Even Obama Agrees: There's No Imminent Threat From Syria

Whitehouse.govWhitehouse.govRand Paul’s amendment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Syria resolution calls attention to President Obama’s 2007 statement to the Boston Globe that “the President does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.” That’s especially notable given that Obama stated clearly today that no such immediate threat exists.

At a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, this morning, Obama talked about how he decided to ask Congress to authorize a military strike in Syria. “Some people had noted, and I think this is true, that had I been in the Senate in the midst of this period, I probably would have suggested to a Democratic or a Republican president that Congress should have the ability to weigh in an issue like this, that is not immediate, imminent, time-sensitive.”

A few moments later he said that, “We may not be directly, imminently threatened by what’s taking place in a Kosovo or a Syria or Rwanda in the short term, but our long-term national security will be impacted in a profound way, and our humanity is impacted in a profound way.”

That’s about as plain as it can get: There’s no imminent threat in Syria. What about an “actual” threat? Given that Syria is not to strike the U.S. unless the U.S. strikes first, one could reasonably argue that military action is more likely to create an actual threat than to prevent it.

But let’s look at what Obama said next. “I think it’s important for us to get out of the habit, in those circumstances—again, I’m not talking about circumstances where our national security is directly impacted, we’ve been attacked, et cetera, where the president has to act quickly, but in circumstances of the type that I described, it’s important for us to get out of the habit of just saying, well, we’ll let the president kind of stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as—as he can.”  

The important phrase here is “circumstances where our national security is directly impacted.” What Obama is saying is that Syria is not one of those circumstances. The notion that America's national security is not "directly impacted" rather strongly suggests that there’s no actual threat from Syria, as opposed to a potential or possible threat. 

What does that matter? Obama said the president cannot use force without congressional approval unless there’s a threat. And now Congress is weighing in.

The problem is that Obama, along with other members of his administration, still insists that the president does not need congressional approval to take military action in Syria.

"I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets," he said on Saturday. And despite his decision to go to Congress, he also stated his belief that he did not need their permission to use force, saying, "I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization." And at a congressional hearing yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry refused to say that a congressional no vote on the Syria resolution would be in any way binding.

So: Obama and his administration have indicated that they will not feel obligated to abide by congressional wishes should the authorization to use force in Syria not be approved. Indeed, the president has hinted that he may strike anyway, regardless of how Congress votes. 

Speaking about the upcoming vote today, Obama implied that that congressional approval is only important in giving him the go-ahead to take action. 

“I would not have taken this before Congress just as a symbolic gesture,” he said at this morning’s press conference. “I think it’s very important that Congress say that we mean what we say. And I think we will be stronger as a country in our response if the president and Congress does it together. As commander in chief, I always preserve the right and the responsibility to act on behalf of America’s national security. I do not believe that I was required to take this to Congress, but I did not take this to Congress just because it’s an empty exercise. I think it’s important to have Congress’ support on it.”

So President Obama thinks it’s important, which is to say that it's useful, to have congressional support to wage war in Syria. But he does not necessarily believe it’s important to abide by the legislature’s wishes should it oppose his stated desire to strike. A vote for war is valuable, in other words, because it suits Obama's purposes. And by the same token, a vote against war is not. 

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  • SugarFree||

    BURN ALL THE BABIES!

  • Almanian!||

    Burn, baby, burn

  • Aloysious||

    I'LL EAT YOUR BABIES!

    /bandits from Borderlands 2

  • ||

    NOBODY SHOOTS MY FRIENDS BUT ME

  • Nazdrakke||

    YOU GET A BULLET, AND YOU GET A BULLET, EVERYBODY GETS A BULLET.

  • SugarFree||

    I PLUCKED A HAIR FROM A DYING BABY!

  • Pro Libertate||

    This reminds me of The One-Bullet Manager: The Management Secrets of the Khmer Rouge..

  • ||

    BURY ME UPSIDE DOWN!

  • Killazontherun||

    WHY AM I BURNING?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    NOT THE BEES

  • exchef100||

    I SEE A LOT OF YOU NOT BLOWING SHIT UP, QUIT IT.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The fuck doesn't have the authority in this instance to act without congressional authorization. We're not being attacked or in imminent danger of being attacked. Not our country, not our possessions, not our troops.

    Congress needs to grow a pair, because if they let this slide, when, precisely, will a president ever need a declaration of war again?

    Good thing our freedoms are in the hands of such pussified and venal scum, huh?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    The last remnants of the old republic have been swept away.

    Fear, fear of this battle station will keep the local systems in line.

  • DH||

    Don't be so proud of this constitutional republic out forefathers constructed, the ability to make a great nation is insignificant when compared to the power of Obama's Farce. Oh and I find your lack of faith disturbing!!!

  • anewrepublic||

    We'll crush the rebel alliance with one swift stroke. Or rather, the storm troopers, who are kinda more in line with our goals....so....we.............um, Vader! Choke him out. Choke them ALL out..!!

