The President of the United States has the ultimate control over waging war against another country. Despite the attempts by Congress through the War Powers Resolution to modify the President’s powers to declare war, semantics overrule any attempts made. For example, the President can draw a mandate for the “Authorization of Military Force” and innumerable other titles that can transcend any limitations Congress might impose. Although Congress can dampen any military initiative by refusing to approve the funding necessary, they cannot override the President’s powers as Commander-in-Chief of the military forces. Over time, the President’s powers have not increased, they have been the same as the framers intended. It is just that Presidents since the Vietnam War have taken the authority into their hands without regard to Congress’ approval.
The founders appointed The President as the Commander-in-Chief over the armed forces. This means he has the ultimate call in commencing hostilities with another nation. I believe this is what they meant- for that ultimate authority and responsibility to rest on the shoulders of the highest elected official. On the other hand, President Reagan in Lebanon, and President Clinton in Serbia, halted the impending hostilities in response to Congress’ lack of support. The President’s authority supersedes that of Congress, but it does not totally disregard their stance on the issue at hand.
I am not overly concerned with the Presidency’s current level of power in terms of waging war. I believe it is consistent with what the founders intended. The President is the go-to person for life and death decisions; I have always considered the President to have the final authority over any military actions executed by the United States military forces, hence the title Commander-in-Chief. With all the white-washing, blame-placing, and political manipulation going on in current politics, someone has to be ultimately accountable. That person is the President of the United States.