We have a government that can turn every problem into its own war (War on Poverty, War On Drugs, War on Terrorism, etc.) and at the same time, evade the label for real combat situations when convenient, namely, to dodge obtaining consent from even the most petty representation of the American people. We see this happening now with the military operations in Libya.
The constitution assigns congress the power to declare war; however, since World War II, the succeeding presidents have used the position as Commander in Chief to wage war without any congressional approval. In Korea and Vietnam, despite the spending of a trillion dollars and 94,000 American casualties,  war was never officially declared. In response these catastrophes, congress passed the War Powers Resolution over the veto of President Nixon in 1973. The War Powers Resolution states that the President must withdrawal troops if congress has not given authorization within 60 days of military commencement.  It has been more than 5 months since Obama commenced military forces in Libya, and congress has taken notice. On June 3rd, the House of Representatives passed a resolution that explicitly states that military units shall not be deployed in Libya.  Two weeks later, a group of ten bipartisan members of congress filed a lawsuit against president Obama on the operations in Libya.  Obama’s response: he does not believe that he needs the approval of congress.
During the first day of U.S. military force in Libya, U.S. warships fired 110 Tomahawk missiles ($569,000 each ), and B-2 stealth bombers dropped 40 bombs.  The U.S. claims to only play a supporting role in military involvement and on April 4th transitioned full command to NATO. CIA agents remain stationed on the ground helping organize the rebels and collecting intelligence. The U.S. provides fuel, ammunition, and intelligence to the allies,  but allows them to press the buttons. Of course, the U.S. does not surrender all button pressing to the allies: on April 21st, the U.S. began the use of predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles in Libya. According to General James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff, two patrols of drones will fly above Libya at all times. As of June 19th, NATO has carried out 11,500 missions including 4,500 missile attacks  killing numerous civilians  along the way, including three grandchildren of Gaddafi during a family gathering. 
The “limited involvement” of the U.S. military in Libya is the basis of President Obama’s argument for the legality of his actions under the War Powers Act. Part of the Obama administration’s single paragraph support for his stance states that the operations in Libya are “distinct from the kind of ‘hostilities’ contemplated by the [War Powers] Resolution” because:
“U.S. operations do not involve sustained fighting or active exchanges of fire with hostile forces, nor do they involve the presence of U.S. ground troops, U.S. casualties or a serious threat thereof…” 
In other words: if it were a real war, then our forces would be under attack, but in this case, we are just attacking them. Opposing forces cannot shoot back at the robots in the air that we use to shoot them. The destruction is one way. We don’t see the war, so it must not be there.
Military technology allows us to distance ourselves from our actions and ignore the destruction that we cause. The damage caused by Tomahawk missiles and drone attacks can hardly be described as limited. While I have no sympathy for Gaddafi or his forces, the actions of the U.S. in Libya represent a dangerous direction for the use of military power and abuse of executive authority. For an executive to single-handedly order these unilateral attacks and treat the resulting bloodshed and devastation as too minor to even bring to congress is indefensible.
Oddly, it seems that Obama agreed with this sentiment before his presidency. For those of you who are delusional enough to believe that Obama will follow through with what you had projected onto his promises of “hope” and “change” during his next term in office, you are probably beyond the point of reasoning, but just in case, I bring you yet another reason to abandon hope in this administration. Here are some quotes concerning executive power to use military force by members of the current administration while they were still senators:
“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” – Barrack Obama [4,12]
“The Constitution is clear: Except in response to an attack or the imminent threat of attack, only Congress may authorize war and the use of force.” – Joe Biden 
“I do not believe that the President can take military action—including any kind of strategic bombing—against Iran without congressional authorization.” – Hillary Clinton 
These quotes along with the 2008 campaign may have led you to believe that Obama would be a departure from Bush Doctrine policies. Do not be fooled again.
- Casualties in the Vietnam War: http://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html#year
Casualties in the Korean War: http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45275
Cost of war: www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22926.pdf
- War Powers Resolution (full text): http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode50/usc_sup_01_50_10_33.html
- Boehner Resolution on Libya: http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/112/house/1/411
- Libya Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief: http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Libya_Complaint_Master.pdf
- It’s hard to get an objective number of the civilian deaths caused by NATO intervention. The Libyan Ministry of Health claims that more than 1,100 civilians have been killed and 4,500 injured: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/libya-nato-dismisses-claims-of-civilian-casualties-2313893.html. There are many reports of civilian deaths by other news sources, but I’ve found very few instances where NATO admits to killing civilians. Here is one: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/news_75639.htm