Col. Bob Pappas, USMC (ret)
September 3, 2013
At any moment President Obama may direct a strike on selected Syrian military targets. If so, is it an impeachable offense or do the provisions of the War Powers Act and the Constitution grant the President the authority to act unilaterally, that is, without US House of Representatives authorization? Mr. Obama does, even some in Congress believe he does, but having studied both, it is clear that the President is Commander in Chief, but Congress through the War Powers Act put restrictions on the President to prevent indiscriminate use of force without broad consensus absent an immediate threat to US Security.
The Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor would be a perfect example of the President's authority to take unilateral action if it was then, under the 1973 War Powers Act. The President would be perfectly well authorized to conduct not only defensive operations in Hawaii but to launch a counter strike against Japanese interests anywhere in the world for up to sixty days without Congressional authorization.
But, the situation in Syria is somewhat different.
First, there is in place a US Administration that is heavily sympathetic to Arab states growing out of theirs and the US President's general Muslim character. To argue this point would be, "pointless" – in fact laughable – given his background, his long term filial relationship with Islam, Muslim appointments to a number of significant positions of authority throughout his Administration, Mr. Obama's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the list goes on. This fact, that he is sweet on Islam and Islamic culture, grows out of his childhood experiences and evident embrace of Islam while in Indonesia. His allegiance to Islam as illustrated by his wedding ring engraved with the inscription: "There is no God but Allah." These factors significantly influence if not dominate (one could say "cloud") his judgment as US President.
Second, Assad had done nothing that is directly inimical to US Security albeit offensive to US and on paper, International sensibilities.
Third, despite claims by the Administration that Assad used chemical weapons on opposing forces that included significant civilian casualties, information as to the perpetrator is so far, weak.
Fourth, until special interest groups on both sides of the political aisle began rattling the bars the Administration was AWOL, evidently hoping that no one would remember his, "will have crossed a Red Line" comments about Assad, a year ago.
Mr. Obama now states that he may strike with or without Congressional approval and may strike at anytime of his choosing over the course of the next month; but that he intends to get Congressional approval after their return in September. What a bunch of feckless hogwash!
Mr. Obama's central problem in this situation is his oral orifice. Mr. "Nobel Prize Winner" has put his foot in it so many times that it has stretched beyond credulity. Europeans cringe, Russia gives him the middle finger, Japan stands aghast, China hovers like a vulture, and Arabs run for cover...and Israel stands like a stone wall! When Mr. Obama asserted that he would change the world...he did; he has by diminishing US stature to that of a pigmy.
Didn't Ms. Clinton tell the world that we were resetting relations with Russia? Sure did, didn't they? Houston, this is getting serious! We'll see how this movie ends...in this case it is a movie, isn't it? Or is this a nightmare?
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