President Obama will be guilty of an impeachable offense if he intervenes militarily in Syria's civil war without authorization from Congress, according to a resolution introduced in Congress by Rep. Walter B. Jones, Jr. (R-NC).
House Concurrent Resolution No. 40 declares "the sense of Congress" to be that " the President is prohibited under the Constitution from the offensive use of the United States Armed Forces in Syria without prior express authorization by an Act of Congress or without a prior express appropriation of funds for that purpose by an Act of Congress.... The President's defiance of those constitutional limits on his authority to initiate war would constitute an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution."
The Obama administration has called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to abdicate in the civil war that has taken the lives of more than 93,000 people in Syria, and has recently announced that the United States would be sending offensive arms to the rebel forces attempting to overthrow the regime. But the president has not intervened with military action of our own, despite calls for it by some members of Congress, most notably John McCain, (R-Ariz.), Obama's opponent in the 2008 election. McCain and fellow Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have said the United States need not put "boots on the ground" in Syria, but could help the rebels by attacking government planes and airfields with Patriot missiles and by providing a "safe zone" for the insurrectionists along the Turkish border. Obama did intervene with an air campaign against government forces in the Libyan civil war that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. That move appeared to backfire when heavily armed militants attacked a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, killing the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
The Jones resolution warns that military aid to the Syrian insurgents carries with it the risk of "blowback," recalling the weapons and other assistance given insurgents in Afghanistan fighting the Soviet occupation in the 1980's. The Afghan Taliban and other radical Muslims turned on the United States, culminating in "the 9-11 abominations," the resolution states.
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Photo of Rep. Walter Jones: AP Images