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War Declaration Being Prepared

Congress is working late tonight on a declaration of war which will probably be similar to the act passed in 1991 after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

Rep. Dave Weldon, (R-Fla.) is preparing a declaration, and congressional leaders are in contact with the White House about it. Representative Weldon believes that he will have enough information to identify the correct countries to include in it by tomorrow. The countries involved could include Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq and others. A specific declaration against a person, which is unusual but legally possible, could be made against Osama bin Laden.

Legislators on both sides of the aisle are concerned that the wording be correct, and that the right countries are named. From a policy standpoint, George W. Bush appeared to agree with this approach in his televison address on Tuesday night when he said, "we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."

Only Congress has the right to declare war. If the President wishes that such a declaration be made, he must bring the proposal to Capitol Hill. A member of Congress can place such a proposal on the table, and it is possible, though highly unlikely, that Congress would enact a declaration of war without Presidential support.

In this case, it is doubtful that the measure would even be introduced to the floor of the House without the support of the White House. However, the fact that it is being authored strongly suggests that the United States will be at war with one or more countries in the near future.

"I say to our enemies: We are coming," said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona. "God may have mercy on you, but we won't."

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