protracted war disguised as a police action. It can be said that Congress was complicit in this error but by the end of the war, there was an overwhelming reaction and outrage from the majority of Americans (Gallent, 1993). It was convincing without doubt that the conduct of war had been a serious mistake.

This is because the limitation of the Presidents ability for continued deployment of U.S. forces placed the War Powers Act in the hands of the Congress (Gallent, 1993). In effect, these policies are very much in play especially in our modern times. Today when there is a lot of terrorism, subversion and war fundamentals, the “U.S. Congress must now be consulted in every possible instance on every deployment of military forces around the world.” (Cockburn, 1999).

As such, any military troops cannot be introduced anywhere in the world outside the United States unless there is a full report submitted to Congress within forty eight hours. Likewise, the President may not have any troops for more than 90 days in any area where hostilities are present or ongoing without explicit approval again from Congress. Therefore, this means that in an area of foreign policy and military action where secrecy is important, it can be said that the publicity it generates is mandatory.

II. The Enactment of the War Powers Act of 1973

The U.S. Constitution notes that war powers are divided and are not equal (Jones, 1990). In essence, the Congress posses the power to declare war and support the armed forces in this endeavor while the president essays being the Commander in Chief. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that the Commander in Chief role gives the president the authority to order the repelling of attacks again the United States. This makes him as the sole responsible person for leading the military forces.

The history that placed America to police during the Korean and Vietnam wars are classic examples of intense conflict without a declaration of war. As it has been said, the U.S. Congress was alarmed with the erosion of congressional authority in the decision to decide when the United States should involve itself in a war or similarly the use of the military to lead to war. Therefore, both chambers of Congress passed a joint resolution over then President Nixon’s veto on November 7, 1973. This is seen in American history where Cambodia was bombed during Nixon’s office. It led the House to consider the inclusion of the articles of impeachment and likewise pass the War Powers Act of 1973. The requirements are the discussed forty-eight hour of introducing U.S. forces into hostilities with the President reporting to Congress. After sixty days, this should be terminated unless otherwise, there is an explicit authority from both houses allowing it to continue for another thirty days.

The War Powers Resolution has been controversial since it became law. It hardly does not circumscribe and settle the question of the division of power between branches of U.S. government pertaining to the declaration of war (Cockburn, 1999).

III. Revising the War



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