72 years ago today: The last time a president went to Congress for a declaration of war

We've been in 5 major wars since World War II:  Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Afghanistan & Iraq. The casualties are over 110,000 and many more wounded.

What do they have in common?  No formal declaration of war! 

To be fair, President Bush-41 & President Bush-43 did go to Congress for a resolution authorizing military force. (I'm sure all of you remember all of those Democrats reminding us that Saddam had WMDs and had to be removed)

I guess that a resolution is better than nothing, although The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was really a stretch.  I don't think that a single member of Congress thought that President Johnson would use that resolution to escalate the war and send 500,000 troops to Vietnam.

President Truman sent troops to Korea under a UN Security Council resolution.

Not surprisingly, Korea and Vietnam became very unpopular wars because Congress was never really engaged. 

Incredibly, most Americans were not around the last time that a president went to Congress and got a war declaration:

"On this day in 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt asks Congress to declare war on Japan in perhaps the most memorable speech of his career. The speech, in which he called Japan's act a "deliberate deception," received thunderous applause from Congress and, soon after, the United States officially entered the Second World War.   

The day before, Japanese pilots had bombed the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, decimating the majority of U.S. warships in the Pacific Fleet along with most of the Air Corps and Navy aircraft stationed on the island of Oahu. The bombing raids killed 2,403 people, including 68 civilians, and wounded almost 1,200."

The Founding Fathers understood that an executive with unlimited war powers would likely involve the country in wars. Beyond that, the executive is always stronger when he has the Congress behind him, especially when things go wrong as they always do when the shooting starts.

Let's get back to the Constitution and demand that presidents go to Congress.

P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.

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