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Grassroots pressure has forced President Obama to seek approval from Congress for an attack on Syria. But Obama is hell-bent on ordering a missile assault on that country, and he has two very important aces in the hole.

The administration is about to launch a ferocious propaganda blitz that will engulf a wide range of U.S. media. And as a fallback, the president is reserving the option of attacking Syria no matter what Congress does.

Until Obama’s surprise announcement Saturday that he will formally ask Congress for authorization of military action against Syria, the impassioned pitches from top U.S. officials in late August seemed to be closing arguments before cruise missiles would hit Syrian targets. But the pre-bombing hyper spin has just gotten started.

The official appeals for making war on yet another country will be ferocious. Virtually all the stops will be pulled out; all kinds of media will be targeted; every kind of convoluted argument will be employed.

Hell hath no fury like war-makers scorned. Simmering rage will be palpable from political elites who do not want to see Congress set an unprecedented precedent: thwarting the will of a president who wants Pentagon firepower unleashed on another country.

President Obama and top Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will twist every arm they can to get a “yes” vote for attacking Syria. Meanwhile, most mainline media pundits, numbingly addicted to war, will often chastise and denigrate foes of authorization.

But we have a real chance to prevent a U.S. attack. One cogent argument after another, from intelligence veterans and policy analysts and weapons experts, has debunked the messaging for war on Syria. And some members of Congress -- not nearly enough, but some -- have begun to speak up with cogent opposition.

One of NPR’s inside-the-box hosts of “All Things Considered” on August 30 asked Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) about the Obama administration’s claim that missile strikes on Syria would be “a limited action” and not “war.” Congresswoman Lofgren replied: “I think that anyone who argues that shooting missiles and dropping bombs on another country is not an act of war has got some further education warranted. If somebody shot cruise missiles at Washington for only one day, we would still consider it an act of war, wouldn’t we?”

Not many members of Congress have Lofgren’s clarity, and many of their votes on authorization are up for grabs. Each of us can help affect the outcome by demanding that our senators and representative oppose the war resolution. We should make our voices heard in all sorts of public venues.

The president’s move for a congressional vote should cause a major escalation of anti-war activism. A straw in the wind: during just a few hours after Obama’s announcement on Saturday afternoon, nearly 10,000 people took the initiative via to email members of Congress with a “No Attack on Syria” message.

National opinion polling and momentum inside Congress indicate that we can defeat Obama’s war resolution. It’ll be a tremendous fight, but we can prevail.

But even if Obama loses the vote in Congress, there’s a very real danger that he will proceed with ordering an attack on Syria.

Burying the lead almost a dozen paragraphs into a September 1 news story, the New York Times mentioned in passing: “White House officials indicated that Mr. Obama might still authorize force even if Congress rejected it.”

A careful reading of Obama’s Rose Garden announcement on Saturday verifies that he never quite said he will abide by the decision of Congress if it refuses to approve an attack on Syria. Instead, the president filled his statement with hedging phrases, detouring around any such commitment with words like these:

*  “I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets. … And I'm prepared to give that order. But … I'm also mindful that I'm the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy.”

*  “I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.”

*  “Over the last several days, we've heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session.”

*  “And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote.”

*  “I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage. Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation.”

At the grassroots, people across the United States will be working very hard to prevent congressional approval of an attack on Syria. That activism is imperative. But we should also understand that Obama has not committed himself to abide by the decision that Congress makes.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh for fuck's sake... this borders on C/T (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, grover, mookins, in2mixin, sviscusi, doroma

    Yes, I've looked through your sole link to support your claim here, and it's someone who isn't identified and might be speculating. There's literally no other info that I can find to back up what you're saying.

    And your quotes from the Rose Garden speech... how do you even begin to interpret them as somehow stating that the POTUS is going to defy congress' vote?

    Please get back to us when you have some actual evidence for your claims. Thank you.

    Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

    by mahakali overdrive on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:00:30 AM PDT

    •  hmm (12+ / 0-)

      I guess you missed SoS Kerry making the morning talk show rounds. Here's a tid bit:

      The Obama administration indicated on Sunday that it would launch military strikes against Syria even if it failed to get the backing of the US Congress, claiming evidence that sarin gas had been used in chemical attacks outside Damascus last month.

      Less than a day after the president vowed to put an attack to a congressional vote, secretary of state John Kerry said the administration was determined to act against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, and did not need the backing of Congress to do so.

