Donald Brand, professor and chair of political science at the College of the Holy Cross, recently published an op-ed piece for the Telegram & Gazette about President Obama’s options regarding the situation in Syria. Brand, who is currently teaching a course titled “The American Presidency” and is discussing Syria at length with his students, references the scope of presidential war powers in his argument for action.
“The president, as Obama’s legal advisers have recently argued, has the legal and constitutional authority to order military action without permission from Congress,” Brand wrote. He further explains that when the War Powers Resolution was passed after the Vietnam War, “Congress was unwilling to strictly impose a requirement for prior authorization of the use of military force. Instead, it granted some discretion for the president to act unilaterally, but required Congress to retroactively authorize the use of force if it was to continue beyond a 60-day limit.”