“America, Fuck Yeah! Coming again to save the motherfucking day, yeah!”
Faced with mounting criticism of his autocratic decision to attack Syria just because he feels like it, and without anyone’s approval, President Obama announced today he would wait until the US Congress returns (on September 9th) to debate and vote on a use-of-force authorization.
However, Obama’s framing of this kindly gesture on his part left no doubt that the transformation of Barack Obama into George W. Bush was complete.
Rejecting the notion that he was legally obliged to wait for anyone, including the UN inspectors who have examined, but may take weeks to assess, evidence from the alleged WMD-attack sites in Syria, Obama said he did not need Congress’s approval either, but he would give them their “voice”:
“I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that’s why I've made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.”The notion Obama expresses, that US "power" is rooted in military arms, instead of the military being entirely subservient to the civilian power of the electoral will of the citizens, denotes a disturbing equivocation regarding the authority of democratic government versus some power-sharing arrangement with a junta. The latter is the very undesirable system suffered by Egypt in the past year and half, and which as we know recently failed, as the military overthrew the democratically elected government of Egypt with a US-backed coup.
Another, very concerning implication of Obama's above comment is that he suggests any Congressional debate concerning his decision to go to war, is something Obama is allowing as a favor to the “people’s representatives”, on account of his personal belief that getting Congressional approval will look good, and not because he is legally required to seek it.
In fact, Obama plainly stated this is his view:
“I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization.”Obama said however he believed “our actions” in going to war will “be stronger” if Congress debates and then votes approval for his military strikes on Syria.
However, Obama at no point indicated that if the Congressional vote should go against military action, that he would allow that vote to influence him.
If Obama goes to war, in spite of a Congressional rejection of his authority to do so, a constitutional crisis might develop, with the Supreme Court needing to intervene to determine the legality of the President’s actions.
Specifically, a clarification of the scope of the War Powers Act, which sets limits on presidential authority to use military force without a formal declaration of war by Congress, may need to be made.
Obama in his remarks Saturday declared a policy of the United States enforcing “accountability” against any nation committing a “heinous act”, which he said included building nuclear arms or committing genocide. He said it was important that the United States attack Syria, so that it can make a credible and consistent argument when it needs to attack other nations, for example if and when the US goes to war against Iran for building nuclear weapons.
The President claimed American children should not be raised in a world where the US fails to go to war to defend “the values that define us”, which he said must mean defending the “international order” established in the world by the United States after WWII.
Essentially, Obama was declaring that yes, the United States of America is Team America: World Police.
Obama was also declaring himself a neocon.