      Kerry, one of the leading advocates of a military assault on dictator Bashar al-Assad, claimed the US had identified the type of nerve agent used in the 21 August attacks on 12 neighborhoods outside Damascus.

      You can watch the full interview on Meet the Press,if you can stomach Gregory.

      "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

      by TheMomCat on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:13:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, I didn't see that... don't have TV by choice (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's not something that seems right, and since when is Kerry a bit supporter of executive overreach, or is this just his way of trying to posture? That could be what it is.

        I double-dog dare Congress to vote for this. They'd be fools. They'll lose people like me if they do that -- good, otherwise solid Leftist voters who will hold my nose for most things; but I don't vote for military interventionists, hawks, or neocons and would sooner pull my own teeth out of my head. The moral evil involved in that is over my personal threshold, as someone who has been a pacifist essentially since I could formulate a political viewpoint. There are the most limited sorts of military actions that I can, or will, stomach, and that's that. This has yet to qualify from the reams of news that I'm reading.

        So again, they will very much lose interest in various constituents like me who feel passionately about human rights and who realize that large military strikes aren't historically much of a good solution and don't tend to bring about justice or peace, particularly, particularly when there's so much in the region that could be undermined by our activities. So NIMBY mentality is really quite a box people get into on this one that we need to get around in thinking through this thing.

        Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

        by mahakali overdrive on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:56:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The admimistration seems to be talking (3+ / 0-)

          out of both sides of its mouth. One the one hand Kerry is saying that they chose to got to congress but if congress won't stand with the president's decision, the they will attack Syria. Kerr is saying that is the president's right. I'm listening to him on [CNN's State of the Union and he is pushing this narrative really hard.

          "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

          by TheMomCat on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 02:38:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We shall see what the outcome is (0+ / 0-)

            I'm in a district where contacting my representative is not useful in that we don't, en masse, support this.

            The proof will be in what is decided. I will base my feelings and decisions not on preemptive narratives but on the actions taken. Same as always. There are sometimes trial balloons floated. This President was vocal about not supporting Iraq intervention and hasn't been as hawkish as some predecessors; that's how he earned my vote at all. If this moves into something untoward, I will not personally stand on the wrong side of justice since I'm not one of these people who look back and say, "Gosh, shouldn't have voted for Bush!" I've always been well on the Left, although I also never voted for Nader or anything because he simply struck me as farcical and transparent. It's going to be an interesting, difficult week.

            I hope it resolves without further conflict. My attitude has always been to support this particular administration (other than on some matters such as education, where I have serious qualms). However, that could change. Thus said, I really, really don't hope for it to. I really and truly don't. I already have a predilection for Progressives in Congress and don't tend to support Blue Dogs although that's my luxury in that I live in an incredibly Progressive district. If I didn't, well, that would be difficult, but coalitions must be built and ethical choices must be weighed. For me, this one is weighted, however, and is a definite -- and I think fair -- line in the sand; if Syria were attacking us or our strongest allies with immediate force, we would be in a position of self-defense. There is no evidence, however, that genocides are ended through military intervention. Sorry, but I have studied enough about African politics, specifically, to know this one ALL TOO WELL. The immediate crisis can be resolved at times (although this is never a certainty, and we are never sure what the casualties will be), but the aftermath is often quite brutal and just as unstable, with lose weapons floating around, displaced people, famine, all sorts of horrific aftermath that we then walk away from with our hands brushed. Moreover, other area forces can acquire power, and also, we wind up in bad standing which lets us help in the future yet lose. It's a very pointless kind of medicine.

            Click the ♥ to join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news & views written from a black pov - everyone is welcome.

            by mahakali overdrive on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 05:06:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting that Kerry claims to have (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        identified the type of nerve agent when the UN crew hasn't begun to test the objects it has collected.

        Assumingthat the US has gotten specimen from some of the rebel groups, and has tested them, what is is t he chain of custody and the proof that the articles actually came from the site of the attack?

        Sounds like we are being "yellow caked" again.

        "Fool me once WH Critter. And your' a liar. And I won't forget it."

        •  I believe the claim that it's sarin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          comes from tests made from samples of hair & blood from first responders. Although, I'm not sure how they obtained them.

          Doctors Without Borders have described the symptoms which could be from any number of nerve agents but they didn't specifically name any particular agent.

