UPDATE and BUMP: Copied this from the comments from RightwingSnarkle -
...Founders were concerned about (this) - that a single person (or small group) could commit the country to foreign entanglements. That's why congress alone has the authority to declare (and fund) war. It's not something to be taken lightly, or done without thorough deliberation.Which reminds me that Congress abdicates that responsibility every time it issues an AUMF.
Over at RedStateEclectic, Laura comes up with the best analogy for the importance of declaring war as defined by the Constitution:
Say what you will about the assorted "authorizations to use force"--the difference between those and a formal declaration of war is somewhat akin to the difference between a teenager telling a girl that he really, really loves her on the one hand, and marrying her on the other (to use what is, I guess, sort of an outdated analogy in many circles). It's the difference between taking an action and hoping for good results, absent commitment--and commitment no matter what the results, to the bitter end.Similar to the way Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal, I've always thought that AUMF's were in the same vein. A workaround, a way to get a desired result without meeting the high threshold that following the Constitution would require.
Would George Bush have been able to get a formal declaration from Congress back in 2003 to conduct a preemptive war against Iraq? Based on what evidence we had, there being a GOP controlled Congress, and it being 2 years after 9/11. Probably. Why