Rand Paul's Syria Amendment Declares POTUS In Violation of the Constitution if He Launches Attacks Without Congressional Permission

credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SAcredit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SASenator Rand Paul’s amendment to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee resolution throws President Obama’s own words back at him.

The amendment quotes from a response Obama gave the Boston Globe back in 2007 as a Senator, in which Obama said 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.”

Paul’s amendment then provides constitutional backing for Obama’s statement—and finally declares that “it is the sense of Congress that if this authorization fails to pass Congress, the President would be in violation of the Constitution if he were to use military force against the Government of Syria."

Read the entire text of the amendment below. 

Paul Syria Amendment

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  • Damned Fool||

    Beautiful. Also, never going to be passed by Dems.

  • Lord Humungus||

    Ramesh Ponnuru: “So we’re going to go to war to defend the credibility of a comment Obama won’t take responsibility for.”

  • Hyperion||

    I didn't build that red line! It was... the world! Everyone, except for me, it wasn't me!

    Our dear leader, he's such a funny guy, no?

  • Jerryskids||

    There's a reason politicians and used car salesman and televangelists are loathed and mocked and scorned - they're all shitweasels.

    But here's the thing: you routinely denounce these shitweasels for lying when they are not really lying, they're just speaking shitweasel and you don't understand the language.

    Let me help you out here.

  • Jerryskids||

    Obama really didn't want to get involved in Syria because it's a losing proposition all the way around for him so he said we were drawing a line at chemical weapons. Translation: Hey, Assad, we don't really give a shit what you do over there. Just don't use chemical weapons and we're good, okay?

    Assad went ahead and used chemical weapons anyway. Translation: Fuck you, asshole, you're already supplying weapons and stuff to the guys I'm fighting so don't give me that 'we don't really give a shit what you do over there' crap.

    So now Obama is saying that he drew a line in the sand and Assad crossed it so we need to use some force on him but it's not war. Translation: C'mon Assad, you're breaking my balls here. I'm dealing with a shitty economy, I've got this NSA thing I'm dealing with, my poll numbers are dropping, people are catching on to the fact that I'm not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer - cut me some fucking slack. Look, you and I both know I was just bluffing about the whole 'line in the sand' thing but when you call me out on it right in front of God and everybody, I kinda gotta do something or I really look like a pussy. So here's the deal - I'm gonna come over there and smack you upside the head - one time only and not very hard - and then I'm gonna walk away and leave you alone. Deal?

  • Jerryskids||

    Obama really didn't want to get involved in Syria because it's a losing proposition all the way around for him so he said we were drawing a line at chemical weapons. Translation: Hey, Assad, we don't really give a shit what you do over there. Just don't use chemical weapons and we're good, okay?

    Assad went ahead and used chemical weapons anyway. Translation: Fuck you, asshole, you're already supplying weapons and stuff to the guys I'm fighting so don't give me that 'we don't really give a shit what you do over there' crap.

    So now Obama is saying that he drew a line in the sand and Assad crossed it so we need to use some force on him but it's not war. Translation: C'mon Assad, you're breaking my balls here. I'm dealing with a shitty economy, I've got this NSA thing I'm dealing with, my poll numbers are dropping, people are catching on to the fact that I'm not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer - cut me some fucking slack. Look, you and I both know I was just bluffing about the whole 'line in the sand' thing but when you call me out on it right in front of God and everybody, I kinda gotta do something or I really look like a pussy. So here's the deal - I'm gonna come over there and smack you upside the head - one time only and not very hard - and then I'm gonna walk away and leave you alone. Deal?

  • Jerryskids||

    So the big question now is: what was the counter-offer from Assad that Obama accepted? I know from the fact that Obama has told Congress that getting approval from them is just a pro forma thing, that smacking Assad upside the head is already a done deal, that Assad has agreed to let Obama publicly smack him upside the head.

