ADDENDUM: I now suspect that I allowed Politico to lead me into misunderstanding the serious issues raised in the letter from Congress (now signed by over 100!) — 8/31/2013
This is not enough:
“Thirty-three House lawmakers have signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to call Congress back into session if he plans to use military force in Syria. Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.), who represents a coastal Virginia district rife with current and former military personnel, wrote in the letter that ‘engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United State exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution.’ Most signers are Republicans, according to Rigell’s office. Democratic Reps. Beto O’Rourke (Texas), Gene Green (Texas), Zoe Lofgren (Calif.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Kurt Schrader (Ore.) and Rush Holt (N.J.) have also signed on.”
I am not complaining about the horribly low number of Congressmen and women when I say it is not enough. Though, it is true that the low number is horrible. I remember back in 2010 when the new Congress opened by reading the Constitution out loud. Liberals derided the Republicans for engaging in a cheap stunt without any substance.
And the liberals were obviously right.
If the President can simply go make war wherever and whenever he wants without getting a vote from Congress declaring war, then the Constitution is nothing more than a government propaganda tool to make people think we are a nation under the rule of law. The fact that so few of the Republicans in Congress are upholding the basic law of the land—a law that makes the difference between a Republic and a military dictatorship, for what it is worth—tells us we have a long way to go in electing representatives who actually believe they are bound by our Federal Government’s legal charter.
But it gets worse.
When I write, “this is not enough,” I’m referring to the few who reminded the President of the Constitution but refuse to say anything about enforcing it.
Roll Call asks the right question in this post headline: “If Obama Bypasses Congress on Syria, Will He Face Consequences?” The answer, it seems, is NO:
“Congressional impotence in the face of a president intent on military action isn’t new; the Syria debate is to some extent a replay of the dispute over Obama’s launching of cruise missiles in Libya in 2011 without Congressional authorization. Backers of that intervention, including then-Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., sought to pass an authorization, but those efforts failed, as did an effort to end the operation. At that time, Obama argued that he was not required to seek Congress’ approval under the War Powers Act, which prohibits acts of military force in a foreign country except in cases of a national emergency. Instead, Obama said, the mission was being led by NATO allies and involved minimal danger to U.S. armed forces.”
“Impotence” is right. Whether or not we can succeed in impeaching Obama doesn’t matter; they have to try. Telling him an action is illegal and unconstitutional without being willing to openly call the president a criminal and a usurper, and making every legal effort to punish him as such, is a self-contradiction.
The Republic is in serious danger. John McCain claims Obama must remove Assad because the President already said he must leave office. If Obama is acknowledged to have authority to remove the leader of a sovereign nation an ocean and a continent away, then how can any Constitutional limits really apply here in America? If he can overrule Syria’s government, he can overrule our nation, and Congress is just a toothless pack of welfare loafers.