Continued from page 1

Since the passage of the WPR in 1973, no president initiating military action has explicitly acknowledged a need for congressional approval. President George W. Bush came the closest. In advance of invading Iraq, he requested a congressional resolution in 2002. Then, however, he said that his signing the law “does not constitute any change in the long-standing positions of the executive branch on either the president’s constitutional authority to use force to deter, prevent or respond to aggression or other threats to U.S. interests or on the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution.”

How can Congress win back its control of the war power?

Impeachment comes to mind. Vice President Joseph R. Biden, when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, warned President George W. Bush that if Iran were invaded, he would “make it my business to impeach him.” Mr. Biden claimed that he had the backing of five constitutional scholars. (A point of clarification: The House issues impeachments, which are like indictments. The Senate holds the trial.)

The courts have refused to take up the WPR controversy. Perhaps the judges have been brainwashed by the State Department and its lists.

Congress could cut off funds for the Libyan action. Even if temporary, this would hurt the war effort and be denounced as unpatriotic. But reasserting the legislative branch’s constitutional authority might be more important than whatever we are doing in Libya.

Obviously, some kind of drastic action - far more than a House resolution - will be needed if the WPR ever is to put a check on executive war-making.

Eugene G. Windchy worked for the U.S. Information Agency and is author of “Tonkin Gulf” (Doubleday, 1971).