  • John||

    He has none. The entire point of the inherent power as CnC argument is that the President has the authority to deal with imminent threats or act in self defense without going to Congress.

    In the past there has always been some kind of fig leaf for the President to use. Reagan claimed in Grenada that he was acting to protect the lives of Americans under imminent threat. He claimed that bombing Libya was in self defense for the Berlin night club bombings. Clinton claimed in Kosovo he was meeting his NATO obligations.

    This is the first time a President has tried to act and just said fuck you I can. I can go to war in your name as much as a want for any reason I want and there is nothing you can do about it.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's been bad enough in the past, but it's disturbing when a president fails to pay even lip service to the Constitution. Frankly, a country that gave a shit about limited government would be calling for him to resign right now. Just for asserting that he has such a power.

    Naturally, we'll do no such thing.

  • John||

    In the cases I mentioned above, the President just did it and asked for forgiveness later. That is not good. But it at least preserves a veneer of legality and allegience to the system. But never has a President gone to Congress and been told no only to ignore that. That would be something new and I think profoundly worse than anything that has happened in the past. That is going from "I don't have to ask to do somethings" to "Congress can't stop me even if they want to". Those are two totally different things.

    That is the semantic distinction the press is either too stupid or too dishonest to mention. Once Obama goes to Congress, acting is no longer saying I don't need permission. It is saying, you can't stop me. Big difference.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Wasn't Clinton told no and ignored it? Granted that he didn't ask for their permission...

  • Gray Ghost||

    And he got sued by Tom Campbell, who then lost in the D.C. Circuit. Naturally, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

    Ah, standing. Is there any legal problem it can't solve?

  • John||

    You are right. I forgot about that. Good catch. Sort of puts a little context on all of that "stop this illegal war" bullshit the Democrats put out under Bush.

  • Nazdrakke||

    They didn't flinch when he asserted the power to execute American citizens by executive fiat, why would they get bent out of shape about this?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yeah, I know. We're well and truly fucked.

  • ||

    I've actually noticed a lot of leftist dissension in the ranks recently, but unfortunately his supporters are raring to scream "racism!" to whip people into line and even the dissenters that are strongly displeased are almost 100% going to vote for the same fucking people anyways, so it doesn't matter.

  • Lord Humungus||

    _fill in the blank_ would be worse!

  • John||

    Lord Humungus calls it.

    After this train wreck the liberals will tell themselves they had to support Obama because the evil Republicans were worse. And of course they really wanted Hillary all along anyway. The fact that Hillary is actually worse than Obama in many ways won't matter.

  • alimarch||

    Partisan support for Obama is feeling the squeeze. How does the Syria question get resolved when the platform suggests itself to be anti-war but the stance of the administration is clearly not? How does one whose platform suggests itself humanitarian at its core promote a mediating response to inhumane treatment if its figurehead says aggressive action to counter that treatment is the only way to go? How does one promote a reason for aggression when you have not been assaulted? You are conflicted and search for the balance between intellectual honesty and political mores. You ponder how you can remain seated while scouring the room for an open door.

  • ||

    Well, if there's one lesson I've learned from the Soviet Union/Chávez/etc., it's that people are willing to not just overlook, but actively downplay/deny the imprisonment and murder of tens and tens of millions of people over decades as long as the people doing the murdering and imprisoning claim they have the right intentions.

  • ||

    They don't even have to have the right intentions. They just have to say they do. Remember, for TEAM BLUE, actions mean nothing, only words. Mouth the right words and they will support you forever. Because they're bonecrunchingly stupid.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You've made the mistake that a lot of people do: thinking of Congress as anything other than a Make-work welfare program in thrall to the Great Man from whose bountiful teat all prosperity flows in this land.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I just don't get why people keep electing some of the worst people in the country to wield power and to steal it from all of us. Even if you love the state, are these the overlords you want to kneel before? Really?

  • Hugh Akston||

    Because the worst people are the only ones who run for office. You can't scratch someone who wants power over other people with out finding a depraved sociopath.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Perhaps a liberty-based organization should randomly select a citizen and campaign on his/her behalf. For each party.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yeah we tried that during the last election, but the organization keeps "randomly selecting" Nathan Fillion.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Danged random name generator is stuck.

  • John||

    They seem to have gotten so much worse haven't they? As bad as the Johnson and Nixon crew were, they are the college of Athens compared to these clowns. Think about what an idiot McNamera was and then compare him to John Kerry or Chuck Hegal. If that doesn't make you weep for the country nothing will.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What bugs me--besides the abuse of power and the standard libertarian objections to all of this nonsense--is the amazing decline in competence. Not just in the president, but in most of the appointed officials. Without the slightest hint of exaggeration, I think I'd make a much better SoS than the idiot in the job now, or the preceding idiot. Even leaving aside my libertarian impulses.

