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View Diary: Obama Administration Now Saying It Can Attack Syria Even If Congress Votes Against Authorization (51 comments)

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  •  Let him fucking try... (0+ / 0-)

    If the people's elected legislature votes against attacking Syria and Obama - in arrogant, kingly fashion - steamrolls ahead and murders Syrians, I would be surprised if the public - already expressing strong desire for congressional approval - doesn't scream for his impeachment and removal.

    Iraq is still burned in the minds of Americans. We cannot afford another cowboy act that costs thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

    by Love Me Slender on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 01:39:26 PM PDT

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    •  There will be no argument for impeachment (0+ / 0-)

      Because he's absolutely right. He does have authority to use American military force without Congressional approval. There's nothing unusual or unprecedented about what he's proposed. It won't be a war (since he does need a declaration of war from Congress to do that), but we haven't actually been in a declared war since World War II. The idea of non-declared wars/"police actions" stretches back to the late 18th century.

      Theoretically, he's limited by the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to only commit US forces (absent a declaration of war) in light of a direct attack on the United States. But that's never been, and will almost certainly never be tested in court. If Congress decided to do so, it would almost certainly be found an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers. It has never been followed, and every president since Nixon has taken the public stance that it's unconstitutional, even when they do adhere to the spirit of the thing (they describe their actions as "consistent with" the resolution, rather than the more typical "pursuant to" language). But it's a moot point, because that's a debate that Congress (even one that hates the sitting president as much as at least half the current one does) doesn't want to have in the first place.

      If Congress really wanted to stop any action (as opposed to just being politically on record as disapproving), their only realistic option is to withhold funding. But I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, either.

      That being said, I would sincerely hope he follows the wishes of Congress, even if he doesn't really have to. Which, as I understand it, is exactly what PM Cameron did in the UK: he doesn't technically need Parliamentary approval to commit British forces, but it would be politically foolish to do so without it.

      •  WADR, It's a fool's hope you carry... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lunachickie, aliasalias

        The American people just will not tolerate this sort of imperialist bullshit any longer...and unless every Democratic congress critter is planning to fall on the sword for Obama, he won't come out of such a decision unscathed. Just ask those who defended the Iraq War before the 2006 and 2008 elections.

        Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

        by Love Me Slender on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 02:13:02 PM PDT

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        •  Who said anything about unscathed? (0+ / 0-)

          It would be politically insane for Obama to tweak the nose of Congress, especially when he didn't actually need to go to them in the first place. But "impeachment" actually means something other than "I really, really hate you," and the legal case for impeaching Barack Obama should he decide to do the same things presidents have done going back to the John Adams administration isn't there.

          Should it come to that (and it won't), not even the Obama-hating House of Representatives would touch it with a ten foot pole. As much as they hate Obama, it works against their own interests in too overt a fashion. They'll complain (and they'd probably even be right to do so), and they'll undoubtedly get a decent amount of political mileage out of it, but impeachment? Never going to happen.

          •  You better hope you're right (0+ / 0-)

            because the support for all this garbage is practically non-existent now. And since we know that there's a large contingent of Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferers on the right aisle of the House, you're liable to be quite wrong.

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 02:31:56 PM PDT

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            •  Width versus Depth of Opposition (0+ / 0-)

              Lots of people are against military action over Syria. But how many of those would consider it an impeachable offense? A good chunk (though not nearly as overwhelming a majority, granted) of the public was against Obamacare, but many of those people were still uncomfortable with the lengths to which certain Republicans were willing to go in their efforts to defeat it. I thought George W. Bush was wholly in the wrong on a whole slew of issues, but I never called for his impeachment (the only issue that came close was his presentation of evidence of Saddam's WMDs, and even there I didn't think the case was quite strong enough).

              Certainly, the Tea Party contingent would jump all of over it, but a) there are enough Republicans in Congress who'd prefer to argue that Obama didn't move forcefully and/or quickly enough in using military force in the first place, and b) there are enough Republicans in Congress who have their eyes on future political goals that they won't want to permanently limit presidential powers in so drastic a fashion. It might become a cause celebre amongst the ODS sufferers, but no impeachment resolution will garner enough support to pass the House.

              Of course, we're down to several layers of hypotheticals (if Congress firmly blocks the president, and if the president decides to go ahead anyway), so it's most likely irrelevant anyway.

              •  Oh, is it now? (0+ / 0-)
                so it's most likely irrelevant anyway.

                Is this your professional opinion or your personal one?

                This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                by lunachickie on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 02:46:48 PM PDT

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                •  Personal, naturally (0+ / 0-)

                  But my personal opinions are, at the very least, informed by my understandings of the political reality.

                  It's not at all clear to me that,

                        a) Congress won't authorize military action against Syria, or, at the very least, wash their hands of the decision in such way that the President is free to act while preserving Congress's ability to complain about it (or, possibly, take credit for it, depending on how it all shakes out),

                        b) Assuming that Congress doesn't authorize military action, that President Obama will go ahead and act anyway.

                  That latter point is the biggest one to me: either Obama knows (or strongly suspects) that Congress will ultimately support him in deciding to attack Syria, or he legitimately does not want to act without the cover of Congressional support. If he really wanted to intervene, no matter what, he doesn't need Congressional approval to do so. Realistically, the only reason to seek it is to cover his backside, politically speaking. But that blows up in his face if Congress blocks him, and makes the political downsides of intervention much, much worse for him.

                  All of which points to the idea that he's either confident that Congress will support his decision to intervene, or that he intends to abide by Congress's input, even if they don't support him. All of the commenting about how he technically has the power to intervene even without approval is just as easily read with an eye towards future considerations: just because he's gone to Congress now doesn't mean that he feels he has to the next time we're in this kind of situation. He's not giving up his authority in the matter on a permanent basis, he's delegating it in this particular situation. Not that I wouldn't love it if he (and his successors) made a habit of it, but whatever.

                  That's no guarantee, of course. It's possible, for instance, that he's already made his mind up to intervene regardless, and he's just flat out wrong in his reading that Congress will support him. But that would be such a bald-faced and pathetic political error that, frankly, he'd deserve all the public backlash he'd get over it (though probably still not articles of impeachment).

                  •  There are other students of history here... (0+ / 0-)

                     :)

                    I wouldn't put all my chips on the "impeachment...ridiculous!" number quite so soon. The American public has a funny way of deciding what is and is not ridiculous...and this is already a Gumby congress as it is.

                    Adequate health care should be a LEGAL RIGHT in the U.S without begging or bankruptcy. Until it is, we should not dare call our society civilized.

                    by Love Me Slender on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 03:18:30 PM PDT

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                  •  So are mine (0+ / 0-)
                    But my personal opinions are, at the very least, informed by my understandings of the political reality.

                    You might consider dialing back the "word salad" approach here. It only reads like you're trying to convince yourself, more than others. Sometimes, less is really more...

                    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                    by lunachickie on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 04:04:21 PM PDT

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                    •  Of course. I never implied they weren't. (0+ / 0-)

                      And that's just the way I talk. I err on the side of verbosity because I've found that not doing so just means I'm less likely to get my point across clearly. That's the reason (well, one of many) I'd never make it in politics.

        •  How do we know the motive here (0+ / 0-)

          is imperialism, though, and that they don't genuinely want to stop Assad from gassing his own people?

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