It looks like Barack Obama is not feeling as comfortable about instigating war with Syria, as first thought. While he is still saying action needs to be taken, on Saturday he spoke from the Rose Garden and said that he would go to Congress and seek authorization for military action against Syria. This follows Britain voting down military action in Syria and over one hundred congressmen calling on Obama to get authorization for such action.
“In a world of many dangers this menace must be confronted,” Obama said, adding that the attack on civilians “risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on chemical weapons” and “could lead to escalated use of chemical weapons.”
After more than a week of deliberation, Mr. Obama essentially put the onus on Congress to stop him from launching missile strikes against targets of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Lawmakers are not scheduled to return from their August recess until Sept. 9. “I have decided that the U.S. should take military action against Syrian military targets,” Mr. Obama said, adding that he intends such action to be “limited in duration and scope.”
With Vice President Joseph R. Biden at his side, Mr. Obama said, “I’m confident we can hold the Assad regime accountable. We are prepared to strike whenever we choose. It will be effective tomorrow, or next
week, or one month from now. I’m prepared to give that order.”
But he said he has consulted again with congressional leaders Saturday and will wait for lawmakers to vote on military action. The Democratic and Republican leaders of both the House and Senate have agreed to hold a debate and vote on a Syrian military strike, the president said.
“Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world,” he said. “The issue is too big for business as usual.”
The announcement appears to delay any U.S. military move for 10 days or more. House GOP Speaker John Boehner and the chamber’s top Republicans immediately issued a joint statement praising Mr. Obama’s decision to consult Congress and saying the House would hold its vote when Congress returns to work.
Republican leaders in the House rightly said, “Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress. We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised.”
What they added gives cause for concern. “In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th.”
What measure will they provide? Will it be one of authorization of military action in a country that has not provoked us? This must be answered in light of the fact that Syrian rebels have allegedly said they were the ones that unleashed chemical weapons, not Bashar al-Assad.
Dale Gavlak reported two days ago:
Don’t be surprised if Obama decides to go it alone against Syria, because he definitely does not have the backing of the international community, and I don’t think he has the backing of Congress, despite Nancy Pelosi’s beating the drums of war. He does have a lot of people who stand to make a lot of money on war with Syria though, including State Secretary John Kerry.
Indeed he needs a declaration of war from Congress per the Constitution, but the fact of the matter remains that we should not even be involved.