  • John||

    That is why I always got so defensive and was willing to defend Palin. Yes, Palin is a middle age mom of above average intelligence and common sense but not a genius by any stretch. But that alone made her smarter than all of these clowns. Our overlords are complete morons. They are like the Spanish Habsbergs, inbreed, pious, dimwitted, and arrogant. There are millions of people out there who could do a better job than these clowns. How fucking dare they claim otherwise.

  • ||

    The most telling thing about the government, John, is that the country has managed to continue to operate and people have an overall pretty good standard of living, despite the government and the criminal goons who staff it. It tells you how utterly meaningless having a government is, and how much of a relentless parasite it is, and how much it hinders otherwise "normal" life and commerce.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Still Going Despite the Government" should be our country's fucking slogan. Maybe in Latin.

  • Ballz||

    Illstay Oinggay Espiteday ethay Overnmentgay

  • Mickey Rat||

    Google translate gives this:

    "Obstante adhuc ingressus imperium"

  • Jake W||

    Because that would be every country's slogan.

  • John||

    That is why this government is so dangerous Episiarch. Before they just blundered through on the backs of our society. But this government wants to change society and to mold it into the same sort of brain dead morons they are.

    Think about that. The people you correctly describe as ignorant criminal goons, want to change society to their image. Now that is terrifying.

  • Root Boy||

    But life is getting worse if you look at unemployment, debt, and other economic factors and I would lay them right at the feet of the policies government pursues. We're eating our seed corn now.

  • RG||

    Mencken was right about the inevitable result of democracy?

  • robc||

    Can anyone in politics today write as well as Thomas Jefferson?

  • John||

    Forget Jefferson Rob. Can anyone in politics write well period? Go on Youtube and there is a film there of the first speech ever given by a President in color on national TV. It is by Eisenhower in like 1959 I think. Listen to the speech. It is not Lincoln's second inaugural or anything. It is kind of a bland down to business speech you would expect from Eisenhower. But it sounds like poetry compared to the shit Obama or Bush spoke. It is about eight grade levels higher in its content. The contrast is just astounding.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Shoot, some of Peggy Noonan's stuff for Reagan shines compared to this guy. (Thanks for the 87 quotes link, BTW)

    Can you see Obama saying anything with the simple grace of, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

  • John||

    Or the Boys of Pont Du Hoc speech? Obama really is a national embarrassment and an embarrassment to the English language most of all.

  • Ballz||

    etlay emay ebay earclay

  • ||

    Who else do the morons who vote (including you) have to choose from? Government, by its very nature, attracts the worst sort of sociopath possible, and it just gets worse as time goes on and the sociopaths do everything possible to expand the power of their positions, thereby attracting even worse sociopaths to be their successors.

    It is the nature of government. If you have government, this is what you get.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's not a very useful comment unless you're prepared to give us a stateless utopia.

  • ||

    Wait...you can provide a completely broken system that always spirals into tyranny, but when I suggest something different, I have to provide a utopia? Fuck you, ProL. Seriously. This is the unbelievably obnoxious road that all anarchy-whiners go down: if your system isn't perfect, I call bullshit on it, even though my system is demonstrably terrible! What a great argument!

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's not my argument. My argument is that government of some sort is inevitable. We can fight against this kind of crap, or we can supinely accept it.

    It's not some big secret that government is dangerous and can't be allowed to gain power. The problem, of course, with government, a stateless society, religion, whatever, is the fact that humans are stupid and weak. How do you correct for that in any system? That's the real trick, and that's what the Founders tried to deal with.

    Show me an option for statelessness that prevents the growth and abuse of power, and I'll sign up.

  • ||

    Just by not legitimizing (through "legal" recognition) warlords and other power hungry figures, you reduce their power. That doesn't mean there won't be any; there will, of course. But when you provide "legal" channels for them to gain power, it's that much harder to get rid of them, because you have created the framework for them to resist being removed.

    Who is more likely to get overthrown: Obama, or a warlord who just took power and is now pissing off the people badly? Answer honestly, ProL. Because you know what the answer is.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Sure, I'm all for decentralizing power and minimizing government, but I don't think it's all that easy to take the poison out of the system. You can complain about legitimizing government power, but how do you prevent it? We're all going to spontaneously rise and snuff out the warlord?

    Unless people change a lot, I don't think they'll do that in an anarchic system anymore than they do now. Again, it's humanity that's the problem, and unless we change, most of us seem to crave the harsh hand of the warlord. Even here, with at least some cultural recognition of individual rights.

  • ||

    So you agree that there will be warlords, yet you still want to pretend that they aren't and you think that if you call them a "president" and give them legal protections, somehow that is better than calling them by and recognizing what they truly are?

    OK, ProL. Great plan. It's worked like a charm so far.

