In 2002, Congress authorized military intervention in Iraq. Because the UN was less supportive, Bush was derided for acting unilaterally.
In 2011, the UN authorized military intervention in Libya. Even though Congressional approval was not sought or received, Obama is praised for acting multilaterally.
My conclusion - UN approval is more important than Congressional approval for a fairly large segment of the American population.
I don't like double standards. I try to avoid using them. They serve no real purpose other than justifying incoherent judgements. That said, I'm sure to be accused of using one when I say that President Obama's use of force in Libya is wrong while Bush's action in Iraq was right. But don't judge me too soon, lest you look foolish.
I judge such matters by the level of agreement between the executive and the legislative branches. I read the news and I try to stay informed. But I'll never have as much information as our nation's elected leaders. Asking me whether military action is justified in certain circumstances is like asking me to second guess Tony Larussa's use of the St. Louis Cardinal's pitching staff. In one situation, it may be a no-brainer, but in another, only someone in Tony's position has all the information to make that call.
When the President sees the need to use military force, it is his duty to seek authorization from Congress to act. Due to the modern nature of military activities, the authorization to use force has become the equivalent of a Declaration of War. If the President and Congress then agree that military action is the correct move, then who am I to disagree? If I do disagree, then I can seek to change that in the voting booth.
Occasionally, action must immediately be taken in our nation's defense. Under such circumstances, I want the President to act first, then seek to justify his actions before Congress as soon as possible and seek authorization for any continuation of military operations.
Bush's action was not correct because I agreed with him. It was correct because Congress agreed with him. Obama's is wrong for the same reason. Congress could have debated and voted on an authorization in less time than it took to pass a resolution at the UN. Obama has offered no excuse for bypassing Congress.
It's not as if timeliness was an issue. He supposedly changed his mind on the use of force sometime Tuesday, but no action took place before Friday. Congress declared War on Japan and Germany in less time after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
What is worse is that even if timeliness was an issue prior to the use of force, it is not delaying him from seeking a declaration now. But is he doing that? No, he left town for South America. That is wrong and unconstitutional.
Whether he feels that Congress would support action or not, he must seek its approval. Because he has not sought such, it can only be assumed that Obama considers that the UN resolution is an adequate authorization for military action. Congress cannot let such a precedent stand.
Our military intervention in Libya may be the correct action for the US. But then again, it may not. Obama has decided it is. Now that he has put the military in harm's way, he has my support; but not my faith. He'll have that when he seeks and receives an authorization for his actions; not from other nation's leaders, but from our nation's leaders.
It's time for Congress to reassert its authority by debating and voting on this military action. To allow the President to supplant Congressional authority with the UN Security Council's would set us on a course that may soon jeopardize our sovereignty.