military action

Conservatives unlikely to side with Obama on Syria

It isn’t always quite easy to predict where some conservatives will stand on some issues simply because they have been somewhat inconsistent when faced with matters of great importance to their base, but the unpredictability seems to be withering. Especially when it comes to foreign policy.

In a statement issued Saturday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) claimed he believed that the “United States has significant national interests at stake in the conflict in Syria,” but while Congress doesn’t engage in a full debate into the matter, he sees “no good options” and firmly believes that the President still has quite some work to do to convince them an air strike is the best way to go about this problem.

While Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) congratulated President Obama on reaching out to Congress for authorization before a strike, she didn’t seem to come to terms with the rationale the President is using to justify the attack. According to the congresswoman, “President Obama has not demonstrated a vital American national security interest in the conflict in Syria or a clear strategy outlining what the use of force would accomplish. The American people do not support a military intervention and I cannot vote for one.”

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) also issued a statement after Obama’s announcement. According to Ryan, the President has some work to do to recover from his grave missteps in Syria. He needs to clearly demonstrate that the use of military force would strengthen America’s security. I want to hear his case to Congress and to the American people.”

Obama is now at war in Syria: Illegal bombing campaign begins

The Obama administration is finally doing what it wanted to do last year: bomb Syria. The airstrike campaign against the Islamic State in Syria began on Monday evening with the support of some Middle Eastern allies:

U.S. Central Command said the strikes were conducted with a mix of fighters, bombers, drones and Tomahawk missiles.
[…]
Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia joined in or supported the strikes, according to Central Command.

The strikes targeted ISIS training areas, command and control centers, storage facilities and a finance center, Central Command said.

It also announced that the strikes hit not only ISIS but a separate terror group, Khorasan.

Central Command said the group is “a network of seasoned al-Qa’ida veterans - sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group - who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations.”

There are a few things to weigh when thinking at the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria. First, as Jim Antle points out, there is “no legal basis” for this war. President Barack Obama has a responsibility to go to Congress to seek authorization. He failed to do, and, in fact, has openly flaunted his decision to, once again, bypass the Constitution.

Here we go again: Barack Obama tells Congress he doesn’t need authorization to wage war

Well, it looks like President Barack Obama is going to bypass Congress to wage a military campaign once again avoiding the constitutional role Congress has in determining when the United States is at war.

President Obama told the four main congressional leaders — House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), House Minority Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — that he doesn’t need a vote in Congress authorizing military action against in Iraq against the Islamic State:

The president is expected to use [his Wednesday evening] speech to announce the expanded use of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, as well as his administration’s efforts to build an international coalition to confront the terror threat.

The president is also weighing the possibility of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria, as well as asking the United Nations to pass a binding resolution requiring governments to prevent the flow of foreign fighters to the region.

While Obama told the House and Senate leaders he would welcome congressional action that demonstrates a unified front, the president told the bipartisan group “he has the authority he needs to take action against (ISIS) in accordance with the mission he will lay out in his address,” according to the White House.
[…]
None of the four leaders present in the meeting mentioned the need for congressional action following the meeting, nor did they offer many clues as to what new strategy elements Obama might announce.

Obama fails to make the case for military intervention in Syria

Barack Obama

TL;DR version: President Obama gave a speech last night rehashing the same arguments made for military strikes against Syria. He delivered the speech well, but failed to present a compelling case for intervention, specifically saying several times that Bashar al-Assad isn’t a threat to the United States. Even as he made a specious case for intervention, Obama said that he asked Congress to postpone a vote, making it a mostly pointless speech.

In a televised address last night, President Barack Obama took his case for military intervention in Syria directly to the American people, stating that Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law and is a threat to the United States’ interests in the region.

President Obama started off by offering background on the civil war that has ravaged the Middle Eastern country, noting that more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

“I have resisted calls for military action because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Obama. “The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children.”

President Obama emphasized the treaty banning use of chemical weapons, which the United States Senate ratified in 1997. Syria, however, is one of five countries that hasn’t approved the treaty, though they now say they will.

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.

On Syria, Conservatives, and the Constitution

Ramesh Ponnuru

The discussion that has been taking place among conservatives on foreign policy is a welcome one. And though those of us who believe in a more constitutional approach to foreign affairs, perhaps best defined by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), cannot yet claim victory, there are growing signs that we are gaining influence in the conservative movement.

The editors of the National Review yesterday half-heartedly the endorsed military action that President Barack Obama seems prepared to take in Syria, not because they agree with the White House, but rather that inaction hurts the United States in the eyes of our enemies. Yes, that is what passes for foreign policy in Washington.

This is the prevailing argument at the moment from conservatives who support intervention in Syria. Essentially, it’s a matter of pride. President Obama laid down his so-called “red line” on the use of chemical weapons. Syrian President Bashar Assad called President Obama’s bluff, and now conservatives worry that the United States will look weak to Iran, Russia, or any other perceived boogymen that are out there in the world.

But Ramesh Ponnuru, a columnist at the conservative magazine, offered a dissident take yesterday on Syria, noting that the arguments made by the editors of the National Review don’t make much sense.


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.