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Can the President of the United States declare war? Or does it take an "Act of Congress"?
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Can the President of the United States declare war? Or does it take an "Act of Congress"?

Which was a "Democratic Majority" when we declared war on Afganistan and Iraq!
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come on kids we all did this in school!


Sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, the United States Constitution, Article One, Section 8, Clause 11, vests in the Congress the exclusive power to declare war.

Five wars have been declared in American history: the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. Some historians argue that the legal doctrines and legislation passed during the operations against Pancho Villa constitute a sixth declaration of war.

However, beginning with the Korean War, American presidents have not sought formal declarations of war, instead maintaining that they have the constitutional authority, as commander in chief (Article Two, Section Two) to use the military for "police actions".

In 1973, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution, which requires the president to obtain either a declaration of war or a resolution authorizing the use of force from Congress within 60 days of initiating hostilities. Its constitutionality has never been tested as Congress has always passed the required authorization when requested by the president.

Some legal scholars maintain that all military action taken without a Congressional declaration of war (regardless of the War Powers Resolution) is unconstitutional; however, the Supreme Court has never ruled directly on the matter.

There is also much debate about the meaning of the word "declare." Some scholars suggest that to declare war does not necessarily mean to commence war. During the Philadelphia Convention, there was some discussion about the difference between the power to "make war" and the power to "declare war," and which of the two should be written into the Constitution. A declaration of war lets the citizens of a nation know that they are now at war with some other nation or entity. It also puts the belligerent nations and their citizens on notice. More importantly, this establishes that international law governs the conduct of the war. This protects citizens in all the warring nations involved insofar as if they are captured by the enemy, they will be treated as prisoners-of-war instead of mere criminals.

ricardo l
no by himself

Congress has to declare War. The President used his powers to send the National Guard to Iraq and Afghanistan - just like he used his powers to send them to New Orleans...

Congress has the power to declare war, the President can only make the suggestion or recommendation. In times such as 9/11 and in WWII with Roosevelt, the President has more influence because everyone wants payback

Act of Congress......unless the veto the act.

chris m
if the president is George w. bush or a christian, than i think it should be congress

citizen ex
Congress is supposed to have a voice and authority in the declaration of war, but the "BUSH" adminisration is trying to rewrite the Constitution! LESS BUSH MORE TREES!!!!!!!!
Check the war powers resolution @ wikpedia.

The Congress, Government all controlled by the "men behind the man" in power. Just like through out history. They don't really give 2 F*&% about what the public has to say were mute to their ears. When the war on Iraq was holding place billions of protesters took rally all over the world but still it took place. The United Nations said no to war against Iraq but still the war took place. Something smells fishy in the world of politics! I wonder who created this "UNITED NATIONS?”

No, however he can go to war with a state of emergency any time he cares to for a period of time, 180 days if I remember correctly, and then must be approved by congress.

President has a 48 hour complete control in military situations and declare war but to continue war must also be declared by congress.

So simply yes but for 48 hours maximum then it must be brought to Congress

Only Congress can declare war. We have never declared war against either Iraq or Afghanistan.

3rd parties for REAL CHANGE
Well the President could do what John F. Kennedy did and declare it a police action as opposed to a military engagement.

Only congress can declare war, but the president can declare a state of emergency. Vietnam was not a war -- it was a police action.

The president is the only one who can actually announce it, but it has to go through congress first.

NO!!! It has to take a Act of Congress!!!


In the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq, congress voted on to give Bush the authority to use force against them 'if necessary'.

The problem is that a lot of congressional members who voted to give Bush this authority stated they never thought in 100 years that Bush would invade Iraq without UN support. They have also stated they truly believed Bush would have only invaded Iraq as a last resort.

This is the exact reason congress should not give this kind of authority to any president. I have no clue why congress tends to bypass the system of them declaring war and passing that on to the executive party. They have done this repeatedly throughout our history.

The President is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States of America. He will "Declare War", but we do not go to war until the War Declaration has been approved by Congress:


The PRESIDENT alone can declare WAR just like he did with IRAQ.

Texas Cowboy
The President can do it himself.

with this president; anything is possible

cup cake
the President cant declare war it as to be an Act of Congress

the president alone cannot declare war. our congress has word in everything, and the president is suppose to be working for us, so technically he shouldn't be the one making military choices for us, especially based on how he thinks.. I'ma ssuming you were just watching the special.. and, it's not his right, he knows nothing about it, and you can see clearly that he avoids questions that SHOULD be answeredon the subject..

Baby Jack born 4/5/09
xxkainorxx is right.

Dan D
What i know is that he can do it for 90 days without consulting anyone. This goes for the army, navy and airforce. Now, consider that he can also use the delta force whoose operations are so secret they don´t even speak about the missions among themselves after they are completed. Their Mantra: FFF Fly, Fight, Forget.

the president

only congress can "declare war" but the president can send in troops as a police action, tha same as vietnam.

Only Congress can declare war. Since the President is the Commander-in-Chief of the military, he can send them anywhere he wants, but Congress has the final authority to feed, cloth, and generally take care of the troops. Even though The War Powers Act is the law of the land, no president really abides by it. Both President Clinton, in Kosovo, and President Bush (jr) have ignored the act. It is true that the last declared war was World War II, but all of the other "wars" were times when Congress authorized the use of force by the President.

the prez can send troops in for olny a given amount of time after that congress desides wether we should stay or not

Well in past practice it had to be an act of congress, but as we all know this president has broken more laws then he would like to admit.

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