military force

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.”

Lindsey Graham pushes for another war in the Middle East

Lindsey Graham

The United States just averted what would have been an unnecessary war against Syria, largely due to public opposition. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is already beating the drum again, this time calling for war against Iran.

“I believe the Iranians are trying to develop a nuclear weapon, not build a nuclear power plant,” Graham, who supported military strikes against Syria, told Mike Huckabee last weekend on Fox News.

“Look, how we’ve handled the chemical weapons threat in Syria. If we duplicate that with the Iranians, they’re going to march toward a nuclear weapon and dare Israel to attack them,” said Graham. “So in the next six months, our friends in Israel are going to have to take the Iranians on unless the United States can send a clear signal to Iran unlike we’ve sent to Syria.

Graham, who is facing three Republican primary challengers in his bid for re-election next year, said that he plans to put together a bipartisan coalition that will support the use of force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

“I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use of force resolution, allowing our country to use military force as a last resort to stop the Iranian nuclear program to make sure they get a clear signal that all this debacle called Syria doesn’t mean we’re confused about Iran,” explained Graham. “We may be confused as a nation on what to do with the chemical weapons in Syria, but we’re not confused as a nation as to what to do with the nuclear program in Iran.”

#StandWithRand: Kentucky Senator may filibuster military strikes against Syria

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is floating the possibility of a filibuster against the resolution that the White House is working hard to push through Congress that would authorize the use of military force against Syria:

“I can’t imagine that we won’t require 60 votes on this,” Paul told reporters on an afternoon conference call. “Whether there’s an actual standing filibuster — I’ve got to check my shoes and check my ability to hold my water. And we will see. I haven’t made a decision on that.”
When it comes to Syria, Paul said he believes the best hope for defeating a resolution to authorize military action will come in the House. He reiterated his view that an attack on Syria would create more turbulence and danger in the region, and may not even disable the Syrian government’s ability to launch chemical attacks.

Back in March, Paul led a 13-hour talking filibuster of CIA nominee John Brennan, during which he and other senators — including Ted Cruz and Mike Lee — offered a substantive critique of the Obama Administration drones policy. The filibuster propelled Paul to the national stage, making him a formidable figure in the Republican Party and a rare conservative voice for civil liberties. He was able to change the narrative of the debate on drones and sway public opinion in a single stand.

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.

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