A Reluctant Go-Ahead

As hopes for peace fade, a divided Congress authorizes the President to lead the United States into battle

Never had Congress faced a challenge quite like it. In the Persian Gulf, 430,000 U.S. troops prepared to launch into battle against the Iraqi invaders of neighboring Kuwait. An American President had dispatched those troops to the Middle East, and the United Nations had authorized the use of force against the Iraqis unless they withdrew by Jan. 15. Yet Congress, the only branch of government with the constitutional power to declare war, had still not spoken, and the President was threatening to move with or without the lawmakers' approval. Last week, after the failure of the Geneva talks between Secretary of...

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