    My guess is that we're gonna see Obama come out and say that getting involved in Syria was a good idea back when it was just the good Syrians with good intentions rebelling against Assad but now that so many bad-intentioned outside terrorist groups have co-opted the rebellion, we need to step back and let the Syrians work out for themselves what is best for Syria. To further the goal of securing Syrians the right to self-determination, we will be supporting enhanced military capability to Syria's neighbors in order to keep this wholly internal struggle contained to the relevant parties.

  • Jerryskids||

    Translation: The deal with Assad is that Obama gets to smack him upside the head at high noon in the middle of Main Street, but we not only have to quit aiding the rebels but actually support Assad. Given that we can't actually send Assad the aid directly, we will send the aid to his buddies in the area and they'll make sure he gets it. (Yeah, there'll be a bit of a scandal in a few years when the shocking discovery is made that some of the military aid we sent to some of Syria's neighbors wound up in the hands of that evil bastard Assad - but, fuck it, Obama will be out of office by then and that'll be a turd in somebody else's punchbowl.)

  • Jerryskids||

    You may think I'm joking here - but I'm not. Think about it: who has the most to gain or lose from whatever happens in Syria? Keep in mind that Obama and Assad are both politicians and understand that - from a politician's point of view - the Almighty I is not just the most important thing that matters, it's the only thing that matters.

    Forget all the crap about what's best for the US or the Middle East or the world or humanity, this is all about what's best for Obama and Assad.

    Now, given that the only two people that matter are Obama and Assad, do you seriously believe those two aren't talking to each other and that their conversation is the only conversation that matters? Forget all the nonsense about whatever the diplomats and Congress and other countries are saying - that's all just background noise.

    You think you're watching a developing story of statecraft and politics and international relations? No, my friend. You're watching Wrestlemania 2013 and here's The Iron Sheik and Bobo Brazil jawboning at each other at center ring. Grab some popcorn, sit back and have a few laughs, enjoy the show. But please, for the love of God, don't act like you think this is all for real. It just makes you look like a retard.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    That would be nice if it were just them. As it stands, it's going to involve putting actual, real people into actual, real, mortal danger.

  • Jerryskids||

    Sorry for fucking up the posting - I'm conducting experiments to see exactly which combination of drugs and alcohol work best to make me stop caring so much about this shit.

    OTOH - If we all worked together to multi-post and partial-post and SF the links on a massive enough scale to totally fuck up the comments here, Nick and Matt might see the light wrt giving us a goddamn edit button.

  • Nazdrakke||

    Can you conceive how obnoxious PB would become if he also had the ability to retroactively edit his posts? SF'd links are a small price to pay to avoid that horror.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Hell, forget PB. Editing would be nice, but you know we would abuse the shit out of it.

  • ||

    I'm not buying that Obama doesn't want to get involved. He's a busybody, moral scold who knows what's best for all of us, and he relishes the opportunity to "affect real change" and "make a difference" by lobbing missiles into Syria. His only complaint about the whole process is that most people just aren't enlightened enough to appreciate his infinite wisdom.

  • Slammer||

    Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed

    Read the document above. Lie is right in the text, silly.

  • RickCaird||

    Outside of Bill Clinton's "I didn't have sex with that woman", I have never seen anyone who could look you in the eye and lie to you like Obama can. It is almost as if he doesn't know he is lying.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    It is almost as if he doesn't know he is lying.

    It's what sociopaths do.

  • kinnath||

    Bravo. Now he needs a role-call vote on the amendment.

  • Aloysious||

    Excuse me whilst I take a time out to laugh my ass off.

