English Parliament Balks At Obama’s Latest Demand For Military Intervention

220px-Houses.of.parliament.overall.arpPresident_Barack_ObamaWhile President Obama continues to maintain that only he decides what constitutes a war and requires consultation (let alone a declaration) from Congress, there remains a modicum of democratic process in England. The Obama Administration was surprised to learn that British Prime Minister David Cameron could not simply plunge his nation into another military conflict and that Parliament did not want to blindly follow the United States into attacking Syria. They would like to wait for all of the facts to be established by the United Nations before deciding how to act. It is of course a ridiculous notion that was long ago discarded in this country. If that was the approach in the United States, we would never have been able to invade Iraq on false pretenses and spend hundreds of billions in a war that has cost us tens of thousands of dead and wounded service members. Indeed, such knowledge is steadfastly avoided by our own politicians. By simply giving Bush a blank approval, politicians like Hillary Clinton and John Kerry could later deny that they really approved of the Iraq war and insist that they were misled by Bush.

What the English fail to understand is that our President stated publicly that he had a “red line” in Syria. Some say it was an off-the-cuff comment but he still said it. Now, either we go to war or Obama looks bad. For some reason, the Parliament does not see that choice as clearly as the White House. Of course, we have to go to war and spend a billion or so dollars to show that Obama means what he says. The White House has even promised to make the attack “limited and brief” — further conveying that this is just a face saving measure. For my part, I would rather keep the billion dollars for environmental and scientific programs being cut and have us all affirm that Obama is a leader not to be trifled with.

In the meantime, while insisting that we are only defending international law, the Obama administration has insisted that it would not allow Syria to “hide behind a U.N. investigation into the use of chemical weapons to prevent any response from the United States.” In other words, we need to support the United Nations and international law by ignoring the United Nations and international law. I fail to see what those English parliamentarians find so confusing.

97 thoughts on “English Parliament Balks At Obama’s Latest Demand For Military Intervention”

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  3. My guess is that Congress most assuredly does NOT want to have to vote on this. It’s too easy for them to wind up on the wrong side. And the Republicans would love to have a reason for impeachment.

    Anybody know of a reason Boehner is not calling the House back?

  4. Not Another Undeclared War: UK Parliament Votes, Why Not US Congress?
    John Nichols
    August 29, 2013

    In the aftermath of the Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s immediate response was to appear before a joint session of Congress to ask for a declaration of war. Despite the fact that an attack on US soil had killed and wounded thousands of Americans, despite the clear threat of additional attacks, Roosevelt honored the separation of powers as defined by the Constitution, along with the clear requirement that “the Congress shall have power…to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”

    No president since Roosevelt has respected the Constitution sufficiently to seek a formal declaration of war.

    They have had plenty of excuses: a United Nations Security Council resolution, a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a “consultation” with congressional leaders. They have interpreted the War Powers Act broadly. They have simply done as they chose.

    But they have not obtained the formal declarations of war required by the Constitution.

    It is easy to blame presidents for this.

    But the blame is shared with successive Congresses, which have lacked respect not only for the founding premises of the republic but for their own role in a system of checks and balances. And a growing number of House and Senate members, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, are recognizing that, as Congresswoman Barbara Lee says, “Congress must assert our authority on this issue.”

    The British Parliament did just that, voting “no” to intervention.

    Does the British Parliament have more of a say when it comes to warmaking that the United States Congress?

    The framers of the US Constitution certainly did not intend that this would be the circumstance. But in coming days we will learn whether the Constitution still applies.

    As preparations are made for war with Syria—and, should anyone be confused on this point, missile strikes meet the definition of warmaking—Secretary of State John Kerry is making public pronouncements aimed at explaining and justifying what could be a unilateral response to reports that chemical weapons were deployed in the strife-torn country.

    Kerry says that “the administration is actively consulting with members of Congress.”

    But “actively consulting” is not the same as securing a clearly stated declaration of war. Indeed, Congressman Justin Amash, an antiwar Republican from Michigan, argues that striking Syria without a congressional authorization is “unquestionably unconstitutional.”

    Amash flatly declares that, if a vote were held, “it would fail.”

  5. From The Imperial Presidency, by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr (1973):

    “Created by wars that required it, the machine now created the wars that it requires.” — Joseph Schumpeter

    From Stilwell an the American Experience in China, by Barbara Tuchman (1970):

    “The making of foreign policy in World War II came out of the great allied conferences dominated by the military where the military staffs were the working members, and the civil arm, except for the two chiefs of state, was represented meagerly, if at all. Pomp and uniforms held the floor and everyone appeared twice as authoritative as he would have in the two-button business suit of ordinary life. Human fallibility was concealed by those beribboned chests and knife-edge tailoring. By the nature of the message they proposed to send to Chiang Kai-Shek, the military were conducting foreign policy and nobody questioned it.

    “The message adopted the tone of a headmaster to a sullen and recalcitrant schoolboy. … it is doubtful if the note would have been addressed to the head of any European government.”

    This military “message sending” business has a long and disastrous history. No self-respecting head of state would ever countenance, much less comply with such peremptory, insulting “orders.” The only real “message,” of course, comes from the U.S. military machine that must create wars to justify its own ravenous existence. And the true recipient of that “message,” namely, the President of the United States, will fail to heed it at his own political peril. President Obama does not command the U.S. military. The U.S. military commands him, but allows him to pose publicly as Caesar and Napoleon as long as he serves the interests of the machine.

    The Imperial Presidency has long since become the greatest of all threats to the Republic and has nearly succeeded in effecting its ruination. Way past time to cut off funding for the limited, two-year standing army written into the Constitution by its authors.

    1. Murry the reason for the messaging was that Chiang refused to fight the Japanese. THAT is why they addressed the insulting message,NOT because the US and British military were martinets who were motivated by racism. If the allies had acted the way Chiang did and insulted the military leader of US aid and forces in China the way he did, I can assure you, Marshall would have done the same thing. In fact, Marshall was rather less than pleased with how Eisenhower treated Montgomery and let him run over him and be insubordinate. Ike should have relieved Monty long before the final confrontation which Montgomery talked his way out of being fired. To say the Marshall ran FDR and had no respect for his commander in chief is not only an outrageous lie, but shows a hatred for all of our military. There are many things and people that I dislike about the US military, but usurping civil control is not one of those sins.

      I have read Tuchman’s book too,and the main lesson of it was how FDR did NOT back up Stilwell and his recommendations. Chiang won that confrontation and Stillwell was recalled and the aid to Chiang continued being poured down the rat hole that was the Nationalist government. Stillwell thought the Chinese troops could be first class soldiers if they had good leadership and he longed to take command of them and let them prove themselves. Instead, Chiang vetoed the idea that Chou En Lai should come to the headquarters and place communist forces under Stillwell’s command. His comment was, ” I know how to take and follow orders” He and Mao later proved how well the ordinary Chinese soldier could fight when given good leadership.

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