According to senior officials in the Obama administration, the attack “would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles ... striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal.” In an accompanying disclaimer, those officials said the launch would be dependent upon three factors:
1. Determining that Assad’s regime was culpable in those attacks
2. Consultation with U.S. allies and with Congress
3. Determination that such an attack could be justified under international law
There are several problems facing the administration. First, it is not clear who exactly will determine Assad’s culpability or when that determination will be made. UN inspectors in the region have been fired upon by rebels and have delayed, by at least one day, their investigation into the attacks.
Secondly, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has not had any consultations with any of those senior officials. And thirdly, what possible justification could there be for violating the clear instructions and limitations under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that only “the Congress shall have the power to ... declare war”?
Beating the drums for the pending attack, Defense Secretary John Kerry said:
Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious....
This international norm cannot be violated without consequences.
White House spokesman Jay Carney added: “What we are talking about here is a potential response ... to this specific violation of international norms.”
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Photo of President Barack Obama: AP Images