White House Downplays Seeking UN or Congressional Approval for War

War Will Likely Start Before Congress Returns to Session

With Congress still two weeks out from returning to session and war apparently more like two days away, 33 members of the House of Representatives are urging President Obama to call them back and seek an actual authorization before attacking Syria.

That seems extremely doubtful, however, as White House officials scoffed at the idea of bringing the matter to a vote, insisting the war is “in the clear interest of the United States” and that some members of Congress have been informed about it.

Nothing the administration has said about the imminent war suggests that they’re really giving Congress as a whole serious consideration, and rather they seem to be focusing on the hawkish members of the Congressional leadership, so they can at least make public statements saying they’re convinced.

Which is more than the UN seems to be getting. Though some officials initially gave lip-service to the idea of “international support,” since it’s clear Russia won’t sign off on a war request the UN Security Council isn’t expected to even be asked.

Obama’s even got the ultrahawks egging him on to start a war before Congress can conceivably get in the way, with Rep. Eliot Engel (D – NY) pushing to start the war before Congress gets back in session, and Rep. Peter King (R – NY) mocking the idea that Congress has any say at all.

King insisted that since President Obama is a “commander in chief” he doesn’t need anyone’s permission to start a war, and that he has an inherent “right” to attack Syria.

Though past presidents have historically sought at least some sort of vague Congressional approval before attacking another nation, President Obama already went to war with Libya without consulting Congress and then openly refused to seek a legally required post-attack authorization by arguing that it wasn’t a “real” war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.