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Why Not Just Declare War Then?

by | Feb 15, 2019

Kyle writes:

If there is so much bi-partisan support for war, why doesn’t Congress openly declare war as the Constitution says? What is the big reason why we have all these undeclared wars?

I respond:

Mostly they want to avoid taking responsibility — deniability. Voting to “authorize” the president to later decide is a great compromise/cop-out position. See Hillary Clinton on Iraq War II: I just thought Bush needed the AUMF to bluff with, I never told him to actually start a war. So she gave him the authority, but it’s all his fault for using it. In case the war went well she could say she was a great help.

The other thing is that USA is the world empire. They want to define “war” up, to mean major power conflict, but want to characterize “police actions,” “interventions,” “kinetic activities,” “support” for native troops with American officers as normal day-to-day activities, sometimes invoking the old AUMF from 2001, but more often just insisting they were “invited” to help by the national governments it supports against whatever insurrections they face.

Scott Horton

Scott Horton

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He is the author of four books. He has conducted more than 6,000 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

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