What does the Constitution say about attacking Syria?

Establishment Republicans and Democrats have one thing in common - they love war.

It's good for their pocket books.  All those political donations from the  military industrial complex are redeemed whenever the President launches  airstrikes on a foriegn nation.

That's why moderate and centrist Democrats and Republicans are so keen on the idea of Trump attacking Syria.

With all of this going on, let's stop for a minute and take a look at how the Constitution feels about this mess.

Libertarian-Republican Congressman Rep Justin Amash writes: 

You’re going to hear and read the false, tired assertion that the War  Powers Resolution (or Act) allows the president to take offensive  military action without congressional approval for 60-90 days.     

Here’s why that’s not true...    

Read the War Powers Resolution: §1541(c) Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation...      

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into  situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a  declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a  national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its  territories or possessions, or its armed forces.    

Read (1),  (2), and (3) carefully. Is there any suggestion that the president can  take *offensive* military action without congressional approval? 

No. The only situation in which he may dispense with congressional approval is  to *defend* against a sudden attack on our country.   

Why then  do some people say the president always has 60-90 days before needing approval? 

It probably stems, in most cases, from a misreading of (or failure to read in part or entirety) the War Powers Resolution.    

The War Powers Resolution does provide a 60-90 day timeline, but  that’s to account for situations implicating §1541(c)(3), “a national  emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or  possessions, or its armed forces.”   

If there is an attack on  our country, we expect the president to respond swiftly. 

The War Powers Resolution therefore gives him 60-90 days. The Framers of the  Constitution agreed that the president should have the “power to repel  sudden attacks” without congressional approval.    

The War Powers Resolution does not confer any new authority on the president to  take offensive military action without congressional approval (nor could  it). It instead checks the president when he enters our Armed Forces  into hostilities for constitutionally permissible reasons.

The point is, if we're going to launch airstrikes on Syria for poisoning  their people, we need to let Congress vote on this move.  This is how our Founding Fathers wanted it.

GW Bush sent troops and bombs to Afghanistan within 3 weeks of the 9-11 attacks. Technically that response was constitutional and he acted within the framework of the War Powers Act. On the hand, Clinton committing troops to the Balkans may not have been constitutional. Neither was Reagan’s invasion of Grenada.

All of these incidents point out how difficult it is to resist the temptation to commit our military to foreign engagements. You take an organization like NATO, where the members agree that an attack on one is an attack on all. That’s a ratified treaty. If somebody attacks Britain, the President is allowed to act under the War Powers Act. However, it’s the more recent notion of “responsibility to protect” that cane about during Obama’s admin where we have to punish people for doing bad things to their people.

If we're going to launch airstrikes on Syria for poisoning people in  Damascus, will they launch airstrikes on our country for poisoning people in Flint, Michigan or Monroe, Louisiana?  

You can read the War Powers Resolution here:  https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/50/1541


All that said, let's talk about the hypocrisy of the Democrats for a moment, shall we? 

Say what you will about Trump attacking Syria, but the Democrats criticizing him are being super hypocritical.

Some (but not all) Democrats are calling Trump's attacks on Syria "unconstitutional".

And they aren't wrong...  but where were they when Obama did the same thing?!  

Here's a headline that the Washington Times published in 2015.  

The point is, everyone in Washington is a liar.  

Enjoy your Monday!


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