  • Cytotoxic||

    OK, ProL. Great plan. It's worked like a charm so far.

    Why yes we are better off than Somalia.

  • Mickey Rat||

    What are you offering that rises to the level of a plan?

  • Invisible Finger||

    My argument is that government of some sort is inevitable.

    Then there's no reason to be afraid of anarchy as it won't last that long.

    Consider it a reboot of government.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It is the nature of government. If you have government, this is what you get.

    This is a useless observation and it's so banal it's not even wrong. There is no alternative to government.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Even if anarchy would suck, it would be exactly what everyone deserves.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Whoever's in charge of the Episiarch Turing Machine needs to do some maintenance. It's locked into a comment aggregation cycle where it just copies points made by other commenters. Reset it to Adult Swim quote mode or something.

  • ||

    Calm down, Hitler. Do you think Ron Howard just wished Willow was great? No...and yet it was.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I bet they make Willow into a TV series. Everything else is being rebooted, after all.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Naturally, I agree that power attracts the corrupt and that any government will result in a constant tension between the power-grabbers and the rest of us. But it doesn't have to be this bad. It was a lot better here once, after all.

    The Founders were probably right to believe that we'd have to have a revolt now and then to preserve the limited government envisioned in the Constitution. We're far more sheep-like than they anticipated, I think.

  • SugarFree||

    The reset switch is in the usual place, someone just needs to cunt punt him.

  • ||

    BRING IT ON PANCREAS MAN

  • Pro Libertate||

    Warty, to the Rape Cave!

  • ||

    Do you mean my regular cave?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Oh, yeah, right. Sorry for the redundant repetition.

  • NoVAHockey||

    my theory is its "get the asshole out of town for 2 years".
    the biggest assholes get elected to senate and are exiled for 6 years at a minimum.

  • Loki||

    ...are these the overlords you want to kneel before?

    I'd rather kneel before Zod, personally.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Obama should just come up with something like the "yellowcake" story - some lie that skeers the shit out of average 'Merican.

  • fish||

    NEEDS MOAR CHRISTFAG SHREEKY

  • John||

    The retarded sock puppet is really mailing it in these days. Wow are they demoralized.

  • wwhorton||

    Obama should just come up with something like the "yellowcake" story - some lie that skeers the shit out of average 'Merican.

    Are you implying that His Imperial Majesty requires the approval of the peasants? Blasphemer! Racist!!

  • Killazontherun||

    The man is so incompetent, he couldn't sell a war to the American people.

  • John||

    I made that point yesterday. Even if you agree with him about Syria, Obama lacks the basic political skills necessary to be an effective President. It doesn't matter if he is right if he can't sell the country on it. That is his job as President. He is incompetent in a way that not even Bush II or Carter was.

  • Surly Chef||

    You know who else didn't put boots on the ground?

  • Almanian!||

    Santa Claus?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Technically, the boots don't actually touch the ground. As a matter of physics.

  • gaijin||

    Nancy Sinatra?

  • kinnath||

    gonna walk all over you

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Agnostic Front?

  • Jose Chung||

    You know who else made people wear pieces of flair?

  • gaijin||

    “I think it’s very important that Congress say that weI mean what weI say

    Fixed

  • Cliché Bandit||

    So, Obama is Leroy Jenkins and Congress is his guild?

    There is a racist joke about chicken in there somewhere.

  • gaijin||

    WoW. Just WoW ;)

  • Cliché Bandit||

    +1 Armor of Onyxia.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Alos,...I need your server and class. If on same then I will ask for toon name.

  • sarcasmic||

    But, but, but if Obama doesn't kill more people he's going to look like a big pussy!

  • John||

    We may not be directly, imminently threatened by what’s taking place in a Kosovo or a Syria or Rwanda in the short term, but our long-term national security will be impacted in a profound way, and our humanity is impacted in a profound way.

    Okay, fair enough. I would like an apology from every single Obama supporter who objected to the Iraq war and now supports this. If there doesn't have to be an imminent threat, Bush had the authority to invade Iraq without congressional approval and was certainly right in invading with it.

  • Killazontherun||

    They showed just how much they really gave a shit about the invasion when they nominated Kerry a little more than a year later. If Kerry didn't know he was authorizing an invasion at the time of the resolution, I knew it, and so did everyone else. What makes him so special? Oh, yeah, the short bus.

  • wwhorton||

    Yeah, if the Chosen One has decided that the standard for an imminent threat that demands immediate military action by the executive is "whenever I think something bad is happening somewhere, except not all the time" then I think they've got to give Bush a pass, too. I won't hold my breath on that.

  • ||

    it’s important for us to get out of the habit of just saying, well, we’ll let the president kind of stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as—as he can.

    For a man who got us involved in Libya in the manner that he did, I'd like to believe this statement means the Big O has seen the Constitutional Light. However, since he insists that he's got the authority to bomb Syria, I'm forced to conclude that he's simply a mendacious toad lobbing a feel-good quote out for his loyalists.

