The founding fathers were very specific: war must be approved by congress. The list of these is blessedly short: War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. Some of those had multiple war declarations, such as World War II which included declarations against Japan, Germany and Italy, Bulgaria Hungary and Rumania. In total congress has declared war eleven times.
Outside of those times, the United States has participated in wars as part of United Nations efforts, joint congressional resolutions, and the War Powers Resolution. Our present use of military force in Libya is the 132nd time a president used the War Powers Resolution.
11 times versus 132 times. The principle is, military force and war should be the last resort – only to be used when every other means has been exhausted, and the American people are fully committed to winning a fight.
Read More: Swords into Plowshares by Ron Paul