The U.S. military struck Libya, alongside allied nations. They sent over 100 cruise missiles on the basis of Arab League and United Nations resolutions.. That foundation is already fracturing. WaPo reported:
The Arab League secretary general, Amr Moussa, deplored the broad scope of the U.S.-European bombing campaign in Libya on Sunday and said he would call a new league meeting to reconsider Arab approval of the Western military intervention.
Doesn't the Congress declare war under the U.S. Constitution? The Guardian reported the U.S. position:
Admiral Mike Mullen, who we reported talking earlier to NBC, has made more comments now to CBS on what the outcome could be in Libya to CBS.
He says it's a possibility the situation could end up in a stalemate with Gaddafi clinging on to power. Mullen said the air mission in Libya was "clear and limited in scope" but said the future was "very uncertain".
The chair of the joint chief of staffs, said on NBC's Meet the Press that he recognised the possibility that Gaddafi could stay on, adding "It's very uncertain on how this ends."
He later told CNN's State of the Union programme that the operation "isn't about seeing him [Gaddafi] go".
Mullen acknowledged he didn't have a definitive answer on the political situation but said Gaddafi was more isolated than after the no-fly zone and an arms embargo were enforced. He said Gaddafi was "going to have to make some choices about his own future."
An interesting aside, the following nations were identified as hostile to the U.S. by the Project for the New American Century: North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria. Obama has one PNAC adviser, Dennis Ross.
What are America's criteria for intervening in the Middle East-North Africa, given numerous dictatorial regimes with spotty human rights records? Once intervention is decided, what's the aim, from a militarily, political, economic and human rights standpoint? How can those be achieved while minimizing death and suffering caused by war and internal conflict? Maybe, Congress will answer these questions, when they get around to approving the war.
Update 3-22-11: The Constitutional question over authority to declare war is the subject of a NYT piece.
Update 1-10-16: While Congress was left out of the war declaration process, Tony Blair and Hillary Clinton were in the know. The West wanted Gadhafi's gold and to stop his plans for an African union with a dinar based currency, backed by gold.