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Will Obama go to Congress before attacking Syria?

Wehrwolfen

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By Ed Morrissey
08/27/2013

The answer to that question is … probably not. Despite all of the handwringing by Democrats in the last administration about “imperial presidencies,” Barack Obama has exercised military powers unilaterally, especially in Libya, which was a war against Moammar Qaddafi in all but name. Based on the responses from the White House late yesterday, we can expect more of the same regarding Syria:

Carney also downplayed a role for Congress in reviewing or approving any strike plan. “I’m not going to speculate about a [presidential] decision that has not been made,” he said.

“I’m not going to itemize calls … [but] we are consulting with members of Congress,” he said.

Even less surprisingly, Obama will bypass the UN. Neil Munro notes that Obama criticized George W. Bush for not waiting for UN approval to invade Iraq, but the actions under consideration for Syria likely fall far short of a ground assault:


The use of chemical weapons is “a clear violation of an international norm,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

But the international norm was adopted by “a vast majority of nations … since World War I,” Carney said.

He did not say the norm was endorsed or enforced the U.N.

When asked by a reporter about the U.N.’s role, Carney punted.

“You’re getting in to a hypothetical about a decision that has not been made. … The president is consulting with the international community,” said Carney, pointedly omitting the U.N.
INDENT]

The UN issue just reflects a certain amount of hypocrisy, and is the lesser concern. The US has not ceded sovereignty to the UN; it is just a platform for multilateral diplomacy, albeit the most prominent. Bypassing Congress on the use of military force is another matter. The executive has the power to use military power for a limited time through the War Powers Act, which was meant for an emergency where national security is a concern, although the WPA has been used to justify all sorts of interventions over the last 30-plus years.

Libya certainly didn’t qualify as an emergency in regard to our own national security, and neither does Syria. The Libya intervention should have been instructive to Obama, too. Originally hailed as a success when the Qaddafi regime collapsed, it has turned into an utter disaster. We unleashed our enemies in the war on terror and provided them a failed state with which to launch offensives throughout Northern Africa. Spreading the political responsibility for that kind of risk would have been helpful, just as Congressional authorization for invading Iraq was for Bush when the war turned sour in 2006-7. And Congress would almost certainly have provided bipartisan cover for Obama on Libya in the spring of 2011 had he asked for it.


[Excerpt]

Read more:
Will Obama go to Congress before attacking Syria? « Hot Air

Just another trampling of the Constitution. But that's Obama for you.
 

specklebang

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Let me guess. In 24 hours you'll have another thread damning Obama for inaction in Syria.

Hot Air indeed.
 

Montecresto

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Wolf, what Ed Morrissey is saying is exactly what the Russians and Chinese know. This insanity so needs to be stopped by calmer heads. Is anybody aware of the numbers of civilians killed by this and the last administration, and yet we here them fain this faux outrage over Syria, when everybody with just a piece of a brain knows that regime change has been a long time goal and that's ALL this is about.
 
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