Unit3_InWartimeWhohasthePower - THE NATION In Wartime Who...

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THE NATION In Wartime, Who Has the Power? David Plunkert By JEFFREY ROSEN Published: March 4, 2007 WASHINGTON THE Constitution seems relatively clear. The president is the commander in chief, and he has the power to deploy troops and to direct military strategy. Congress has the power to declare war and can use its control over the purse to end a war. But it has no say over how the war is actually prosecuted. That poses a problem for Congress, as it debates the course of the Iraq war. Democratic proposals to check President Bush’s increasing unpopular war range from Senator Barack Obama ’s “phased redeployment” of all combat troops out of Iraq by March 3, 2008, to Representative John Murtha ’s attempts to impose specific standards for the training and equipping of troops. Regardless of how these proposals fare politically, they raise serious constitutional questions that could affect not only the conduct of the Iraq war, but also the balance of power between Congress and the president in wartime. Legal scholars — both critics and supporters of the Iraq war — say that if Congress tries to manage the deployment and withdrawal of troops without cutting funds, the
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president’s powers as commander in chief would be encroached, perhaps leading to a constitutional confrontation of historic proportions. “If there were to be a binding resolution that said troops had to go from 120,000 to 80,000 by April 15, Congress would be, in my view, transgressing on the conduct of a military campaign,” says Samuel Issacharoff, a law professor at New York University . “Congress can’t tell the president to charge up the east side of the hill rather than the west, which is the definition of the president’s military authority.” So how, exactly, can Congress assert power over the war, beyond its ability simply to pull the plug on its financing? History suggests that Congress has found ways of checking
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Unit3_InWartimeWhohasthePower - THE NATION In Wartime Who...

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