Comment on this statment: The Tonkin Gulf Resolution gave a president too much power and the war power act tired to undo that powerthank you for youe help! (:

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You can certainly argue that this is true.

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution can clearly be said to have given Johnson too much power.  He used it to send hundreds of thousands of troops into a war that does not seem to our modern eyes to have been worth it.

Some years later, Congress passed the War Powers Act in an attempt to prevent future presidents from having as much power as Johnson had.

However, I am not sure that the Tonkin Gulf Resolution really gave the President too much power.  It is not clear from the Constitution that he needed it at all.  He is, after all, the Commander in Chief of the military and can send it wherever he wishes.

For this reason, the War Powers Act has never really been enforced and many people think it is unconstitutional.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree for the most part.  The Tonkin Gulf Resolution allowed the President to essentially wage war without a congressional declaration of war as stated in the Constitution.  The war was protracted and expensive, and the War Powers Act tried to put limits on the length of time a President could pursue such a policy without further approval from Congress.

I imagine when Congress passed the resolution, it had little idea what the war would turn into.  It was vaguely worded, simply granting the authority to "take all necessary measures to stop communist aggression in southeast Asia".  Left the door pretty wide open for LBJ to do anything he wanted.