John W. Rolph

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On August 2, 1990, Iraqi armed forces stormed across their borders and invaded the neighboring country of Kuwait. Almost immediately thereafter, President Bush drew a "line in the sand" against further Iraqi aggression by deploying approximately 230,000 American armed combat troops to the desert of Saudi Arabia as a deterrent shield. In so doing, the President rekindled a long standing controversy with Congress concerning the proper exercise of war powers under the Constitution and how those powers should be distributed between the executive and legislative branches. The President's "line in the sand" sparked unprecedented reevaluation of the much maligned War Powers Resolution (the "Resolution") and immediately redrew the line that has historically divided the President, and the Congress on the issue of who makes the decision to wage war under the Constitution. This Article reevaluates the vitality of the Resolution after Operation Desert Storm' and concludes that, despite the minor war powers concessions that Congress has wrestled from the President since the Resolution's enactment, the legislation has proven overall to be an abysmal failure. The political, constitutional, and procedural flaws that permeate the Resolution have crippled it to the extent that the President openly ignores it, the Congress is irresolute in asserting it, and the courts employ every conceivable tool of judicial abstention to avoid addressing it. Essentially, the Resolution has become a "dead letter."