[The Congress shall have Power…] To declare War
That’s so 1787.
The United States last declared war many wars ago, on June 5, 1942, when, to clarify legal ambiguities during a world conflagration, it declared war on Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. Today’s issue is not whether to declare war but only whether the president should even seek congressional authorization for the protracted use of force against the Islamic State.
Promising to “destroy” this group with the help of “a broad coalition” of “partners,” Barack Obama said last week, “I welcome congressional support for this effort.” He obviously thinks such support is optional, partly because this “effort,” conducted by U.S. combat aircraft, is something other than war. There he goes again.
He spent seven months bombing Libya without congressional authorization and without complying with the War Powers Resolution. His lawyers argued that thousands of airstrikes, which professor Jack Goldsmith of Harvard Law School notes “killed thousands of people and effected regime change,” did not constitute “hostilities.” Professor Ilya Somin of George Mason University School of Law says, “Claims that large-scale air attacks don’t count as warfare were specious when the administration trotted them out in defense of its intervention in Libya in 2011; and they have not improved with age.”