This is Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program In TheNews.
American officials and the publicare debating if the United States should take military actionagainst Iraq. Officials say Iraqi President Saddam Hussein isexpanding his biological and chemical weapons program and seeking tobuild nuclear weapons. President Bush says he must be removed frompower.
There is support for action against Iraq among most leaders ofMister Bush鎶?Republican Party and many Democrats. Yet some of themsay the United States should not act alone. Leaders of manycountries have expressed concern about the possibility of an attackby the United States.
The Bush administration claims it already has Congressionalpermission to go into Iraq. It says a resolution passed by Congressin nineteen-ninety-one approving the Persian Gulf War is still ineffect.
However, some political experts and members of Congress say newcongressional approval would be required for military action againstIraq. On Thursday, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,Patrick Leahy, called for Congress to debate and vote before anypossible military action. He said the United States Constitutiondemands it and the American people expect it.
Article One of the Constitution gives the legislature of theUnited States government the power and right to declare war. ArticleTwo makes the president the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.So, Congress is responsible for declaring war and the president isresponsible for carrying it out.
In ninety-seventy-three, Congress passed a law linked to thoseparts of the Constitution. It is called the War Powers Act. It saysthe president must tell Congress when he deploys troops into areaswhere hostile actions are probable. The same law orders thepresident to withdraw troops within sixty days unless Congressdeclares war, approves the military action, or extends the timelimit.
In nineteen-seventy-five, Gerald Ford became the first presidentto use the War Powers Act. He sent troops to re-capture an Americantransport ship captured by the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia. He tookquick and limited military action against Cambodia and reported toCongress about it as required.
Since then, other presidents have taken military action withoutfollowing the War Powers Act. For example, President Reagan senttroops to assist Kuwaiti ships during the Iran-Iraq war innineteen-eighty-seven. He said that action did not require use ofthe law.
On Thursday, Vice-President Dick Cheney said that President Bushunderstands the importance of public and congressional support forany military action. He said Mister Bush would seek some kind ofcongressional approval for action in Iraq if he decides it isnecessary.
This VOA Special English program In The News was written by CatyWeaver. This is Steve Ember.