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"This is not going to be a short-term, two-day operation. Even if Ghadafi throws up his hands and gives up, I think it's going to be a long-term event," - the Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers.

Rogers doesn't think the Congress needs to be disturbed by something as disruptive as a debate or vote. The president gets to determine alone what what US forces do - even for a long-term commitment, in Rogers' view.

Obama's ratification of this principle is a big deal. It's not that this kind of presidential adventurism is new; but the candidate who vowed to restore America's constitutional balance represents the most powerful example of the resilience of the imperial presidency to date - even after the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. McCain's endorsement of presidential war-making would have been totally predictable. Obama's legitimation of it, after explicitly rejecting it in the campaign, is pretty solid proof that it's now an indelible part of the way this country operates.

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