That the Obama Administration is willing to stretch the 2001 AUMF pertaining to Al Qaeda to cover its use of force against ISIS shows just how important it is that no AUMF should be in force forever, without any reauthorization by Congress.
And while we're on the subject of war-related amendments, the notion that we can go to war by a simple majority vote of both houses of Congress has always struck me as absurd. If a 2/3 majority of the Senate is required just to ratify a treaty, then surely a 2/3 majority of both houses should be required to go to war.
So we need a Constitutional amendment that says these things.
Obviously there will be no such amendment anytime soon, but any push for a Constitutional amendment starts off as something aspirational - a way of saying, this is what we're for, this is how things should be.
Then after you've said that for enough years, it either starts to make overwhelming sense to enough people that it becomes possible, or you get to a point where it's clear that it just ain't gonna happen.
So I believe the Dems, or if necessary, a group of more progressive Dems, should start pushing a number of potential amendments to the Constitution. This is one.
First, it would require a 2/3 amendment of both houses to initially authorize the use of force in a given country or conflict.
Second, it would limit such an initial authorization to five years.
Third, it would allow Congress to extend an existing authorization for three years at a time by simple majorities of both houses of Congress, and allow Congress in so doing to restrict the scope of the existing authorization going forward. Expanding the scope would require a fresh AUMF.
So for instance, if this had been in effect when Bush became President, Congress would have had to extend the 2001 AUMF in 2006, 2009, and 2012 for it to remain in effect now. Maybe Congress would have, at each juncture, extended the AUMF as is. Or maybe in 2009, they would have limited it to Afghanistan and Pakistan. But absent actual votes by Congress, the AUMF would eventually end.