Tonight President Obama will let us in on what he’s going to do about Isis in Syria. Yesterday he briefed Congressional leaders . Now it’s our turn.
For the record there has been little if any debate in Congress about the possibility of deeper military involvement in Syria or its environs. Congress, after all, has been away—-on vacation.
Having returned on Monday, Congress is not expected to do much of anything except display its usual partisan bickering and ,from the right side of the aisle, do and say whatever it takes to oppose the president.
Most of the nation of course is thoroughly war-weary. Yet despite polls that indicate this and an overwhelming opposition to further military commitments, the drums of war seem to be beating louder and louder.
Most of us remember that somewhere in the Constitution, the Founding Fathers gave the power to declare war to Congress. But that power has been honored more in the breach than the observance. The last time Congress formally did declare war was—correct me if I’m wrong— World War II. All military engagements since have been authorized either by UN or by Congressional resolutions.
The War Powers Resolution (a.k.a. War Powers Act ) of 1973 in the wake of the Vietnam War was intended to get Congress more involved in initiating war, but has done little to limit executive military actions. Witness the Iraq War. The late Robert Byrd at the time bewailed, on the floor of the Senate, the ominous absence of debate.
So now we await the president’s speech and what will be his military course of action. Already he has asserted he can act alone, without Congressional approval. Which in itself should make all of us a little uneasy.
We’ve heard it all before. The imminent threat to national security. The barbaric enemy. A coalition of the willing. The limited duration of the action.
And no boots on the ground.
We heard it before. And we’re hearing it again.
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