Who Has the Power to Make War?

As the Administration's anti-Iraq rhetoric took on a more belligerent tone last week, 15 congressional leaders hurried to the White House to hear President Bush explain his intentions. Afterward Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell repeated a message he has delivered many times: "Under the Constitution the President has no legal authority to commit the U.S. to war. Only Congress can do that."

While the Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to declare war, events have a way of handing that power to Presidents. Relying on a decision of the U.N., Harry Truman committed troops to Korea without specific authorization from Congress....

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