Monday, September 02, 2013

Glenn Greenwald on Obama, Congress and Syria

"It's a potent sign of how low the American political bar is set that gratitude is expressed because a US president says he will ask Congress to vote before he starts bombing another country that is not attacking or threatening the US. That the US will not become involved in foreign wars of choice without the consent of the American people through their representatives Congress is a central mandate of the US Constitution, not some enlightened, progressive innovation of the 21st century. George Bush, of course, sought Congressional approval for the war in Iraq (though he did so only once it was clear that Congress would grant it: I vividly remember watching then-Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joe Biden practically begging the Bush White House to "allow" Congress to vote on the attack while promising in advance that they would approve for it)."
Read the entire article here.
Comment: Just a day after President Obama went on television to tell us he will seek Congress' approval for strikes against Syria this is what his Secretary of State, John Kerry, said yesterday according to The Guardian (September 2):
The US has evidence that sarin nerve gas was used in chemical attacks outside Damascus last month and could go ahead with military strikes against Bashar al-Assad's regime even without the backing of Congress, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, has said.

A day after Barack Obama vowed to put any intervention in Syria to a vote of both the Senate and House of Representatives, Kerry said the administration was confident of winning a motion of the kind that David Cameron unexpectedly lost last week. "We don't contemplate that the Congress is going to vote no," Kerry said, but he stressed the president had the right to take action "no matter what Congress does".
I think the Obama administration - given what just happened to Cameron in the UK - is not confident that Congress will vote for war on Syria.

So, just in case the spin is being applied to tell all and sundry that the president can - as commander in chief of the armed forces - use force in Syria without calling it a war, of course.  There is ample evidence for this kind of maneuvering in American foreign policy.

Still, I am not sure that Obama wants to be seen as the president who ignored Congress if they vote no.  At the same time, given the Realpolitik nature of American foreign policy I hardly expect he wants to be seen as weak when he threatens war.

Obama is in a bind and his credibility - what is left of it - has been dealt a severe blow.

The no-war-on Syria ball is now in the court of Russia and China.  Both these world powers do not want military action against Syria because both understand it is merely a proxy war so to speak.

The real target in all of this is Iran and that includes Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Israel on the other hand knows nothing less than war as a foreign policy.  Leaders there want the US to do its dirty work and will be hoping that Congress makes things easy for Obama the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.

As it stands now, Syria is still in the crosshairs of Obama - the president who is bringing more fascism into American politics with each passing day.


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