  • Irish||

    The amendment quotes from a response Obama gave The Boston Globe back in 2007 as a Senator, in which Obama said 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.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • Lord Humungus||

    Rangel is an odious man, but this comment sticks out:

    Throughout the debate, Rangel echoed comments he made earlier in the week criticizing President Obama’s red line, saying that just because the president made the threat doesn’t mean the U.S. should automatically engage. He also dismissed claims that intervention would not be “a war”: “There’s no such thing has a half-war. . . . War is war.”

    http://www.nationalreview.com/.....ew-johnson

  • Mainer2||

    Dear Mr. President:

    When you've lost Charlie Rangel, you're in trouble.

  • UnCivilServant||

    That's a bit of an understatement, as that corrupt wretch sticks out as being more of a corrupt wretch than is typical among NY Pols.

  • Hyperion||

    It's not over. Rangel is just upset that a big sack of dollars hasn't arrived at his doorstep yet. When it arrives, he'll do a 180.

  • Mainer2||

    Rangel was in the military and was awarded the purple heart and bronze star. Obama used to do "interceptions" to take extra tokes while getting high with his high school buddies, and never got his ass kicked for that shit. Just wondering if their respective life experiences might color their views on war.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Obama used to do "interceptions" to take extra tokes while getting high with his high school buddies, and never got his ass kicked for that shit.

    No one I have ever smoked with would ever have tolerated that kind of shit without a serious cussing.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Hmmmm, so add Rangel to the list. When Sarah Palin, Charlie Rangel, and Nancy Pelosi's five year old grandson start shredding your feeble arguments for war, it's time to call it a day.

  • Hyperion||

    Apparently, Kerry has some more splainin to do with this dude.

  • ||

    “There’s no such thing has a half-war. . . . War is war.”

    "But there is a war and then there is classical war.

    We won't be using Greek phalanx on this war so we don't need Congressional approval."

    -John Kerry

  • Libertymike||

    How will shriek and Tony spin Democrat opposition to Rand Paul's amendment?

  • tarran||

  • Irish||

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Don't forget evolving circumstances.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They're laying low right now, awaiting further orders from the hive-mind.

  • Hyperion||

    That amendment is clearly racist.

    That was too easy.

  • UnCivilServant||

    elaborate, my extrapolating processors can't figure that one out.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Rand Amendment to Constrain Individuals with dark Skin Tone.

    There, happy?

  • Hyperion||

    Thanks.

    I was just going to say:

    /what Tony would say

  • UnCivilServant||

    Thanks, both of you, my brain needs a bit of a reboot.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Since the Miley Cyrus meme is played out (Please say it is? Pretty pretty please?), my liberal Facebook friends will have to find some other distraction. Either that, or they can poison the well by badmouthing Rand Paul.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The Miley Cyrus kerfuffle is the first time I bona-fide did not understand the "kids" these days. Why in the world does anyone care?

  • Zeb||

    Who the fuck knows. I didn't understand the kids when I was one of them.

  • ||

    Does shriek support this war?

    I am not so sure he does.

    Tony probably does. He was all gung ho for Libya.

  • Jordan||

    He claims not to while rabidly defending it. His usual MO with respect to Obusha's idiocy.

  • Mainer2||

    Tea party extremism.
    Isolationism.
    9/11 changed everthing.
    Not a suicide pact.
    Petulant.
    Booooosh.
    Racist.

    I think that about covers it.

  • Aloysious||

    Laughed. Thanks a lot.

  • creech||

    No, you forgot "Kooooch Brothers."

  • Mainer2||

    Obstructionist
    Kochtopus
    Kooky libertarian
    Adult conversation

    actually, an exhaustive list would be exhausting

  • ||

    I'm really starting to like this guy. That's just ticklishly amusing.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Bitch is served.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Crazy obstructionist ratfucker.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Speaking of, Dave Weigel apparently having learned absolutely nothing while here at reason, called Rand Paul and Justin Amash "neo-isolationists".

  • Irish||

    “Isolationist: n. Someone who, on occasion, opposes bombing foreigners.” - Tim Carney

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's literally black-and-white that Rand Paul is not an "isolationist". Kim Jong-Un is what an isolationist looks like, not someone who loves free trade.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, there's a lot more to isolationism than being opposed to optional foreign adventuring.

