The United States (Government) hasn’t been legally at war since September 12, 1945, when the Japanese forces in Southeast Asia surrendered to Allied Commander Louis Mountbatten in Singapore, ending World War II.
That’s right, the Korean “War,” the Vietnam “War,” the first Iraq “War,” the second Iraq “War” (euphemistically named Operation Iraqi Freedom), Libya and the Afghanistan “War” aren’t wars. At least not according to the U.S. Constitution — which document explains how wars are supposed to happen. This way:
ARTICLE. I. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States… Section. 8. The Congress shall have Power… Clause 11: To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water —The United States Constitution
The U.S. President doesn’t do it alone. In fact, as founding father James Madison explained, “...the executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.”
So, how do they get us into these non-wars? Maybe this explains it – – –
“I think it is a fact of modern history that declarations of war are gone. I think they are anachronistic. Clearly the Constitution assigns the declarations of war function to Congress and only to Congress. But declaring war has consequences in a technologically advanced world that nobody wants to face. Instead what you do is you call it a police action, as we did in Korea, or you call it something else, but you do not formally take that giant leap of declaring war.” –Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), June 7, 1995
The first “war” after WWII, the Korean “War,” was executed without any explicit Congressional authorization what-so-ever, declared and carried out under the auspices of Mr. Harry S. Truman, mostly on his own recognizance. Similarly, in an early iteration of Rep. Hyde’s dictum — which has become Standard Operating Procedure — even though North Vietnam officially declared war on the U.S., the U.S. never officially declared war on North Vietnam.
Continue reading “Maybe this time the law DOES matter —”