  • Jose Chung||

    It kinda makes you wonder if he processes any of the bullshit he reads off the teleprompter for consistency with earlier teleprompter statements.

  • PapayaSF||

    Liberals are wonderful at seeing "impacts" when they want to: that incandescent bulb is "impacting" the planetary climate. Other times, they don't: the links between welfare and single-motherhood and poverty and crime just don't exist, or are considered trivial.

    I grant that conservatives and libertarians can fall into the same confirmation bias trap.

  • Brandon||

    http://twitchy.com/2013/09/03/.....-to-obama/

    These are the best defenders Obama has left.

  • Killazontherun||

    De Niro has to tread extra lightly around the subject of Barack obama. He married a black woman. I know a guy in that situation. I told him during last years election cycle, you should respect her intelligence enough to be honest with her how much you hate the guy. Paraphrasing him, you don't understand, she has absolutely no intelligence on the subject of Barack Obama.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What a buffoon.

  • John||

    He really is. And remember, his supporters called Palin a moron. They really are all about projection.

  • tarran||

    LOL: Read what some nobody wrote on CNN about her:

    (CNN) -- "Let Allah sort it out."
    That is Sarah Palin's succinct argument against U.S. intervention into Syria. And I have to be honest: I'm impressed with Palin on this one. Not with her horribly callous recommendation, made via Facebook late last week, but because she appears to speak some Arabic.

    It only goes downhill from there.

  • John||

    I defy anyone to find any public pronouncement ever made by Palin that is as poorly worded and less clear than the quote from Obama that Pareto gives below. The guy cannot construct a clear thought or a single well written paragraph. But we are all supposed to pretend he is some kind of genius.

  • Irish||

  • ||

    "I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets,"

    So are we taking action against the Syrian regime or against targets of the Syrian regime? The teleprompter is confusing me.

  • fish||

    So are we taking action against the Syrian regime or against targets of the Syrian regime?

    Yes.

  • wwhorton||

    At this point, what difference does it make?

  • ||

    “I think it’s important for us to get out of the habit, in those circumstances—again, I’m not talking about circumstances where our national security is directly impacted, we’ve been attacked, et cetera, where the president has to act quickly, but in circumstances of the type that I described, it’s important for us to get out of the habit of just saying, well, we’ll let the president kind of stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as—as he can.”.

    The man speaks English like gibberish is his first language, like a precocious 2-year old.

  • John||

    And remember, he is reading off of a teleprompter. That means the half wits who write his speeches either write that poorly or his is so stupid he turns readable prose into nonsense.

    That paragraph makes Marcottee seem like a clear writer and thinker.

    Remember when MNG used to get on here and tell us how people would some day revere Obama's speeches the way we do Lincoln's? What a fucking maroon.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Maybe he has Chauncey Gardener on staff.

  • Irish||

  • fish||

    ....but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!

  • Irish||

  • Invisible Finger||

    I first read that as "twerking toward freedom."

  • Ballz||

    Scarpe sciolti, figa stretta e un posto caldo per un cazzo.

  • Ballz||

    sorry
    Allenta le scarpe. Pussy stretto. E un luogo caldo di merda.

  • AlexInCT||

    Mama mia, che bocca che ai!

  • ||

    You'd almost think that, strategically, this is the best reason for the GOP to vote NO here. Because when Obama does attack, there would really, for once, be a legitimate case for impeachment. And not some weasily case either.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I agree. While I'm sure the fanboys and the media would make excuses, this ain't just a case of sexual misconduct and perjury.

  • tarran||

    You must remember, congressmen are politicians. They are either sociopaths, or people who are too stupid to earn a living legitimately.

    The latter group way outnumbers the former group, and only the former group will see things as you do.

  • John||

    But doesn't that argue for voting No? The war is really unpopular with the public. Wouldn't a sociopath want to vote with the popular will?

    The danger here is that the GOP feels some sense of duty to support the President overseas no matter how fucking stupid he is. Indeed, that is exactly the reason why duty honor country types like McCain are all for this. Frankly, I am hoping that political cravenness will work in our favor for once.

  • tarran||

    I fear that the stupid people will vote yes because they won't recognize they are being bullshitted.

    I would love to be wrong, though.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Wouldn't a sociopath want to vote with the popular will?

    Wouldn't a sociopath, by definition, do what society does not want?

  • ||

    No one in Washington wants impeachment. The last time they did that--Clinton--was a complete clusterfuck. No one "won", and pretty much everybody lost. Why would they want to go through that again?

  • John||

    They won't. And every day that passes Obama will just get more and more embarrassing and keep discrediting all of them. It makes you almost want to believe Pro's theory about this being the ultimate Andy Kaufman goof.

    I fear for the future. But I do enjoy watching these fuckwits continue to have to act like Obama is anything but a complete moron and a disaster as President.

