A resolution is vital for a reason that transcends the Constitution: It would give the American people a say
United Nations officials say 800 refugees have drowned trying to escape the fighting in Libya. If it continues, the UN Aid chief predicts, the country will run out of food. Our allies may be engaged in revenge killings. The Christian Science Monitor calculates that the cost to the American people is already many billions of dollars, and, whatever the total, it grows with every day that our military plays an active role in the conflict. And the dubious veneer of legality cited by war hawks is about to run out.
Despite the enormity of the stakes, however, Congress is uninterested in either endorsing or ending our involvement, despite the fact that the Constitution vests it with the authority to declare war. Senator John Kerry, hawkish on Libya, says he is unlikely to seek formal authorization for the mission. Does anyone other than these guys care? "I'm surprised that no one's pushed that issue harder," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Dave Weigel. "I'm comfortable with the president's authority, quite frankly, but from a War Powers perspective, it's probably something that you want to consider."