Could Congress annul a declaration of war from the U.S. President? Let's say that the President declared war against Cuba for no reason, could Congress step in and annul the declaration of war or is the President's prerogative to declare war on any country absolute in American law? Is there really no recourse whatsoever?

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    As pointed out by Jasper, not only is that not an absolute prerogative, but it is a non-existing one. Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 14:27

2 Answers 2


Under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress can declare war. The declarations used to be in the form of a bill that was subject to presidential approval or veto.

The War Powers Act was enacted at the end of the Vietnam War. It purports to allow Congress to extract the country from wars de facto started by the President as Commander-in-Chief. The last time I checked (many years ago), every president (including Carter) considered the War Powers Act to be unconstitutional even as they complied with the paperwork the Act mandates.

  • The real question is whether something is an actual war (legally, I mean) if Congress hasn't declared war. Congress certainly could stop the deployment of troops by the President, by impeaching him/her if all else fails.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 5:06
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    @jamesqf - that might be a more relevant practical consideration, but that's not the "real question" in this case, since OP specifically talks about a President declaring war. Maybe that's what you meant, but since we often talk about whether someone is addressing the question asked, that term, as used, is a bit ambiguous to me. Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 14:26
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    @PoloHoleSet: That's really my point, that the question needs to be framed in the proper legal terms. While a President can send troops to combat, s/he can't declare war, so the trivial answer is that Congress can't annul a President's declaration of war because a President can't declare war.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 18:15
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    Note that the USA has been at war since 9/11 and Congress has given the President a broad mandate to attack any state or organisation as long as it's "against terror". Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 21:31
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    @MartinSchröder Being in conflict and being in a state of war are different. Also while we have been in a lot of conflicts since 9/11 they are not on the scale of Vietnam or Korea and those where not even wars.
    – Joe W
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 21:57

The situation should technically not occur. The president has no right to declare war (or any preemptive strike).

However, this isn't always so simple.. Proxy wars. False flags. The military-industrial complex is very good at war.

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    – isakbob
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 2:35
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    The last war the US congress officially declared was WWII. Blaming Obama is completely uncalled for, because many presidents before him did exactly the same thing.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 15, 2019 at 6:43

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