  • Cytotoxic||

    I don't enjoy it. I shouldn't even be discussing issues with people like that but they are making the world a worse place. They must be broken.

  • Pro Libertate||

    To be sure, this situation at least involves a constitutional issue. A pretty stark one, too. The Clinton case was at least arguably valid, but nowhere near as clear. I don't think there's a question of precedent deriving from it here.

    That said, would this Congress impeach? Do they have the political balls to do it? Do they really want to limit a president's war-making power? Probably none of the above.

  • ||

    The Clinton case was at least arguably valid, but nowhere near as clear.

    Even so, I think context is important. Impeaching a President for lying under oath to cover up a marital affair? It's just ... worthless. Impeaching a President to violates the War Powers Act and a direct vote of Congress? Isn't that what fucking Impeachment is for?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Big time.

    Personally, I think presidents should be removed from office if caught for the slightest abuse of power, dishonest act, etc. I mean, they should be held to a higher standard than people with lesser power, right?

  • Invisible Finger||

    This is why Mencken preferred monarchy to democracy. Society is justified in killing the monarch as death is the only legit way to force abdication of power, but probably not justified in killing its own choice(s) since there are peaceful ways to remove said persons from power.

  • ||

    What, you don't want to hear Hillary bring up vast right-wing conspiracies again?

  • tarran||

    Why would they want to go through that again?

    For the Lulz?

  • ||

    Why would they want to go through that again?

    For one thing, the sociopaths in D.C. will be so busy concentrating on fucking each other over that, for a brief time, they'll fuck the rest of us a little less. I don't think any of us are under the delusion that impeaching Obama won't result in President Biden bombing Syria.

  • ||

    Ah, but you are missing the point. The DC scum learned from the Clinton impeachment the very thing you describe: that if they are fighting amongst themselves, they're missing out on fucking with the peons, and there can be negative repercussions for themselves as well.

    This is why there hasn't been even a whisper of impeachment, not even from the likes of Rand Paul. Because there pretty much isn't going to be an impeachment again. Impeachments are very painful to DC. Why would they go through that?

  • ||

    Somehow I read "they" as "we." You're right. They wouldn't want to go through that.

  • Gray Ghost||

    The simple fact is that much of the GOP leadership doesn't have a problem with the Executive unilaterally deciding to bomb someone; they just have a problem with a Democrat president choosing to do it. Impeaching a president will just cut the throat of President Whoever's-Turn-It-Is in 2016.

    But yeah, Obama needed to have been impeached for stuff he's already done, nevermind bombing another country absent approval from Congress or a threat to U.S. forces.

  • Killazontherun||

    I wondered the same thing about Obamacare coming a mere decade and a half after the Hillarycare debacle. Politics will take an odd turn here and there.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    I would like to see congressmen and pundits who are interviewed on the news shows start describing a congressional vote against the proposed Syrian intervention as the first step in impeachment proceedings.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    Now he's saying he didn't set a 'red line.' Apparently the world did.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09......html?_r=0

  • ||

    That fits the O narrative - that he is the product of the yearnings of a benighted yet hopeful world aspiring for a chosen one to lead them to greater tomorrows. He didn't ask for this burden. He's taking it on for us.

  • Irish||

    Which is interesting, since the entire world doesn't want to go into Syria and 70% of American's population is against the war.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I know. I guess the UK, Germany, Australia and Canada have no credibility now.

    And France total street cred.

  • Irish||

    "In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed,"

    - Obama discussing a tornado that killed 12

    Obama has always had a difficult time with facts.

  • Brandon||

    Irony. From the same article:

    "How could we have been involved in a war that never should have been authorized, that has already cost us half a trillion dollars,"

  • Root Boy||

    I didn't build that red line, you did....sucka!

  • ||

    What can we do to Syria that would keep them from using chemical weapons short of cruise missles or whatever?

    I suggest an international trade embargo. Completely freeze all of Syria's assets and foreign accounts. Close the borders except for refugees. Shut down all air traffic in and out of the country.

    The best we can do is probably total isolation ala North Korea.

    Problem. The Iraqi's won't be happy with that since the pipelines from the KirKuk oil fields go through Syria.

  • John||

    You would have to get Iraq and Jordan to buy in.

  • Drake||

    At this point, I'm sure Assad would be glad to give assurances that he'll only murder people with projectiles and explosives.

  • fish||

    Hey Hazel....why do you hate the children?

  • Gray Ghost||

    Given that Syria has a coastline, another word for what you are proposing is "blockade." Of a country with Russia's only remaining foreign base and a trading partner with them. Won't this inevitably lead to Russian ships and U.S. ships pointing guns at each other, especially since Russia will veto any attempt to get U.N. approval?

    What do you do when the first Russian airliner tries to fly to Damascus? "Shutting down air traffic" implies that the air traffic will be stopped by force. Are we really going to shoot down a Russian aircraft?

