Congress Does Not Want Its War Power

The short-lived CBS series “Brain Dead,” now available on Netflix, is a science-fiction satire about an invasion of Washington, D.C., by extraterrestrial bugs that crawl into people’s ears and hijack their minds as part of a plot to conquer the world. But the most implausible aspect of the story is a dramatic Senate committee vote on whether to authorize military action in Syria.

In the real world, of course, no such vote is necessary, because the president does whatever he wants with the armed forces he controls while Congress abdicates its constitutional responsibility to decide when the country should go to war. Last week, 61 senators showed they are happy with that situation by tabling an amendment that would have forced a debate about endless, metastasizing wars that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives without making Americans any safer.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would have repealed the 2001 authorization for the use of military force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and the 2002 resolution approving the war in Iraq. The repeal would have taken effect in six months, giving Congress time to consider the justification for continued U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and the various other countries supposedly covered by those resolutions.

“The war in Afghanistan has gone on 16 years now,” Paul said before the vote on his amendment. “We have people who will be fighting in the war…in the next year or so who were not yet born on 9/11. We have long since killed the…