Obama Reportedly Considering Intervention Into Syrian Civil War

PresObamaDuring President Obama’s first term, I represented members of Congress in challenging Obama’s unilateral intervention into the Libyan civil war without authorization of Congress. Our case was dismissed on standing grounds and, once again, an undeclared act of war went by without any opportunity of judicial review. Now, Obama is reportedly debating whether to intervene in yet another civil war — undeterred by the now superfluous constitutional limits on his war-making authority. Israel has also publicly stated that it is considering a preemptive strike on Syria and reserves the right to make such an attack if it feels threatened by events in that civil war. [Update: I discussed this issue as part of my column on the imperial presidency this morning on C-Span]

President Barack Obama said he has been struggling with the decision whether to enter into another war as the 22-month civil war in Syria drags on. Here is what he considers to be the operative question:
“In a situation like Syria, I have to ask: can we make a difference in that situation?”

That is a bit different from the question that the Framers wanted him to ask: “Do I have authority from Congress to engage in a war?” That question is now just a quaint concern for a president who has acquired unprecedented unchecked powers. Once again, the Democrats are silent because it is Obama not Bush who is speaking of war. It is the type of hypocrisy that is not just laughable. It is lethal.

You will notice however that, during all of this public discussion of whether Obama will intervene in yet another war, there is not a peep of protest from Congress that it is supposed to have the final say on whether we go to war. Democrats again, even on war powers, are conspicuously silent — preferring to support Obama as a person than the Constitution on principle.

Of course, now that war is a unilateral power, we will not have an opportunity to debate our participation in yet another war. There will be no debate over the continued loss of American lives in foreign wars like Iraq and Afghanistan. There will be no debate over our continued spending billions on wars that we desperately need to support basic social programs at home. This is precisely why the Framers wanted to force public votes. While polls show the American people have long opposed our continued expenditure of lives and treasure in Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama and Congress have continued our involvement. Indeed, our slow withdrawal is due not to our leaders seeking to draw down but increasingly hostile relationships with our “allies” who want us out of their respective countries. The disconnect with the American public is alarming. We have taken a balanced and well-reasoned system and turned it on its head. The result is precisely what the Framers anticipated: continued foreign wars carried out on a unilateral basis.

Source: Yahoo

184 thoughts on “Obama Reportedly Considering Intervention Into Syrian Civil War”

  1. mespo,

    “I can’t really see a particular point of decline just because Commodus wasn’t even a shadow of his father. The empire maintained itself for another three centuries and the relative peace prevailed until about the time of Alexander Severus in 235 CE when things began to sink.”

    Not an unreasonable assessment.

  2. Yeah, the opthamologist wont look so bad when the next group has their ten year run in Syria. Why cant Turkey retake its old Empire. We had a dog named Ottoman once.

  3. Probably the best bet in the middle east and in those pirate territories is on a secular dictator. Anwar Sadat was a good one. The Arab Spring has its consequences. Remember that movie about Germany with the song called “Springtime For Hitler in Germany”, tag line is “Autumn for Poland and France..” ? The colonial period was probably in large part to blame for the failure of these territories to adopt democracy or even civilized organization. But on the other hand, I would rather that France and Spain ruled than these tenthead tyrrants.

  4. Are Europeans gullible, or are we victims of propaganda???

    Here is an interesting video on the OT (?) subject.

    Fake Skeptics & The “Conspiracy Theorist” Slur
    By StormCloudsGathering on Jan 23, 2013 06:40 pm


    Hope people return to read this.

    If not, another day on a more appropriate thread.

  5. Speaking of constitutional lawyers, here’s a link:

    Frequently told lies (FTLs)

    by Glenn Greenwald


    Anyone who develops any sort of platform in US political debates becomes a target of hostility and attack. That’s just the nature of politics everywhere. Those attacks often are advanced with falsehoods, fabrications and lies about the person. In general, the point of these falsehoods is to attack and discredit the messenger in lieu of engaging the substance of the critiques.

    There are a series of common lies frequently told about me which I’m addressing here. During the Bush years, when I was criticizing George Bush and the GOP in my daily writing and books, there was a set of lies about me personally that came from the hardest-core Bush followers that I finally addressed. The new set comes largely from the hardest-core Obama followers.

    The following lies are addressed here:

    1. I work/worked for the Cato Institute
    2. I’m a right-wing libertarian
    3. I supported the Iraq War and/or George Bush
    4. I moved to Brazil to protest US laws on gay marriage
    5. Because I live in Brazil, I have no “skin in the game” for US politics
    6. I was sanctioned or otherwise punished for ethical violations in my law practice


  6. OT OT OT OT Domestic Exercise of Civil Rights

    If you want a national briefing with deep going links, then try this one.
    The Brennan Center for Justice. Am on their email list.


    It even gives a state level view on the zaniest (?) actions.

    This time they are devoting this issue to voting rights and improving the voting process by federal law. Bills now in House and Senate.
    Scott Walker is gonna reinstate the cuts in pre election voting. Stats show it was the poor and many of them (ca 200K) that did not make it compared to earlier elections.