          Over the last two days, the American, British, and other governments have referred to reports from several groups, including Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), while stating that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was “undeniable” and designating the perpetrators.

          MSF today warned that its medical information could not be used as evidence to certify the precise origin of the exposure to a neurotoxic agent or to attribute responsibility.

          On August 24, MSF announced that three hospitals it supplies in Syria’s Damascus governorate had reportedly received 3,600 patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms, of which 355 died. Although our information indicates mass exposure to a neurotoxic agent, MSF clearly stated that scientific confirmation of the toxic agent was required, and therefore called for an independent investigation to shed light on what would constitute, if confirmed, a massive and unacceptable violation of international humanitarian law.

          MSF also stated that in its role as an independent medical humanitarian organization, it was not in a position to determine responsibility for the event. Now that an investigation is underway by United Nations inspectors, MSF rejects that our statement be used as a substitute for the investigation or as a justification for military action. MSF's sole purpose is to save lives, alleviate the suffering of populations torn by Syrian conflict, and bear witness when confronted with a critical event, in strict compliance with the principles of neutrality and impartiality.

          The latest massive influx of patients displaying neurotoxic symptoms in Damascus governorate comes on top of an already catastrophic humanitarian situation facing the Syrian people, one characterized by extreme violence, displacement, the destruction of medical facilities, and severely limited or blocked humanitarian action.

          "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

          by TheMomCat on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 08:20:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  CT? (11+ / 0-)

      A president starting a war without Congressional approval is hardly new territory.

      None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

      by gjohnsit on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:14:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry. Kerry said it too. (5+ / 0-)

      So I'd say it's still a possibility.

    •  Does the secretary of state count? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I saw him state that the president could attack on his own. Saw the vid, heard the words.

  •  Pretty sure he made that clear all along. (6+ / 0-)

    And given that he went ahead with Libya in direct defiance of Congress, it would be surprising if he didn't still think that.  That said, he's at least made a move in the right direction, for which he deserves some praise.

    I think it's pretty unrealistic to expect any president to voluntarily cede any power that has been historically claimed.  It's the job of Congress to push for their prerogatives.  Happily, we've actually seen some of that this time around.  Hope they keep it up.

    "That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything ... There would be no place to hide." - Senator Frank Church

    by jrooth on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:03:46 AM PDT

    •  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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

          [ Parent ]

          •  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

              [ Parent ]

              •  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

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  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

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  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

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  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?

    •  Clinton went into Kosovo after the House voted (0+ / 0-)

      down the resolution to go there.  The Senate approved, and that was good enough for Clinton.

      I don't remember Congress even voting on a resolution wrt Obama's intervention into Libya though.  I remember whining Conrgressfolk talking about the War Powers Act but never actually bothering to invoke it.

  •  Absolutely no way he defies Congress (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, catullus

    If Congress were to actually vote "no" he would abide.   He has no choice.   However I suspect if they really want to do it (which I doubt) they would ensure that no vote was taken if they thought they would lose.

    •  Clinton didn't "abide" by House Republicans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      veto of his resolution when he went into Kosovo on verified evidence of genocide.

      Your ct of somehow stifling a congressional vote won't be necessary.

      "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

      by Sybil Liberty on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:24:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Of course he can. (11+ / 0-)

    I don't think there is any doubt that he can. At least not in my mind. That doesn't mean he should, even with Congressional authorization.

  •  If he did this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    catullus, corvo

    which I seriously doubt, the Republicans in Congress would chant "impeachable offense" and realize that they have accidentally reached that strange aeon in which they are right about something.

    And then they would pass the impeachment resolution penned by several progressive Democrats.

    Unless they died of fright at discovering they were right about something.

    At which point

    Your Daily Popcorn transporter.

    (Image: Montgomery County Library, claimed to be public domain)

    Restore the Fourth! Save America!

    by phillies on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:19:42 AM PDT

    •  They wouldn't be right about impeachment, actually (0+ / 0-)

      Constitutionally, the president has limited military authority absent an actual declaration of war, but it's more than sufficient to carry out what he's been talking about with regards to Syria. Legally, it's a violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973, but that's laughable: Congress has never made any noises about supporting it, and the law would almost certainly fail to pass any SCOTUS review (violation of separation of powers).

      But you're right: barring any major changes in the situation, he's unlikely to act without Congressional approval.

