At 03:50 PM 10/10/2002, Marc wrote:
>Incidentally, while I'm against any war of aggression like the one 
>by the US (as I see it), but I'd like to ask US constitutional experts 
>or not, I mean those interested in constitutional affairs), if they feel 
>that the
>legislation now up before the Senate would amount to a "declaration of 
>war" under
>the US Constitution. It appears to give the president a kind of blank 
>cheque to
>use violence if he sees fit. Is that the same as a declaration of war, or 
>is the
>difference just nit-picking?

Although written by two flaming liberals <g>, probably the best book on 
this subject is, _To Chain The Dog Of War: The War Power Of Congress In 
History And Law_, by Francis D. Wormuth and Edwin B. Firmage. In the 
Constitutional Convention the original language concerning the war powers 
was changed from "Congress shall have the power to make" war to "Congress 
shall have the power to declare" war--the founders didn't want to leave the 
President helpless in repelling sudden invasions or putting down 
insurrections. Declarations of war are joint (House & Senate) resolutions 
or acts  of Congress authorizing war or an act of war. In the U.S. there 
have been conditional declarations (ultimatums) and declarations pure and 
simple (which actually institute a state of war). There have also been two 
kinds of wars, what the courts call "perfect," or general war and 
"imperfect" or limited wars. The war against Tripoli in 1802 is an example 
of a limited war while the WWII declaration is an example of a perfect or 
general declaration of war. However, in the past all declarations of war 
produced by the U.S. Congress have always been addressed to known 
adversaries and never against unknown adversaries.

Steven Montgomery

Explore Freedom:

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