Harry Reid and the Dems Try to Usurp Presidential Power

I wrote a longer discussion about Constitutional authority and what each branch of government is allowed to do. There has been disagreement for years about the President’s power as Commander in Chief. Every President has taken it to mean that they have the authority to move and engage the armed forces as necessary. Congress has the responsibility to make laws governing how the military runs and to provide money to support it. In 1973 Congress passed, over Richard Nixon’s veto, The War Powers Act which restricted the President’s authority to command the military. The Congress was upset with Vietnam as they had been with Korea (both conflicts that Democrats got us into). No war was ever declared, another Congressional responsibility. The last war the US declared was WWII.

The War Powers Act restricted the President’s authority and said that Congress had to approve how the troops were deployed. This was done as an effort to define what the founders had in mind when they wrote the Constitution (as was Roe v Wade). Most Presidents view the WPA as unconstitutional and generally ignore it. Presidents have engaged our armed forces in combat without the permission of the Congress. Whether it was Clinton’s Balkans or Reagan’s Grenada, the Presidents did what they thought was right with the military.

Now the Congress, deluded with the idea that the last election was about the war, have decided to take it one step further. A few members have introduced legislation requiring the President to get Congressional approval before increasing troop numbers or attacking other countries. This will not stand up to scrutiny and Bush would veto it anyway.

Harry Reid had this to say (with regard to Iran):

“The president does not have the authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking congressional authorization,” Yahoo News

According to the WPA (which remember, Presidents have viewed as unconstitutional) the President may use the troops in combat for up to 60 days without Congressional authority. That can be extended to 90 days. So, if we take the WPA as legal, Harry Reid is technically wrong. If the President wanted to he could send troops into Iran he could do so and Congress would have to worry about what to do at the end of 60 days. I am also unsure if we attacked them and then stopped and moved out on day 59 could we attack again on day 61? Would that be considered to different occurrences under the WPA? Regardless, Reid is wrong and he is doing nothing more than misinforming the public.

The Administration has indicated they do not plan to attack Iran but have refused to rule that out. The concern for Congress is that the President has moved a couple of aircraft carriers and other warships into the region. The new SECDEF states this is to show Iran that we are not weakened despite our deployment in Iraq. We are, so to speak, flexing our muscles. This is a good idea and it might help to stir up more unrest among the Iranian population who, by and large, do not like the direction the country is taking. In any event, should we find it necessary to attack Iran we may do so without the approval of Congress.

I imagine if this comes to pass it might lead to a Supreme Court challenge to the War Powers Act. Perhaps the time has come to retire that once and for all.

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4 Responses to “Harry Reid and the Dems Try to Usurp Presidential Power”

  1. Robert says:

    Well I guess there goes a surprise attack, We have the NYT and Congress that would email Imadinnerjacket and let him know the time and the place

  2. AE says:



    Article II
    Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;

    Regarding Presidential Authority the absolute fundamental key is not that the President is the commander in chief – but that he is only provided this Authority and role

    …when called into the actual service of the United States;

    1. The power to declare war, raise and regulate armies, and to call into service through rules governing and regulating these forces is an EXCLUSIVELY Congressional power for one very simple reason. In no way shape or form did the framers intend to allow a President to drag the country into a foreign entanglement that could drain the national resources, endanger our domestic security, or for a whim attack other nations. The 535 members of Congress and the Senate, as an extension of the people of the United States – are the ONLY ones who may authorize or de-authorize the use of our armed forces.

    2. The President – **(when called into the **actual** service of the United States;)** – is the commander in chief. This is so that a unified chain of command is present and functional for the conduct of operations to ensure clear, achievable, execution of the war. Obviously you cannot have 535 battle plans, and 300million different tactical decision makers for the conduct of a campaign. The Presidential power is limited ONLY to the command of the forces once called into service by Congress and the People. AND THAT IS IT.

  3. AE says:

    But of all the views of this law none is more important, none more legitimate, than that of rendering the people the safe, as they are the ultimate, guardians of their own liberty. For this purpose the reading in the first stage, where they will receive their whole education, is proposed, as has been said, to be chiefly historical. History by apprising them of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.

    Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

  4. Big Dog says:

    The unfortunate thing AE, is that you do not understand the terms used in the Constitution. Read it again. It says the President is the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the US AND of the militia of the SEVERAL STATES when called into duty.

    This means that he is always the CINC of the Army and Navy (the active duty and the reserves of the active duty) and that when the National Guard (the militia of the several states) is called into duty.

    Until the national guard is called into duty, it belongs to the governor of the state and is the state’s militia. When called into service of the US, then the President is in charge of them.

    This is why so many people have trouble in this country. They do not know how to read and comprehend. They also do not know the meanings of the words that are used.

    Therefore, there is no limit to the President’s command authority except that he is not in command of the militia until they are called into federal service.

    Stop drinking the liberal kool aid and learn what the things mean.

    Actually, the Congress may only declare war, not the President but no where is a declaration of war necessary for the President to use the armed forces. Congress shall raise and regulate. The Army has been raised and the Congress writes the laws that govern the military. As far as how they are used that is exclusively a COMMAND function and Congress does not have the authority to command.

    Learn, then write, it will help you.