Syria, Obama, Putin, and the UN
Jasper, William F., The New American
President Obama's last-minute retreat from his threatened U.S. military attack on Syria was a (temporary) victory for peace, common sense, morality, constitutional government, and the rule of law. With polls showing staunch public opposition to another foreign war, little support in Congress, and little to no allied or international support for the venture, the Obama White House was forced to back off from its plans for an immediate 'assault on the Assad regime in Damascus.
But the president has made it clear that he does not consider himself bound by any constitutional restraints in the matter; specifically, he asserts a presidential prerogative to go to war with Syria without a formal declaration of war from Congress, as our U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8) requires. In his August 31 Rose Garden address on Syria, President Obama stated: "I: believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization." He said, at that time, he was delaying military action so that Congress could debate the issue and vote on it because "I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective." He also knows that he is standing on quicksand and heading into more of the same in any war with Syria--especially with our economy already in the tank and American public and international opinion both firmly against another war.
Nevertheless, President Obama has not committed to abide by a vote of Congress. In a September 16 interview with NBC, he conceded he might lose the congressional vote and said "I haven't decided" on the next step, if that occurs. That interview, along with many other media appearances, is part of a furious lobbying campaign by the administration to whip up support for going to war. But, of course, they don't call it "war"--even though bombs will fall, bullets and missiles will fly, blood will be spilt, and people will die: it's merely a "military action" or "military pressure."
During his 2008 presidential campaign. Senator Obama famously stated: "I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president I actually respect the Constitution." His performance as president provides indisputable evidence that his disdain for the Constitution surpasses even that of George W. Bush, who similarly disregarded his oath of office and freely usurped powers--egregiously so with regard to committing our nation to war.
Predictably, the all-war-all-the-time warhawks in Congress from both parties--Rep., Nancy Pelosi, Sen. John McCain, Sen. Lindsey Graham, Rep. Peter King, et al.--are cheering on the White House warmongering. Meanwhile most of the rest of the members in both houses are cowering, afraid to take a stand one way or another. …