Obama Asks Congress To Approve Military Strike on Syria

Decision likely puts off an authorization vote until the week of September 9

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Mike Theiler / REUTERS

President Barack Obama makes remarks on the situation in Syria, at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington August 31, 2013.

President Barack Obama announced Saturday that he is asking Congress to approve a military strike on Syria following a chemical weapons attack which killed more than 1,400 last week.

Amid mounting calls from lawmakers for a vote, Obama  made the case for American intervention, saying allowing the use of chemical weapons to go unpunished will endanger national security.

“This attack is an assault on human dignity,” Obama said. “It also presents a serious danger to our national security…It could lead to escalating use of chemical weapons, or proliferation to terrorist groups. In a world with many dangers, this menace must be confronted.”

“I have decided the United States should take action against Syrian military targets,” Obama said.

But Obama said he will wait to give the order until Congress formally approves a strike, saying it is the Pentagon’s assessment that there is no downside to waiting for Congress, which is scheduled to return from its summer recess on September 9. Obama spoke by phone with the leaders of both parties in the House and Senate Saturday morning, and relayed that they agreed to provide for debate and a vote on a measure authorizing the use of force.

“I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage. Today I’m asking Congress to send a message to the world that we are ready to move forward together as one nation,” Obama said.

Members of the House Republican leadership indicated in a joint statement that they would not be returning early from recess to consider a resolution authorizing military action. “Under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress,” they said in a statement. “We are glad the president is seeking authorization for any military action in Syria in response to serious, substantive questions being raised. In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th. This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”

The president said he is convinced by U.S. intelligence reports that the Assad government is responsible for the attack and is comfortable moving forward with an attack without the completion of a United Nations investigation or the approval of the U.N. Security Council. Asking for congressional approval affirms his 2007 campaign promise after violating it in Libya.

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat,” Obama told the Boston Globe in 2007.

Last year, Obama called the widespread use of chemical weapons by the Assad government a “red line” that would be a “game changer.” Obama has struggled to follow through on that threat as the Syrian civil war rages on and a war-weary American public expresses reservations about another conflict.

“We cannot raise our children in a world where we do follow through on the things we say,” Obama said in a plea to the American people. “We cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus.”

42 comments
AlanInBrooklyn
AlanInBrooklyn

Apparently Obama's decisions are being made under duress. According to a report this afternoon, President Obama was furious when he discovered Vladimir Putin had unfriended him on Facebook. Have to admit this administration is quite entertaining! http://goo.gl/V1bvme

SimonCollinge
SimonCollinge

Could you be referring to our new best friend?

poliphobic
poliphobic

Come on chaps, pull your fingers out - surely you're not going to drop out and leave your new oldest ally to go it alone?

romerjt
romerjt

Brilliant!   I can't wait to see the Rep in the House have to vote on something other than repealing Obamacare.  Hey Boehner tell your little boys to put on their big boy pants and stand with the Pres. or Assad. Do you see the weasel in thisfor Mr. Tan? 

 "In consultation with the president, we expect the House to consider a measure the week of September 9th.  This provides the president time to make his case to Congress and the American people.”  He's already made the case and showed YOU the evidence.  Shut up and vote!

SimonCollinge
SimonCollinge

Oh. And by the way we can't pay for any more military adventures because we are BROKE.

netstorms
netstorms

Obama has said that he believes that he has the authority to order a military strike with going through Congress but he would take that route because it would make the nation stronger. My intuition is that the President has no enthusiasm for military action but is being pushed by the likes of John Kerry and those shadowy figures who really pull the strings in the US. Obama knows that an attack would be immoral and extremely dangerous and he is stalling for time/passing the buck (somehow the image of Pilate asking the crowd whether Jesus or Barabbas should be freed comes to mind). Obama would not have been able to do this had not Cameron been defeated in the Commons. And Cameron was defeated because of public opposition and because MPs received an avalanche of objections from their constituents. The British public have played their part it is now up to the Americans to really put pressure on their representatives over the next few days.

eagle11772
eagle11772

I don't believe we should get involved in this at all.  This is a civil war, and the Syrians should handle it themselves without any outside interference.  And what will The Obamaniac do if Congress says "NO !" to him launching another military adventure in the Middle East ?

MrZerO
MrZerO

Now I understand what the '0' in Obama's Logo stands for. Zero action. The Mullahs in Iran and the thugs of Assad are making a mockery of the US right now. 

Thank you Mr. Indecisive in Chief!

AmusedByItAll
AmusedByItAll

It’s hard not to get the impression that President Obama was indulging his personal feelings about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, at the expense of the American public. This is exactly a situation that the authors of the Constitution had in mind when they specified that a President must get permission from congress for a declaration of war. While the military actions he is proposing don’t reach the level of a declaration of war, they could backfire or have significant unintended consequences that would, in fact, make those actions a precipitator of a state of war between the US and Syria. This is the very reason the President should consult a joint session of congress before acting on what has appeared to be more of awell-intentioned humanitarian impulse than a well-considered foreign policy.

Mladen
Mladen

The ayatollahs in Iran must be laughing their heads off   

SimonCollinge
SimonCollinge

So weak. Instead of acting like a President and just say no to an intervention in a civil war which will cause countless casualties on all sides. He passes the buck and tells Congress to deal with it. Good job.

GaryDrechsel
GaryDrechsel

How disgusting to mention children, as if we need to do this to be able to have integrity for our children. That ship sailed a long time ago, long before he became president.

BradMichaelTankersley
BradMichaelTankersley

AFTER MY 40+ YEAR  SUBSCRIPTION RUNS OUT IN NOVEMBER, I WILL NOT BE RENEWING IT. I AM TIRED OF YOUR WORTHLESS PROPAGANDA RAG FOR THE COMMUNISTS. ILL BE DEAD BUT WHEN THE NEXT REVOLUTION COMES, THEY WILL GET YOU. YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE. 

databaseben.usa
databaseben.usa

it might look an assault on human dignity.  but it is short term.  it is nothing when compared to the assault on human dignity that will occur if assad is replaced with a supreme leader and then opens a path from iran to attack israel.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

@romerjt   The bozos in the House:  No military funding without derfunding Obamacare!

Donplus
Donplus

@MrZerO You know you could have ran for the position the last time Mr 0 I mean MR Zero

Donplus
Donplus

@SimonCollinge It was the members off congress that were the talking heads asking for his intervention from the start so why cant they debate and lets all see where they stand? Who is the wimp now?

MrZerO
MrZerO

@databaseben.usa If it weren't for Iran, Assad could have been gone long time ago. If the US let this massacre pass by Israel might get hit next by Assad's thugs as his forces are fragmented and there is no central command.

SimonCollinge
SimonCollinge

@databaseben.usa It is time for Israel to put up and shut up without using the US as a big brother. They started this whole mess in 67.

eagle11772
eagle11772

@SimonCollinge @eagle11772 I agree.  Let the Syrians solve this themselves, or let the Arabs solve it.  Perhaps 1000 people were killed in this chemical attack, the media are saying now.  At LEAST 100,000 people have been killed in the civil war in Syria in the past 3 years.  Why wasn't The Obamaniac upset about THAT the past 3 years ? !