Setting the stage for what may literally be the biggest constitutional crisis in American history, the White House is continuing to insist that President Obama has the “right” to attack Syria whenever he wants, regardless of the circumstances.
That position was a controversial one when the talk centered around starting a war with Congress in recess. Now, having sought Congressional authorization and facing a defeat in the House, the White House is refusing to rule out attacking Syria over the explicit objections of Congress. Obama continues to demand Congress authorize the war, saying it would set the stage for military intervention in Syria and beyond.
In practice Congress has been abrogating its foreign policy clout to the executive branch for generations now, and has recently been willing to look the other way on aggressive wars started by presidents. But being asked, rejecting the war, then seeing it happen anyhow would be many steps farther than any president has ever attempted to go, and would oblige Congress to respond forcefully.
Aide Tony Blinken seemed to downplay that prospect, saying there was “no intention” to do so, but with officials continually insisting they don’t expect to lose the House vote, that’s nowhere close to ruling it out.
Likewise, US Ambassador to the United National Samantha Power continued to talk of war as an inevitability, declaring today that the US has no alternative but to attack Syria at this point, seemingly in spite of broad public opposition and an impending Congressional rebuke.