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Dems aim to end presidential dithering on Iraq and Syria

Does President Obama intentionally evade decision making, hiding behind the fog of government? He is a constitutional law professor, for crying out loud. If he intends to delay decisions about striking Syria and Iraq, even Democrats in Congress want to remove excuses.

President Obama dithered on Syria and it resulted in lost opportunity
JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / Getty Images.

There probably has never been a time not to act against terrorists. Defining the difference between freedom fighters, insurgents, and terrorists is a nontrivial task that guides policy and strategy in specific instances.

In the instance of Syria, it began with citizens seeking to replace the Bashar al-Assad autocratic and non pluralistic government. His government is led by a minority sect that sought to dominate the majority. For the purpose of general analysis, it doesn’t really matter which sects are in or out as much as that there is unfair and undemocratic treatment in the political system.

However, specifically, the Syrian civil war emerged to be one pitting Islamic sects against one another, and add to that people of other faiths and beliefs. The Sunni Islamic majority became the dominant actors. Extremists, initially led by remnants from al Qaeda morphed into the Islamic State.

American foreign policy and intelligence so lagged the situation that the opportunity was missed by the Obama administration to gain traction with moderate rebel fighters. That mistake is unforgivable because it permitted the problem to spin out of control and to spread into Iraq and beyond.

At this late stage in the maturity of the American government, there should be no question about presidential and congressional roles and responsibilities in executing a war and carrying out the responsibility to protect and defend the United States against all enemies. If it takes another bill to confirm that, just get on with it.

Exposing America’s hesitation and excessive deliberation are tantamount to undermining national security. This is not a time for more “fits and starts”.

From previous writing:

Observe that subtask 3.5 is a request to Congress for war. The President does not declare war as that is a congressional responsibility.

“A declaration of war is a formal declaration issued by a national government indicating that a state of war exists between that nation and another. For the United States, Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution says "Congress shall have power to ... declare War". However, that passage provides no specific format for what form legislation must have in order to be considered a "Declaration of War" nor does the Constitution itself use this term. Many have postulated "Declaration(s) of War" must contain that phrase as or within the title. Others oppose that reasoning. In the courts, the United States First Circuit Court of Appeals in Doe vs. Bush said: "The text of the October Resolution itself spells out justifications for a war and frames itself as an 'authorization' of such a war." in effect saying a formal Congressional "Declaration of War" was not required by the Constitution.” Presidents often get into trouble when the line is not clear between formal war and skirmishes of different kinds.

This job model is derived from the “Expressed Powers” as defined in the U. S. Constitution:

The Constitution: Expressed Powers

“The Constitution is the document that forms the foundation of our government. It highlights the power that is taken from the citizens and given to the President. This is expressed power. According to Article II, Section 2, the President shall:

  • be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed services
  • have the power to grant reprieves and pardons
  • have the power to make treaties (with concurrence of the Senate)
  • appoint Ambassadors, Supreme Court judges, and all other Officers of the United States
  • appoint vacancies that may occur during the recess of the Senate
  • receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers
  • care that the laws be faithfully executed
  • recommend to Congress measures for their consideration (propose a bill)
  • approve or veto every Congressional bill (vetoes may be over-ridden)”

“Dem bill would authorize US strikes in Syria

By Kristina Wong - 09/02/14 05:28 PM EDT

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said Tuesday he is filing legislation that would give President Obama clear authority to order airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

The move came after ISIS released a new video showing the purported beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Joel Sotloff, on Tuesday.

“This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson, a senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.”

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