Though many in both houses of Congress say they anticipate a lot of opposition to the Syrian War, Obama Administration officials, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, say they don’t anticipate a “no” vote under any circumstances.
But what happens if Congress says no? Kerry insisted that President Obama has a “right” to attack Syria no matter how Congress votes, and said the administration was willing to go forward with its war “no matter what Congress does.”
Which makes the decision to seek Congressional approval even more puzzling, since officials were suggesting a week ago they were past the “point of no return” and now still seem to be operating under the assumption that they can attack even if Congress explicitly tells them not to.
Congressional oversight on America’s wars is already well below Constitutional mandates in the modern era, with presidents regularly waging war in situations well short of Congressional declarations of war, and the War Powers Act of 1973 giving them an easy out on the “authorization of military force” that falls well below a formal declaration.
Still, Congress has always been there with at least some theoretical oversight, even if it’s after the fact. President Obama already slighted them by continuing the Libya War after Congress voted against authorizing it, but that was a war he’d already started and was only brought to a vote later, over his objections. The idea of asking Congress, having them turn it down then starting the war anyhow is leaps and bounds worse, and could set up a protracted battle for what limits a president has anymore on his unilateral use of the military.
Antiwar.com urges all readers to contact their Congressmen and urge them to vote against attacking Syria. Click here for contract information.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
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