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Congress has formally declared war only 11 times in U.S. history, and authorized the use of military force 11 times.

All the Previous Declarations of War

As we head into a period of vigorous congressional debate over whether to authorize the use of force against Syria, it's instructive to look back at America's history of congressional war declarations.  The Congressional Research Service put together a great mini-history in 2011, "Declarations of War and Authorizations for the Use of Military Force: Historical Background and Legal Implications," by Jennifer Elsea and Richard Grimmett, which is worth a read at this juncture.

The obvious take-home is that America has done a better job of winning its declared wars in the last century than achieving clear-cut victories in ventures authorized under legislative measures that fell short of a formal declaration of war.

And here are the 11 conflicts governed by congressional legislation authorizing force but not declaring war, per the CRS report.
  • May 28, 1798 and July 9, 1798. FRANCE. Legislation  authorizing the president to instruct commanders of U.S. Navy warships to “subdue, seize and take any armed French vessel which shall be found within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, or elsewhere, on the high seas...”
  • February 6, 1802. TRIPOLI. Legislation authorizing the president to “equip, officer, man, and employ such of the armed vessels of the United States as may be judged requisite...for protecting effectually the commerce and seamen thereof on the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean and adjoining seas" in response to threats from Tripoli.
  • March 3, 1815. ALGERIA. Legislation authorizing the president to use the U.S. Navy, “as judged requisite by the President” to protect the “commerce and seamen” of the United States on the “Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean and adjoining seas” in response to conflict with the Dey and Regency of Algiers.
  • March 3, 1819. PIRATES. Legislation enacted “to protect the commerce of the United States, and punish the crime of piracy.”
  • January 29, 1955. FORMOSA. Legislation authorizing the president to “employ the Armed Forces of the United States as he deems necessary for the specific purpose of securing and protecting Formosa, and the Pescadores against armed attack....”
  • March 9, 1957. THE MIDDLE EAST. “To undertake, in the general area of the Middle East, military assistance programs with any nation or group of nations of that area desiring such assistance.”
  • August 10, 1964. SOUTHEAST ASIA. Gulf of Tonkin resolution.
  • October 12, 1983. LEBANON. "The Multinational Force in Lebanon Resolution."
  • January 12, 1991. IRAQ. Congress passed the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution.”
  • September 18, 2001. TERRORISTS. A joint resolution to authorize "the president to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
  • October 16, 2002. IRAQ. "Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq Resolution."

Assad: "The Middle East is a powder keg, there is risk of a regional war"

Syrian President again threatened with the expansion of the conflict if the West launches military action against him."The chaos and extremism will spread,"    i'm going to break the page, because this article is translated from Spanish to English, or you can just do it yourself?  

The ruler of Syria, Bashar Al Assad , said Monday that Middle East is a "tinderbox" and the "Fire approaches the region" . "Do not just talk about Syria's response, but of what may occur before a first attack. Nobody can know what will happen. The world will lose control of the situation, while the powder keg explodes. chaos and extremism will spread. risk of a regional war there , "said the French newspaper Le Figaro .
While international intervention in Syria is imminent, Assad said that "neither the United States nor France" have failed to prove that his government has used chemical weapons against the civilian population. "Whoever makes an allegation must have evidence.'ve Defied the U.S. and France to show proof, but Obama and Hollande were unable even to their people," he said.
I'm not saying that the Syrian army has no weapons . Suppose our army will use weapons of mass destruction. Could you have done in an area where was he and his soldiers have been injured by these weapons, as noted the United Nations inspectors in your hospital visit, is it logical? "he added.
On the other hand, al-Assad said that "anyone who contributes financially and militarily strengthen the terrorists (as often called the rebels the regime) is an enemy of the Syrian people" . "Whoever acts against the interests of Syria and its citizens is an enemy," he continued when asked about the relationship with France. "The French people are not our enemy, but the politics of his state is hostile to the Syrian people. Insofar be so, it shall be treated our enemy. And there will be negative repercussions French interests".
Syria is in conflict for two and half years and, despite the continuing international pressure for peace in the country, the recent use of chemical weapons against civilians precipitated the situation. A possible military intervention from the U.S. and other Western countries is imminent. Also, this Monday was shown a French intelligence report , according to which there is "tangible evidence" that Assad's troops carried out the attack on August 21.

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