||14 EDWIN B. FIRMAGE Congress exclusively possesses the constitutional power to initiate war, whether declared or undeclared, public or private, perfect or imperfect, de jure or de facto. The only exception is the power in the president to respond self defensively to sudden attack upon the United States. Three points also follow from constitutional text, our history, and pragmatic necessity. First, power over foreign relations was meant by the Framers to be jointly held by the Congress and the president. But much congressional direction and control have been allowed to wither by congressional default and presidential usurpation. Second, the existence of nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems cuts in the direction of this original understanding, not the reverse. That is, the argument by presidents and presidential counselors that the president must have the power instantaneously to wage nuclear war because of nuclear missile delivery time of a few minutes simply does not hold. Rather, the cosmic implications of nuclear war mitigate in favor of more institutional restraint, collegial decision rather than the potential frailty and impetuosity of one human being who decides for or against the continuation of human society and, possibly, the human species. Third, Congress possesses the power through control over expenditure, appointment, the direction of foreign policy, the government of the armed forces, censure of the president and, if necessary his impeachment, to reassert its primary power in foreign relations and its singular power to decide for peace or war. C. The War Power This position-that Congress possesses the sole power to decide for war or peace-is supported with absolute clarity of intent of the founding fathers.20 And our history, while checkered with congres- 20 In the Constitutional Convention, debates in the Committee on Detail centered around an original printed draft of the war power clause providing that "[t]he legislature of the United States shall have the power ... to make war . . . ." One member of the Committee, Charles Pinckney, opposed giving this power to Congress, claiming that its proceeding would be too slow. Pierce Butler instead said that "[H]e was for vesting the power in the President, who will have all the requisite qualities, and will not make war but when the Nation will support it." Butler's motion received no second.