A week ago, President Obama told us that he did not need Congressional approval to bomb Syria. Then after seeing the International Coalition dissolve, he proclaimed he would get backing from Congress. Now Sen Kerry states (Interview from the HUFF Post):
“Constitutionally, every president, Republican and Democrat alike, has always reserved to the presidency, to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the right to make a decision with respect to American security,” Kerry said during an interview in his State Department reception room on Thursday.
“Bill Clinton went to Kosovo over the objections of many people and saved lives and managed to make peace because he did something that was critical at the time. Many presidents have done that. Reagan did it. Bush did it. A lot of presidents have made a decision that they have to protect the nation.”
So do they need Congress? I don’t know. Apparently they want a scapegoat if it goes south.. Otherwise , (tic) well, you better vote for it Congress, or the President might do it anyway..
Are we going so that we can save the people and provide peace like Kerry states in his interview or are we going to uphold the “international laws” against chemical weapons that Syria has never signed? Oh yeah, and without UN backing or any sort of NATO or Coalition force. Somehow we will also do it with limited strikes that will “punish” Assad but somehow not destabilize the security of the weapons. (or destroy them for that matter) Never mind our tired military since 9/11, limited stockpile of tomahawk missiles (well over a $1 million a piece), sequestration, and a Congress that never passes a military fiscal budget before a fiscal year starts.
Even larger in the debate, doesn’t military action without international sanctions violate “international law” ?
Do we need to declare “war” with Congress? Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post asked in her editorial this morning:
What would we call it if another country fired missiles our way? ….
I know what the Syrians will think of it.
Will this “non-war” punishment make a difference to Assad? I doubt it. Would it have made a difference to Qaddafi? Oh yeah, it didn’t matter there either. He would fight to the death like Saddam. Will this change the momentum on the battlefield? Perhaps 3 days of strikes could. But who will take charge? Who has the best weapons and is the most brutal? I let you answer that.
Worried about the weapons falling into the wrong hands or AQ elements taking charge of the weakened state of the Syrian government.. ? (From the Huff post interview)
But if we “degrade” the structure for controlling those weapons, how do we keep them from getting into the wrong hands without some kind of on-the-ground involvement?
Let me give you the reverse question. If we don’t send this message to Assad that this should not be used, and if we don’t strengthen the opposition over a period of time through the support that the world is giving to them, and the United States backs off of sending this message, there is a much greater likelihood that those weapons will fall into the hands of the bad guys and a much greater likelihood that you will have a lot more of them, because those are the people who are going to get the support to remove Assad.
But the specific question is, if you degrade the delivery systems, how do you keep those materials from getting into the wrong hands?
By being very thoughtful in your selection of what you do, so that you do not undo his ability to be able to maintain and guard the actual stockpiles. Stockpiles are spread out in various parts of the country. And we know where they are. And the United States is obviously going to be very careful not to do something that makes matters worse.
So to summarize his answers, Sen Kerry believes the chemical weapons are more likely to fall in to the wrong hands if we don’t strike. Don’t worry, he’s not going to strike anything that affects the chemical weapons or their security. As he says, he’s talked this all through. Really? Thats our assurance? You’ve talked it through? Sorry, I’ve seen post strike Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and you think it will be alright? Did those work out as planned? Uh, no.
In the end I feel like I’m on a roller coaster from the White House. A year ago chemical weapons are a red line. A year later 100k Syrians are dead with perhaps a million refugees and we don’t say anything until Syria’s second chemical attack.
“We must attack within 48 hours”
“We can’t wait on the UN inspectors report”
“We have a large Coalition with us”
“I don’t need Congress to authorize this immediate threat”
“I will seek Congress’ authorization” (for this immediate threat but not until next week, oops 2+ weeks)
“But I don’t need their authorization”
“We will punish them militarily” (but not destroy the weapons themselves)
(To get some Republicans onboard) “We will change the momentum of the battlefield”
“If they hand over their chemical weapons we won’t attack”
Don’t worry about Syria’s response, AQ, rebuilding Syria or affiliated extremists.. “We’ve talked this all through”
My question is, what is next in the plan?
- Assad warns of retaliation for U.S. strike on Syria (arkansasonline.com)
- Riskier not to strike Syria, US says (bbc.co.uk)
- Report Claims Syrian Troops Used Chemical Weapons Without Assad’s Approval (world.time.com)
- Strike On Syria: Meaningless Gesture Or Necessary Response? (wnyc.org)
- Secretary of State John Kerry and Syrian President Assad issue dueling warnings over chemical weapons (boston.com)