Originally Posted by Alexander
Declaration of wars are necessary, at least in the United States, to maintain a hold on the power of the executive.
We've had too many controversial undeclared wars to be cool with the idea of someone just throwing soldiers around willy-nilly.
Since 1964, the "power of the executive" has increased at the expense of the legislative branch - i.e., the executive branch has taken the country to war in Vietnam, Grenada, Lebanon, Panama, Kuwait/Iraq (with nebulous UN authority), Somalia, Serbia, Afghanistan, and Iraq again, without declarations of war.
Declarations of war are out of fashion as instruments of state policy. The absence of such relics of previous centuries provides flexibility, and also the possibility of conflict resolution without the complication of peace conferences and the political problems that accompany them.
Actually this is not a new phenomenon. Elizabethan England waged a world-wide war with Habsburg Spain for almost 20 years without a declaration of war. The absence of such a formality enabled Jacobean England to end the war with less stress than had there been formal hostilities.