    I mean, the U.S. has the military capability to do it. I'm just not sure it's a wise idea.

  • Killazontherun||

    I see no necessity in taking any aggressive action, economic or war, against Syria. How is an embargo on a people during a civil war a humanitarian gesture? I'm not convinced the regime was behind the chemicals. Fingers also point towards the Saudis, and though I'd like to see more than just one report on rebels talking about odd behavior and questionable materials from the Saudis, that they benefit the most from a chemical attack is the narrative that makes the most sense. Their intelligence service is among the most duplicitous in existence. Counter wise, if you are relying on the CIA for verification, you might as well just toss a hand full of sticks in the air and see how they land.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Which article in the Constitution empowers the federal government to safeguard my humanity?

  • NoVAHockey||

    interstate commerce

  • ||

    I'm going with "necessary and proper", just cause it works so well.

  • Loki||

    The Fuck You That's Why clause. That's the one written on the back in invisible ink.

  • James Anderson Merritt||

    The kind of intervention planned by Obama involves acts of war. Syria is not making war on us first. So Obama's plans, if executed, will put us "at war" with Syria, whether or not anyone here wants to use that word to describe the situation. The people who wrote the Constitution did not want the President to be able to take us to war (that is, to initiate a state of war) unilaterally. To implement their intention, they gave the powers to declare and fund any US wars to Congress alone. The President is a former constitutional law professor. He must understand all of this as well as anybody. But perhaps not. If not, his assertions that he can act independently of and without authorization from Congress in this matter are evidence that he is incompetent to faithfully execute the Office of President and to fulfill his oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. If he DOES understand it all, then his assertions mark him as merely a liar.

  • Tim||

    This attack was mustard gas? Sarin? We should be careful about which bunkers we blow up. Which one is holding the hybrid smallpox-plague bug.

  • John||

    Obama is just incompetent enough to do something like that.

  • ||

    So if we attack, what if Syria decides to formally declare war on the US? I mean, once we pick sides, what does Assad have to lose at that point? Might as well go down in flames and shoulder the US taxpayer with another few trillions in debt. He might just bring down the US that way.

  • Gray Ghost||

    It's an interesting hypo, but I don't think Assad will. He'll accept a few cruise missile strikes as the cost of doing business, regardless of whoever set off the chemical weapons.

    Now, if the U.S. threatens anything further, that might lead Assad to think he'll end up with a knife in his rectum, then look out. One of his biggest allies is Hezbollah and other Shiite groups, and they have a history of being able to project terrorists beyond the confines of the Eastern Mediterranean.

    The U.S. has acted for the last 30 years or so that bombs are things that happen to other people. Which leads to the surrealism of claiming that shooting missiles at people isn't war. What if the U.S. has finally found an enemy that is willing to try and strike here? Not that I think they'll be that effective, but can you imagine the (over)-reaction from the U.S. populace? If we got by with only having Airport TSA at every commercial building, I'd be happy.

    Not to mention that the only way the U.S. is going to be able to secure Syria's chemical weapons is to send some 19 year old with an M-4 into the bunkers to find out for sure.

  • ||

    He'll accept a few cruise missile strikes as the cost of doing business

    Probably, but I can still see this spinning out of control in a real hurry. If Assad declared, Iran might too and then immediately move on Iraq and then...well then fuck.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Probably, but I can still see this spinning out of control in a real hurry.

    I can too. Particularly if the Russians, still sore over Kosovo, decide to make a big deal out of this. IMHO, the key is whether Assad thinks that his existence is at stake if he doesn't lash back effectively at the U.S. If he thinks it is, then he'll need to find some way to make the U.S. refrain from attacking him, the same way we've managed to mostly ignore the seething pustule that is the Hermit Kingdom.

    What I think may happen is for some of those sophisticated weapons---MANPADS, ATGMs---that the CIA's been giving to a few rebel groups, to make it over here. After that, who can say which group used them? The AQ-affiliates in the rebel forces? Syrian secret police? Someone else entirely?

    As much as it's karmically horrible for a piece of walking filth like Bashar Assad to get over on his crimes, there was a lot of pragmatic value in the old practice of letting dictators like him leave into exile.

  • John||

    Assad knows his alternatives are win or end up like Kadafi. So he is not going to walk away. And yeah, the danger is that Putin sees Obama as a weak mark and acts in defense of Syria.

    Imagine if Putin got in a lucky shot and sunk an aircraft carrier or a US ship. What does dumb ass do then? Do we go to potentially nuclear war with Russia? Go home humiliated?

    I could see Putin thinking that he could do that and get away with it and establish Russia as the new boss in town. It is a risk, but the reward could be huge. This is why Obama being so weak makes things so dangerous.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Imagine if Putin got in a lucky shot and sunk an aircraft carrier or a US ship. What does dumb ass do then? Do we go to potentially nuclear war with Russia? Go home humiliated?