  7. idealist, Lawyers don’t agree on much of anything and that includes constitutional ones. 😉

  8. DonS et al,


    I don’t care if you all want to discuss how many angels, etc.

    But if you want to make a point, then choose the word the public knows and accepts, and keep to it only. He may talk as a prof. to profs, but to the people with the language they know.

    Of course, it is his privilege to pitch to any group that he wishes to. But mine to criticize when I see his point met by blank stares.

    Civil rights or civil liberties, they are taking them away from us.

    How about a nationwide strike by all lawyers until Obama rescinds his misdeeds? If Greece can so why can not we?

    I got this from somewhere, guess it was my time as a marketing man.

  9. Scrolling down, hours late, to kibbitz.

    So you supported McGovern. Accdg to HST’s book, he could not decide which shoe to put on first, each morning. And when he had, he had mixed up left and right. Great ideologue, poor President. Being an honest liberal wasn’t enough against the Nixon machine,

    TPTB would have eliminated in some way, he was not MIC prone.

  10. Obama’s non-closing of GITMO, kind NYT headlines, and US government irony

    The excuse used to justify Obama’s failure to close GITMO is incomplete and misleading. Plus: multiple other items

    by Glenn Greenwald
    Tuesday 29 January 2013 08.52 ES


    (From one of the comments:

    “We won’t close Gitmo.
    We’ll close the office assigned to closing Gitmo.

  11. “Horrifying news from the Syrian city of Aleppo:

    An activist group with opposition contacts in Syria said on Tuesday that the muddied bodies of scores of people, most of them men in their 20s and 30s, had been found in a suburb of the northern city of Aleppo. Video posted by opponents of President Bashar al-Assad seemed to show that many had been shot in the back of the head while their hands were bound.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist organization based in Britain with a network of contacts in Syria, said at least 50 bodies had been located, some scattered along the banks of a small river in the Bustan al-Kaser neighborhood, which is mostly under rebel control. Later reports put the tally at 80.

    “This is another new massacre that has been committed in Syria, adding to the constant massacres that have been occurring, while the world watches silently and the international and Arab community are being hypocrites,” the Syrian Observatory said in statement.” Daily Beast

  12. “Senator Ted Cruz (R) is the new guy from Texas. The other day he slagged the nominations of John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, saying they are “less than ardent fans of the U.S. military.” Kerry is a decorated war hero whose combat medals include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. Hagel is a decorated war hero whose combat medals include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Cruz, meanwhile, has never worn a uniform, except maybe on Halloween.” Maddow blog This new republican senator from Texas is touting himself as presidential material. Maybe he can run against Hillary.

    1. The answer has to be no. Have them stop without killing, yes. When Jesus stopped stones from being thrown he harmed no one. In fact he wrote in the sand. Have a person do what Jesus would not do is sinning in action because Jesus is perfect.

  13. Bron,

    Based on his track record, I’m not sure you can fairly describe Bloomberg as being on the left. An authoritarian, sure, but he’s hardly for liberty and functional government unless that function is in the service of his 2% cronies. Also, I disagree with this statement: “the religious taliban in this country believe in personal sacrifice as much as the secular taliban does. If the 2 ever form a coalition our freedoms will be gone, not that we have many left.”

    The religious right in this country believe in personal sacrifice as long as someone else is doing it and doing it the way they think “Jesus wants it”. They too are authoritarians but with a theocratic bent which is part of the reason they align right instead of left. There is no way the DNC could have courted the right wing religious fringe lunatics without a polar shift far more drastic than they have done in becoming a party of what used to be called Centrist Republicans. The secularists on the other hand, left and right because they come in both flavors, simply want religion kept out of governance which is as it should be by the terms of the 1st Amendment which makes them protective of both the Establishment and the Free Exercise Clauses.

    I think you’re building a boogey man by again misunderstanding the left and by thinking the left have any real representation in government today. They don’t. Sure, there are a couple of actual liberal left voices out there like Sanders and Grayson, but there aren’t in actual liberals in the DNC or in Washington as a whole to actually move policy or shape laws. The current political battleground is defined by the extreme right and the centrist right, but left isn’t on the field except in the citizenry which as you can see is being roundly ignored by government in favor of padding their own pockets and destroying civil liberties for all but “the chosen”. If it wasn’t and the left had a say in government? Both Bush and Obama would be in jail right now.

  14. Gene H:

    no mushrooms this morning.

    What I am saying is that there are many on the left, such as Mayor Bloomberg, who would deny us the right to drink a big gulp or own a firearm or smoke a cigarette. So I call them the secular taliban [as opposed to the religious version].

    While you and I dont agree on economics, I dont think we are very far off on civil liberties/rights/individual liberties.

    I personally make no distinction between opposition to owning a firearm and opposition to abortion. Or between forcing someone to have an ultra-sound and forcing them to buy health insurance.

    the religious taliban in this country believe in personal sacrifice as much as the secular taliban does. If the 2 ever form a coalition our freedoms will be gone, not that we have many left.

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