I’m confused. UK’s Parliament decided not to engage war in Syria, but we might without Congress’s consent, AGAIN. I thought THEY had the monarchy.
Such a monarchy comment may be facetious. But it brings out the irony of our state of affairs.
This is not some random Obama-bashing. It’s “in the rules” that Congress declares war and the Commander in Chief then leads the placement of military assets. He CANNOT take action if Congress isn’t at LEAST consulted, and by rights if they do not condone it, it is unlawful Constitutionally and Internationally to strike a sovereign nation.
(And I hate to point this out, but Bush at least convened with Congress over Iraq and took action with both their majority consent and a coalition nearly as large as the UN itself. So there’s sadly no comparison between Bush and Obama as bad as the former may be seen in other aspects.)
The contrast with the UK is apt and poignant on this very point. A President (or Prime Minister) cannot attack another country by their own decision. At all. Ever. That’s insane and few seem to grasp the concept (or refuse to) even in Washington.
We need to stop undeclared military actions (wars by any name), and do no less than swiftly impeach presidents who take such actions without consulting congress. *cough*Libya*cough* But that would require being a functional Constitutional Republic instead of a two-piston political machine where issues are weighed only in votes and dollars for the next election cycle. We no longer follow any rules, only what can be gotten away with by the complacency or ineptitude of partisan-based opposition.
I am not trying (in this discussion) to defend the justification for war in Iraq, and am not advocating us stepping into or avoiding intervention now. But the comparison stands however one may want to downplay consent and international support in one case and tout it potentially happening in another. If that is changing, at least in this case with Syria, then Obama is at least doing the right thing Constitutionally and Internationally this time. But so far, he’s not, and the UN will never give any more consent thanks to Russia et alia than they did for Bush. All the news sources I’ve seen indicate Obama JUST went to some members of congress yesterday after declaring his intent and is having a lot of trouble getting a buy-in from other nations.
As for undeclared wars, I’m not giving a free pass to anyone. They called Korea a “poilce action”. Tell that to the vets I work with. And what about a full invasion of another country without declaring war? You say “Grenayda”, I say “Grenahda”, but it’s all the same. I don’t know if Reagan had Congress’s blessing on that (I was a bit young when it happened), but I still have a problem with pretending it’s not war. I hardly think the Founding Fathers thought it was okay to just not declare war and lob a few cannonballs at someone’s fort anyway. Maybe the semantics don’t fit, but they cannot be an excuse to circumvent due process.
But I will say because it was challenged that regards international support for invading Iraq the numbers were there, even greater than the coalition liberating Kuwait years earlier. Some people suggesting lack of direct military support diminishes a country’s ‘vote’ is a bit surprising to me. The only reason the UN didn’t go full tilt was Russia’s veto power, just as is happening now. This is why I see such comments as a glaring double standard.
I find it even more fitting that Syria’s weapons are plausibly FROM Iraq, the very same ones unaccounted for by UN Inspectors before they were invaded and the manufacturing facilities were found but under-reported by the media who dared not contradict a million “Bush lied people died” bumper stickers. The only difference here is that Syria actually may be using them instead of hiding or selling them.
Lastly, it has also remained to be seen for certain if Assad or the Rebels are responsible, or if this is another ploy to take sides for other interests in the background, as usual. And then there is the the exact same dilemma we pose with Iraq or the Axis Powers or Syria: is it America’s responsibility to step into other nations when terrible things are going on? If so, then why the HELL were we not in Darfur? Because they didn’t have oil? And do we take the “right side” or the one that best protects America’s interests? Is it our place to even decide?
I can’t agree more that Congress having to make such decisions is a most unenviable place to be.
The Dirty, Damning Details
Regarding the intercepted communication, it appears that is Kerry’s main, perhaps only, piece of evidence linking this attack to the regime, and it has not been independently verified.
In the earlier attack this Spring, one group tried to make it look like the other side used them, and some sources even suggested the CIA may have been involved in the false flag. So this situation is arguably different, not necessarily a continuation of another event. But even assuming it is not …
Wouldn’t Obama have called for action sooner, or better yet publicly call for Congress to act instead of talk behind closed doors? People are parroting how urgent a response must be, but can anyone REALLY say this is urgent after all these other incidents were left without a response?
His leadership on this appears very, very erratic. Why threaten to strike now, and then as an afterthought LATER decide he will ask Congress but claim he doesn’t need to in order to save face on not doing it in the first place? (The idea it was an afterthought is now proven, not being judgmental on my part like suggested elsewhere, but an actual “second” decision made later just like he said in the speech.)
I don’t have to be a Republican or Conservative, or FOX watcher or Limbaugh listener to see how questionable he’s handling this. I am legitimately and sincerely concerned if he is capable the more I learn about the facts and details, editorializing on both sides be damned.
My Tentative Evaluation
Now from what I’ve read according to reports from various nations, I’m leaning toward blaming Assad. But that’s no better than any other armchair quarterbacking on Facebook. To support Obama’s decision makes only as much sense ethically as there is independently verified analysis that puts the smoking gun in the hands of Assad’s forces. So far nothing conclusive, and yet everyone has an opinion. Until then, we risk supporting the possible perpetrators and setting the worst possible incentive for other rebel groups or governments in the future to do the same.
I am disappointed the talks requested in Geneva fell through. I still think diplomacy has a place over military action if we are sincerely leaving “all options” on the table. I just do not understand why we are so eager to get behind his (now postponed) decision to respond militarily after being in so many other miscellaneous conflicts in the last decade, many of which much of America objected to on the grounds of being jingoistic. One might say it’s apples to oranges (and I say it’s partisan bias), but all conflicts have a way of being justified as if there wasn’t another choice.
If other options have not been exhausted, that’s exactly what it is, and we can’t argue they have been exhausted given the admission support is still being gathered internationally. If there was talk of sanctions, I haven’t heard of it. Our military has become the multi-tool for all situations, the prime symbol of our foreign policy, and I have a real problem with that. I just wish I would have realized this hazard under Bush, as obvious now as it seems to me.