When Obama Wanted to Launch a Syria Strike, Most Republicans Said No
Chris Hayes called Sam Seder of the Majority Report ‘cynical’-or at least that is take was cynical-in suggesting this is wag the dog. But it seems much more likely that Trump had Wag the Dog conversion than a Road to Damascus conversion.
There is a tendency in the MSM to check thought at the door when the subject if launching some sort of military action. Like Brian William’s orgasm at the sight of cruise missiles last night.
good thing we don't have govt-controlled media in this country pic.twitter.com/fLkt9lQZa6
— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) April 7, 2017
Look-if we need a military response in Syria, that’s one thing. By can we not make poetry of it?
So right now the thought that domestic political considerations are leading Trump here is a thought that the media perishes. But it’s impossible not to examine the history and realize this is all about domestic political calculation.
As the history shows, Trump has always spoken against action against Assad. Indeed, he criticized the Iraq War and Libyan War and some Berner types decided he’s the ‘noninterventionist’ candidate.
“Only last Thursday, U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley was saying, “Our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out,” and Tillerson, borrowing language from Russian diplomats, was announcing, “the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”
“Months ago, Trump was insisting that the focus of U.S. policy should be defeating ISIS, rather than ousting Assad. “You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton,” he told Reuters in an interview. “You’re not fighting Syria any more, you’re fighting Syria, Russia and Iran, all right? Russia is a nuclear country, but a country where the nukes work as opposed to other countries that talk,” he said. That was October. What happens next? It would be foolish to predict what Trump will do—he may not even know himself. But it seems we can dispense with the campaign-trail narrative that he is some kind of dove. Trump is a war president now: So far, he’s bombed both sides of the conflict in Syria; used military force in Yemen, where he dramatically escalated the number of drone strikes and authorized a special operations raid that led to the death of a Navy SEAL; and quietly deployed additional troops in Iraq (and Syria). Trump has also declared Somalia a combat zone, a designation that gives the military more leeway to launch airstrikes without seeking explicit White House approval.”
So what changed over night? Politics is the best answer I can come up with.
It’s not just Trump. With all this talk about Obama’s failure to enforce his own ‘red line’ in Syria, it’s forgotten that the GOP Congress refused to vote to give him authority. Is that because legislatures love war so long as it’s the executive who takes the political hit?
Partly, but, maybe they didn’t give clearance just so they could later whack him as feckless. In other words refuse to allow him to take action in Syria so they could later lambast him for not taking action in Syria.
“Majority Of Republicans Said ‘No’ When Obama Wanted To Launch A Strike On Syria.”
“Donald Trump didn’t seek Congressional approval.”
“In a whip count from ThinkProgress, 183 Republicans were against bombing the country. Only 12 Republicans, including then-House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), sided with the president to launch a strike. Ultimately, Congress did not appear to approve the strike, with 243 Congressional members swaying towards voting “No.” Obama ultimately decided to postpone the vote.”
Again, part of this might be that legislators are fine with war so long as they aren’t on the record having supported them. It’s argued that Obama only went to Congress after seeing David Cameron get shot down by Parliament to join in Syria.
In any case, Trump must get Congressional approval for any further action.
“Congressional leaders in both parties largely signaled their support. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called Trump’s strikes “appropriate and just” and said he looks “forward to the administration further engaging Congress in this effort.”
“Top Democrats, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) also offered their support, but both made clear they believed any escalation would require the approval of Congress.”
“Tonight’s strike in Syria appears to be a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons,” Pelosi said, but added, “The crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes.” Durbin said “any further action will require close scrutiny by Congress, and any escalation beyond airstrikes or missile strikes will require engaging the American people in that decision.”
Even Ryan signaled that further action has to come through Congress.
“Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.” The New York Democrat added, though, that “it is incumbent on the Trump administration to come up with a strategy and consult with Congress before implementing it.”
“Meanwhile, libertarian-minded Republicans like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky blasted Trump’s decision to launch strikes without first getting approval by Congress.”
“The President needs congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution,” Paul said in a Tweet.
“They were joined by liberal Democrats, including Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Rep. Ted Lieu of California, who also argued the use of force requires congressional approval under the Constitution.”
“Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who was the lone member of Congress to vote against the 2001 war authorization against Al Qaeda, called the strikes an “act of war” and said Congress needs to come back into session and debate the matter. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) called Trump’s failure to seek congressional authorization “unlawful.”
However, the GOP war hawks approve:
“On the other side were Republican defense hawks, who offered full-throated praise for Trump’s decision — including Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, two of Trump’s fiercest GOP critics on other issues.”
“Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action,” McCain and Graham said in a joint statement. “For that, he deserves the support of the American people.”
“Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, another GOP defense hawk who has sometimes been critical of Trump, also issued a statement of support.”
“By acting decisively against the very facility from which Assad launched his murderous chemical weapons attack, President Trump has made it clear to Assad and those who empower him that the days of committing war crimes with impunity are over,” Rubio said.
Still, the clear consensus is-Trump needs Congressional authorization for anything more. He can hardly complain:
The President must get Congressional approval before attacking Syria-big mistake if he does not!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 30, 2013
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
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