      •  That's nice spin and all...but... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Politics is perception...and Democrats that care about their jobs won't have his back if he defies congress. The drumbeat will grow for his impeachment...and any supporters he has left won't be enough to save him when the shit hits the fan.

        I understand where you're coming from, but I disagree with the outcome if he proceeds against congress (unlikely, but possible).

        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 02:16:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So what's the argument for it? (0+ / 0-)

          You can't actually just impeach someone because you don't like them. You need some evidence of "high crimes or misdemeanors." That's why it took the GOP so long to get Clinton back in the 1990s: they needed some plausible excuse, and it took them years to find it.

          The only real justification here is the War Powers Resolution. That will not be used. Mark it. No one with any political ambition will want to go on record as wanting to deny the president the ability to use the armed forces, especially when any scrutiny by the courts will almost certainly rule the WPR unconstitutional. There won't be enough public outrage to drag them to that.

          It'll hurt Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party generally, politically, and possibly substantially so. But it's realistically not an impeachable offense, nor should it be.

          •  You are asserting that the WPA won't be used... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I assert that it is entirely possible.

            Time will tell who is correct...IF he defies congress, and IF congress first votes against attacking Syria.

            (The "Ifs"...can drive one mad, no? :)

            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 03:20:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well, you CAN (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            impeach someone because you don't like them.  I would argue that that's what both of the actual impeachments that have been carried out were ultimately about.

            Problem is there's been no firm definition set of what constitutes "high crimes or misdemeanors."

            Andrew Johnson only committed a crime because Congress specifically passed a law (an unconstitutional one, I might add) to give them an excuse to impeach him.  And all Clinton did was lie under oath about something that wasn't illegal in and of itself.  This is a crime, sure, but is it really a "high crime or misdemeanor"?

            Having said that, I agree that legally speaking, carrying out a military strike on Syria doesn't fit the criteria.

            •  Fair enough. (0+ / 0-)

              But every time it's been attempted, Congress has at least tried to provide a legal rationale. A weak one, either the result of an unconstitutional law passed specifically for that reason (in the case of Johnson), or as a result of a flailing, multi-year fishing expedition (in the case of Clinton), but a rationale nonetheless. Given the current political climate, I'm highly doubt that's in the cards here. But it's not totally unthinkable, to be sure.

  •  I hope that this time, Mr Solomon is wrong. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    k9disc, catullus

    His track record during BushCheney was strong.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 11:23:33 AM PDT

  •  heh (6+ / 0-)

    he's doing what he was asked to do but will do what he wants anyway. Where have we heard this before.

    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

    by TheMomCat on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:01:18 PM PDT

  •  It's almost as if (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TheMomCat, corvo

    Obama intentionally wants to ruin his legacy.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved, as those who falsely believe they are free. The truth has been kept from the depth of their minds by masters who rule them with lies. -Johann von Goethe

    by gjohnsit on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:12:53 PM PDT

    •  shh (5+ / 0-)

      I think that ship has left the port.

      "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

      by TheMomCat on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 12:18:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  what legacy would that be? n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Sun Sep 01, 2013 at 01:14:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I know, right? I mean, what would be the point? (0+ / 0-)

      The American public, in poll after poll, has expressed a demand for this to be run by congress first.

      If congress says no...and he attacks would make the Vietnam fallout looks tame by comparison since the media is viral in 2013.

      Not only would he risk impeachment and removal, but 2014 would be lost...2016 would be in jeopardy (since our coronated nominee voted for the Iraq War)...and the GOP would be resurrected in the snap of a finger.

      NOTHING good comes of this if he chooses it..yet I'd lay 5 to 1 that he will.

      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 01:45:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we thought the arm twisting was a tad (4+ / 0-)

    over the top with the NSA vote, this vote will top that by bunches. No way does he not get Congressional approval.  Wish it were not so, but I'm not holding my breath.

  •  I see a possible hitch in the idea that people (0+ / 0-)

    like Pelosi will push for the act of war if their own voters are against it.  How far will they be willing to stick their necks out for Obama.  He doesn't have to run for office ever agin.  They do.
    I can see a token support of Obama OK'ing an act of war, but how hard will they really push.

    Also too, if the Democratic Party wants  the best shot at keeping the WH and gaining the majority in the Congress I am not so sure that they want get involved in a another, "let's go to war." scenario.

    Considering what the over all attitude of liberals and moderates is toward military involvement in general does the party want to risk the 2014 elections?

    It is not like the proposed actions will be decisive of anything.

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