Recent moves and countermoves by the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf over the past few months have increased speculation about the prospect of war in the region. Some members of Congress, including a few Republicans, have stated that the president cannot use military force against the Islamic Republic without the approval of the legislature.
Latest in War Powers
In the course of researching a book, I’ve come across many episodes that Benjamin Wittes and I like to call “Weird War Powers $h*t.” One of my favorites is a story about American constitutional war powers and actual $h*t. It’s a story about very expensive bird-$h*t, or guano, and how one of the 19th century’s most important thinkers on war powers nearly stumbled the nation, figuratively speaking, into a giant pile of it.
Daniel Webster and War Powers
Following news that Iran shot down a U.S. Navy Global Hawk—an unmanned surveillance aircraft—the Trump administration came close to ordering a responsive set of airstrikes but ultimately elected not to do so. Then we learned (first from Yahoo!
For the past two months, the Middle East has teetered on the edge of war. Tensions over the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign have led Iran to target maritime shipping in the Persian Gulf, launch rockets on U.S.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Congress took what may be its most important step to date towards openly opposing U.S. involvement in the Yemen war. By a vote of 63 to 37, the Senate elected to discharge a joint resolution directing an end to U.S. involvement in Yemen out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and on to the Senate floor. The resolution in question, S.J. Res.
A review of Michael Beschloss, “Presidents of War” (Crown Books, 2018).
Today is the centennial Armistice Day, remembered as the day the Great War ended. In a military sense it did, but as a matter of U.S. domestic law, it dragged on for three more years.
As President Trump goes into this week’s NATO summit complaining about burden-sharing, amid inflamed anxieties at home about presidential powers over foreign relations, it is worth remembering the “Great Debate” of the early 1950s. That dispute pitted President Harry Truman and Secretary of State Dean Acheson against congressional NATO skeptics, and it concerned whether the president could unilaterally deploy four additional U.S. Army divisions to Western Europe.
The opinion on the April 2018 airstrikes against Syrian chemical-weapons facilities follows straightforwardly from Obama-era legal opinions, including one we did not know about until today.
Earlier this evening, the U.S. Senate voted to table the motion to discharge S.J. Res. 54, the joint resolution seeking to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, making it unlikely that the joint resolution will see further action.