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Obama goes to skeptical Congress for Syria intervention

Barack Obama

In what was a welcome development, President Barack Obama announced on Saturday that he would make the case to a skeptical Congress to authorize military intervention in Syria, following an example set late last week by UK Prime Minister David Cameron.

“I’m confident in the case our government has made without waiting for U.N. inspectors. I’m comfortable going forward without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that, so far, has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable,” said President Obama in the White House Rose Garden.

“As a consequence, many people have advised against taking this decision to Congress, and undoubtedly, they were impacted by what we saw happen in the United Kingdom this week when the Parliament of our closest ally failed to pass a resolution with a similar goal, even as the Prime Minister supported taking action,” he continued, referencing the failed vote that took place on Thursday in Parliament.

“Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective,” he added. “We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual. And this morning, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy.”

John McCain apparently hasn’t read the Constitution

It comes as no surprise that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is clamoring for war against Syria. He’s been one of the loudest voices pushing the Obama Administration to fund rebels — including an al-Qaeda affiliate, al-Nusra Front — who are fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

But McCain, in his desire for war, is criticizing President Barack Obama for going to Congress to seek authorization for military force in the Middle Eastern country. During an interview with MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the Old Guard Republican said that he is worried about having “535 commanders in chief,” referencing Congress:

In a slew of media appearances Tuesday morning, McCain said he would not vote for a resolution that doesn’t do enough in Syria, nor one that significantly constrains the president’s powers.

“I think it would be a very serious situation where we are now 535 commanders in chief. Look, the president of the United States is the only commander,” McCain said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Tuesday. “Other presidents have acted in keeping with the War Powers Act. And so I think that it would be, frankly, it would be a risk. If I thought it was a meaningless resolution that constrained the president from doing what’s necessary, I couldn’t vote for it.”

The Arizona Republican said if a resolution in Congress doesn’t meet certain criteria, he won’t support it, even though he stands by what he said in front of the White House on Monday, that it would be “catastrophic” if the vote in Congress fails.

John Boehner, Eric Cantor back military intervention Syria

The White House scored a victory yesterday by convincing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) to support military intervention in Syria, hoping that the two will be able to gather support from skeptical Republicans.

President Barack Obama met with congressional leaders yesterday a the White House to make his case for intervention in the Syrian civil war after the alleged use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“These weapons have to be responded to. Only the United States has the capacity and the capability to stop Assad or warn others around the world that this type of behavior will not be tolerated,” said Boehner after the meeting. “I appreciate the president reaching out to me and my colleagues in Congress over the past few weeks.”

Cantor followed suit. I intend to vote to provide the President of the United States the option to use military force in Syria,” he said in a statement.

“Bashar Assad’s Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism, is the epitome of a rogue state, and it has long posed a direct threat to American interests and to our partners,” he added. “The ongoing civil war in Syria has enlarged this threat.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who also attended the meeting with President Obama, is still skeptical about intervention.


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