    They've given the Syrians decent enough stuff---on paper---that they conceivably could give the Navy a hard time, if the Navy thinks they can blithely stroll up to the shore, and has their head up their ass. Especially if we don't quite know all of the parameters of some of those weapon systems, or the Syrians get really creative about how they use them. Or if the Russians manage to do it in such a way that the Syrians could plausibly take the blame.

    Really, really, doubt it'll happen, but getting 2-3000 sailors snuffed (which is what'll happen if the, e.g, USS Vinson takes a P-800 or two and sinks) might be the thing that gets Congress to issues Articles of Impeachment.

    I do think the 2014 Winter Olympics are going to prevent Russia from getting too frisky though. They're not going to want anything to overshadow their "We're no longer quite the toxic shithole we were under Brezhnev," party. Which getting caught sinking an American ship or two might do.

  • John||

    If Obama goes to war over Congress' objection and took any significant casualties, let alone lost an aircraft carrier, I think the country would demand accountability.

    That is why Republicans are total fucking morons for even thinking of supporting this. If they support it, they will get blamed for anything bad that happens. If they say no, then it it all on Obama. It is not like anything good is going to come out of this anyone will want to get credit for. It is all downside at this point.

  • wwhorton||

    The U.S. has acted for the last 30 years or so that bombs are things that happen to other people. Which leads to the surrealism of claiming that shooting missiles at people isn't war. What if the U.S. has finally found an enemy that is willing to try and strike here?

    Excellent point. We're talking about launching cruise missiles at targets inside Syria as if that's an alternative to war. Terrorist hijacking two airliners and flying them into buildings sent us into a 10+ global war. What the fuck would this country do if Syria managed to get a long-range bomber within striking distance of the lower 48? Or, more realistically, what if they just sicced Hezbollah on us full-time? Can you imagine the armed camp this country would turn into? Picture Boston in every metropolitan area, 24/7.

  • wwhorton||

    That should read: 10+ year global war...

  • Gray Ghost||

    What the fuck would this country do if Syria managed to get a long-range bomber within striking distance of the lower 48?

    Astonishingly unlikely to happen. The U.S. spends trillions with a T on defense, if you add up all of the expenditures since NSC-48. Consequently, they're very, very good at conventional armed conflict. Contrast that with the vulnerability of an open society, even one as increasingly battened down as ours since 9/11.

    Or, more realistically, what if they just sicced Hezbollah on us full-time? Can you imagine the armed camp this country would turn into? Picture Boston in every metropolitan area, 24/7.

    This is what I worry about. Boston, but done by halfway-trained guerrillas, with military ordnance. Or Muhammad/Malvo, without the helpful hints. I really don't think they'd be that destructive. But the counter-reaction by the American public and their designated representatives would be truly Leviathan. The remnants of Constitutional civil liberties would evaporate. We'd learn what the term "state of emergency" really meant.

    The pisser is: it'd be wildly popular.

    That doesn't mean the U.S. needs to hide from everyone. It means that they should assess whether the gains from military action are worth the potential downsides. Because there may actually be some this time.

  • Rich||

    But let’s look at what Obama said next. “I think it’s important for us to get out of the habit, in those circumstances—again, I’m not talking about circumstances where our national security is directly impacted, we’ve been attacked, et cetera, where the president has to act quickly, but in circumstances of the type that I described, it’s important for us to get out of the habit of just saying, well, we’ll let the president kind of stretch the boundaries of his authority as far as—as he can.”

    I haven't read the comments yet. Has anyone translated this into non-gibberish?

  • John||

    He is saying that we need to stop letting the President do things that don't involve an obvious, imminent threat. He thought that right up until he was President.

  • Rich||

    I see that swillfredo pareto also noted this is gibberish. I have tried to rectify John's verbiage with the actual text, but I suppose more coffee is required. 8-(

  • Rich||

    OK. Perhaps we can get Pelosi's 5yo to diagram it, but to me O's "statement" boils down to "When the president is not required to act quickly, he should act within his proper authority".

  • alimarch||

    Is the photo in the article from his speech in Sweden or from a prior occasion? If a banner stating 'We Can't Wait' applies to his presentation to Sweden, I'm stunned someone thought that was an appropriate phrase. Whose 'we' supposed to be? Americans are overwhelmingly against military intervention in Syria as a 'first resort'. How about 'We Believe in Diplomacy'.

  • ||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Can't_Wait

    We Can't Wait is a policy initiative launched by the U.S. President Barack Obama's administration in October 2011 to institute policies by executive orders, administrative rulemaking, and recess appointments.[1] The initiative was developed in response to the United States Congress' unwillingness to pass economic legislation proposed by Obama, and conflicts in Congress during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis.

    In other words, a government of limited and divided powers just isn't progressive enough.

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