hate when some “leader” of a country uses weapons of mass destruction. And if it’s possible to hate it more, I hate it when they use those weapons against their own people. And women. And children. Which brings us to Syria.
The President, unfortunately, needs to do something. More unfortunately, Britain’s Parliament isn’t with us, which means Britain isn’t with us. And Russia, of course, is on Syria’s side. And it's the Middle East, where a lot of people just hate Americans for existing. I’m hoping our own Congress is with us. Not because I like war (see the first sentence) but because we cannot let Syria think that the United States is not together on what action to take. My fear is that with the politics in Washington, with the “let’s score points against the other team” attitude, that members of Congress will vote their politics, not their country. I’m also afraid the President decided to go Congress to put the members in a box. I hope that’s not true.
I’m no lawyer. But the War Powers Act is not so cut and dry. To a layman (me), it says you need to notify Congress 48 hours after you take a military action. And you need its approval for a war. I guess it depends on your definition of war. Is a strategic, targeted bombing a war? Is it an act of war? Thus are court cases made.
Presidents of both parties have taken the same position: that they are the commander in chief and they have authority to take action. No recent president – of either party – has ceded that authority to the Congress. I’m guessing Obama is not trying to do that now. But what if Congress votes not to approve action? What does he do then?
If he goes ahead and takes an action after Congress says no, has he conceded he didn’t have the authority in the first place and we have a constitutional problem?
I, of course, want to follow the law. The War Powers Act, ever since its adoption (and that was over a presidential veto) has not been cut and dry. You don’t want to take a military action, you say the president doesn’t have the authority. You
want to take action, the president has the control.
An added conundrum these days is you have a polarized Washington that prefers scoring points rather than doing the right thing. The right thing in this situation, to me, is to make sure Mr. Assad and the world know that chemical weapons cannot be used without a penalty. This isn’t a partisan political issue. There need to be “rules” or something when it comes to war. That’s what the Geneva Convention was for. You send your chemical weapons, we’ll send ours and the world will be destroyed. Simple. And there are idiots in power in places (see Syria) who really don’t care about “rules” or “morals” or the right thing. They care about their own power and control.
In a way, that sums up the consequences of the War Powers Act. A shame. Seems to me taking action is something, unfortunately, that we have to do.
The President is a constitutional scholar and he’s on record regarding the War Powers Act. But that’s when he was a senator. Not when the decisions, and consequences, sat squarely in his lap in the White House. It’s a different world
when you’re that guy. Mr. Obama made a huge ecision when he ordered the mission to go after Bin Laden. We’ve seen that he has the guts do the right thing. I just hope he’s not boxing himself in on this one.