Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson can call President Obama’s definition of war “nonsense” all he wants, but the Libyan non-War isn’t an Obama novelty. Rather, the definition of war has been silently eroding for many years, and both parties have been complicit. In fact, if you look only at the official record, America hasn’t been at war since World War II. “Operations” Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Odyssey Dawn are just the latest wars to evade the term.
While undeclared wars have been a presidential rite of passage since Truman, Congress sounded the death knell for constitutionally limited war when it gifted the war power to President Bush. Libya is just the natural consequence of handing military discretion to one man, and when we cheer on our democratically elected Dictator of War after 9/11 or after bin Laden’s death, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when he takes his powers too far.