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Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:18 AM

President Jimmy Carter and the War Power Act.

If it only had four letters, The War Powers Act of 1973 might well be considered one. Since it was initiated to limit the Powers of the President to unilaterally go to war (Vetoed by Nixon. Congress overrode that Veto and made it a law) it has been used successfully and ignored successfully by every President to take the country into War/Conflict/Hostilities. Jimmy Carter both used and ignored the Act when he was in office.
Iran Hostage Rescue Attempt: Is Consultation Always Necessary and Possible?
After an unsuccessful attempt on April 24, 1980, to rescue American hostages being held in Iran, President Carter submitted a report to Congress to meet the requirements of the War Powers Resolution, but he did not consult in advance. The Administration took the position that consultation was not required because the mission was a rescue attempt, not an act of force or aggression against Iran. In addition, the Administration contended that consultation was not possible or required because the mission depended upon total surprise.

Some Members of Congress complained about the lack of consultation, especially because legislative-executive meetings had been going on since the Iranian crisis had begun the previous year. Just before the rescue attempt, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had sent a letter to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance requesting formal consultations under the War Powers Resolution. Moreover, shortly before the rescue attempt, the President outlined plans for a rescue attempt to Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd but did not say it had begun. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Frank Church stressed as guidelines for the future: (1) consultation required giving Congress an opportunity to participate in the decision making process, not just informing Congress that an operation was underway; and (2) the judgment could not be made unilaterally but should be made by the President and Congress. (23)

War Powers: a Selected Bibliography
War Powers Act of 1973

President Carter, himself, did not consult with Congress until after the point. Took a little flack for it. His reason was "consultation was not required because the mission was a rescue attempt, not an act of force or aggression against Iran." However, considering that inserting a military force in a foreign country without that counties approval is an act of war. Even if successful, it could not have been done without some loss of life necessary to subdue the hostage takers.

At first glance, this seems to be the norm. Presidents take us into a limited conflict and only afterward actually let Congress know. This was followed by complaining in Congress who then promptly forget the whole thing.

I am glad President Obama has sought Congressional authority. However, we should not be fooled into thinking this changes the dynamic. Presidents, even those as revered as an elder statesman such as President Carter, ignore it unless Congress actually demands its role. It is time the Congress takes up the War Powers and fashions a better vehicle that isn't so easy to ignore when its convenient.

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Reply President Jimmy Carter and the War Power Act. (Original post)
Agnosticsherbet Sep 2013 OP
Little Star Sep 2013 #1
dsc Sep 2013 #2
Agnosticsherbet Sep 2013 #3

Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:25 AM

1. k&r

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Response to Agnosticsherbet (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 10:29 AM

2. given the prima dona blowhards that are in Congress

they had no business at all being consulted about that rescue attempt. I can see it now, Congressman Peter King of NY on the TV 24/7 releasing details of the rescue attempt as it was happening.

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Response to dsc (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:46 AM

3. The Constitution, The War Powers Act, and even Jimmy Carter (now) disagrees with you. n/t

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