Obama Asks Congress, but Claims Power to Launch Syria War Anyway

By:  Alex Newman
Obama Asks Congress, but Claims Power to Launch Syria War Anyway

Citing questionable "intelligence" that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons, Obama decided to urge Congress to approve his plan to ally with the Islamist rebels.

Despite absurdly claiming to have the authority to wage war on Syria without so much as a semblance of congressional authorization, President Obama, under immense pressure from the war-weary public and Congress, decided to urge lawmakers to approve his radical plan to ally the U.S. government with Islamist rebels in the effort to oust dictator Bashar al-Assad. Citing dubious supposed “intelligence” suggesting that the Syrian regime deployed chemical weapons, the administration seems confident of securing support from Congress — despite claiming not to need it and vowing to act regardless. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, however, are denouncing the claims, and some are pushing back.

Speaking during a press conference over the weekend, Obama said that, “after careful deliberation,” he decided the U.S. military should overtly join the war by attacking Syrian authorities. The announcement came after years of quiet, unlawful assistance to “opposition” forces — taxpayer funding dating to before the war broke out, arms and training for rebel fighters, and much more — failed to depose the tyrant, a former U.S. government terror-war ally. According to the president’s latest announcement, the military strikes would not constitute “open-ended intervention” or include “boots on the ground.”      

Noting that U.S. forces are ready to attack whenever he decides — “and I'm prepared to give that order” — Obama nevertheless said he had made a “second” decision. “I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress,” he explained, as if seeking congressional approval were some sort of kind gesture rather than a constitutional requirement that could result in impeachment if ignored. It appears to more than a few analysts as though the major, bipartisan outcry against more lawless wars may have forced his hand.

“Over the last several days, we've heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard,” Obama continued, presumably referring to letters from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle warning the president that the executive branch does not have the authority to launch a war on its own. “So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session.”

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Photo of President Obama: AP Images

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