At least, according to the New York Times: “The Obama administration has for now abandoned efforts for a diplomatic settlement to the conflict in Syria, and instead it is increasing aid to the rebels and redoubling efforts to rally a coalition of like-minded countries to forcibly bring down the government of President Bashar al-Assad, American officials say.” Which is all very… nice. The Assad regime is, of course, a second-generation fascist regime that routinely brutalizes its own population and funds international terrorism on a regular basis. It’s even been credibly argued that the Syrian regime has existing stockpiles of chemical and/or biological weapons – you know: WMDs. Eliminating another Baathist regime from the board would be, if you’ll forgive the phrase, a mitzvah.
What I want to know is this: again, again, precisely who or what authorizes the executive branch to commit acts of war on other countries without the input of the legislative branch? – Because while the NYT article talks about how the administration is meeting with our allies’ various civilian defense apparatuses (one hopes that we’re at least going to get paid this time), and holding regular planning sessions in house on how to deal with Syria, and coordinating with the Syrian opposition itself… nowhere in this article is there any indication whatsoever that the President is meeting or planning or coordinating with, well, Congress. Congress, in fact, seems to be entirely out of the loop on this one. And it’s going to be a race – just like it was with our Libyan adventure – to see who will be more hypocritically silent on this: Congressional Democrats, or the antiwar Left.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Let me just head this one off at the pass: George W. Bush received full Congressional authorization for military action against both the Afghan and Iraqi regimes, before actual hostilities commenced (and well before, in the case of Iraq). This basic respect for separation of powers, and the realization for the need for proper oversight, is in marked contrast to Barack Obama’s unilateral initiation of hostilities against Libya, which was not authorized by Congress. It was also a full reversal of Candidate Obama’s position on how to start a shooting war, but if you’re not already gloomily aware that Barack Obama lies when it suits him then there’s not much I can do for you.
So. We are not having the conversation about whether the War Powers Act is or is not constitutional (it’s probably not); for that matter, we are not having the conversation about whether Muammar Qaddafi deserved to get shot in the head and then have his corpse stuffed in a freezer for a couple of days until everybody who wanted a look could get one (he did). No, what we are doing is having the conversation of exactly how many shooting wars we must enter into before Barack Obama’s own political party gets around to telling him that they will not support any more unsupervised shouldering of the White Man’s Burden.
Although I expect that they’ll just run the clock out on that one.