  • ||

    You have it exactly backwards. You see, Weigel was here to enlighten US.

  • ||

    He learned that you can con cosmotarians out of their money with ease.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    A seat in the Worlds Greatest Deliberative Body: A license to Troll.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I wonder about the legality of an amendment which, even if passed by both houses, retains any enforceablility if vetoed by the Prez.

    I realize it's a symbolic amendment and I really like it, but there's something wonderfully bizarre about an amendment which is only valid if the bill is vetoed, and useless if signed.

  • ||

    The validity is irrelevant. This amendment actually calls out Congress more than Obama.

    It's pure genius.

  • Drake||

    The deliciousness of Obama vetoing his own speech would be worth it.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Great point.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    The veto would be different than outright ignoring it. A veto has the chance to pass again and if it does would bind the pres. Ignoring it without veto or after overturn of veto would be a clearly impeachable offense...not that that would happen.

  • Matrix||

    What part of "my military" don't you understand?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Using the legal process to argue a cause in the media--especially for lost causes--is a favorite tactic of environmentalist groups, unions, animal rights groups, and various other activists on the left, and it's highly effective.

    ...and it's about time libertarians started using the same tactics. Now let's do something like sue Obama for false advertising on the Syrian War, maybe? Will they make fun of us in the media for it? Yeah! Will the suit ever be heard in court? Of course not!

    But who cares so long as it 1) gets covered in the media and 2) gets people thinking about whether Obama's justifications for war are all bullshit.

    Rand Paul's basically doing the same thing, here. He's a warrior-poet of the forlorn hope on this one, but as long as he's getting the message out, who cares?

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Nice try, Rand, but the days of binding the president The Executive if he doesn't want to be bound passed by some time ago.

    Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if President Never My Fault claimed his own posturing was an imminent threat and his authority as Commander in Chief allowed him alone to determine how to resolve that threat.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    He's doing a really good job convincing me I should donate to a politician's election fund.

  • Atanarjuat||

    I'm probably going to take the full $2,300 out extra from my student loans for his 2016 run.

  • ||

    Is there some Gödel incompleteness problem here?

    I mean, if the amendment gets in, but the bill does not pass, then the amendment does not become law and the restriction on the president imposed by the amendment does not apply.

    We might find if they accept the amendment and pass the bill that all Congressional legislation will disappear into a legal singularity. Great reason to pass it!

  • ||

    We might find if they accept the amendment and do not pass the bill that all Congressional legislation will disappear into a legal singularity. Great reason not to pass it!

  • Phos||

    Needs an action clause.

    1. An act of war will be defined as action by the United States military or employees that results in:
    a) more than 10 casualties AND/OR
    b) more than 1 million US dollars in damage

    2. An unuathorized act of war (UAW) is one that does not have a declaration of war passed by Congress stating the target, timeframe, projected cost, and concrete objectives to be completed.

    3. Within 7 days of an UAW, the House must vote either to impeach all officials involved, or declare war. The Senate has 7 more days to either convict on the impeachment or declare war.

    4. After 14 days and then until war is declared or the offending officials convicted and removed from office, the federal government will be prohibited from passing legislation, or enacting regulations, from collecting taxes, or borrowing money.

    5. No military officer will be penalized in any way whatsoever for refusing to participate in an UAW.

    6. If Congress cannot convict or declare war after 30 days they shall all be declared incompetent, removed from office, and bared from any office, position, or contracts with federal or state govenment for life. Any person in violation of this may be sued civilly by any citizen for 1 million dollars per day.

  • LifeStrategies||

    Another hero: Ron Paul actually wanting to obey the Constitution, the highest law of the land!

    Yet Obama, who says it's okay to ignore if not destroy the Constitution, was supposedly a constitutional law professor. It makes you wonder if he really was...

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