Does Somebody Need to Draw a Red Line for Our President?

As all the political jockeying, posturing, and bouts of occasional actual diplomacy (trying to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons) continues on this week, make no mistake: President Barack Obama believes he can launch a strike on Syria without the approval of Congress, or even against Congress’ wishes. Buzzfeed notes White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s comments today:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated remarks from the White House counsel Monday that President Obama has the authority to order a military strike on Syria even if Congress votes against authorization.

“The president believes that congressional authorization enhances the argument. That it’s important in this case because of the facts given in the assessment by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs that we can attack militarily in a day or a week or a month as the president said and have the desired impact that we seek,” Carney said. “And therefore given that, he thought it was very important to get congressional approval, but he’s also made clear he believes he has the authority as commander-in-chief and president to take action, but we are better and stronger if in these circumstances we receive authorization from Congress.”

White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler had told The New York Times Sunday that president striking Syria without congressional approval would be legal.

Given how little actual stake the United States has in Syria and how little a threat the country’s civil war presents to the United States, it’s worth asking the question (again, repeatedly): If Congress does not have the authority to forbid this military action, does anybody? And if this action cannot be stopped, is this not setting a very serious precedent that the president can unilaterally strike any country, anywhere, for pretty much any reason? What is our president’s red line?

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  • Hyperion||

    Setting red lines for the first black president is racist, very, very racist.

  • Almanian!||

    So, he's a self hater. Whoda thunk it?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The president believes that congressional authorization enhances the argument.

    The corollary to that is congressional rejection degrades his argument. He now recognizes he should have kept Congress out of it altogether and just asked for forgiveness after the fact.

  • ||

    Given how little actual stake the United States has in Syria and how little a threat the country’s civil war presents to the United States...

  • ||

    Whadya mean there's nothing at stake for the United States? Our gallant president's manhood is on the line here! After doing the macho dance in 2012 because he killed bin Laden (and saved Detroit) do you think he can just stand by and let Assad put a clown suit on him?

  • Almanian!||

    I think our President® can handle putting on the clown suit himself that he made with his very own hands.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Setting a Red Line for Emperor /Ayatollah Obozo… Now THAT is a tough one! Unless you are God Almighty combined with Government Almighty, all I can say is, Good Fuckin’ Luck!!! Ain’t a-gonna-happen, not in our lifetimes, nor in the life-time of the local Galactic Cluster, it just cannot BE… Reconcile yourselves with what is possible, and what is utterly im-possumible… Anti-gravity pods or time-travel machines, maybe. An humble Emperor Obozo, NEVER!!!! LIVE with it, Dudes and Dudetess!!! And Dudesses too, I might add….

  • Hyperion||

    So, I hear that Reid just delayed the Senate vote.

    You see, this is working out just as they planned. The longer they can drag this out and keep the peoples attention focused on stopping this madness, the longer it is before they have to start dealing with pesky issues like the NSA and IRS scandals, again.

    Working as planned.

  • ||

    It just takes one House to sabotage this though, right?

    So if Boehner holds the vote and the House says no wouldn't that be the end of it?

  • Hyperion||

    No, because the Senate is going to vote, sooner or later, one of these days. But first we need to talk about it some more, for a really long time...

  • Hyperion||

    Also, if I have this correct, the orange one delayed the vote in the house. So now, they can just say we aren't going to take this up if the Senate doesn't vote. Then the Senate can keep delaying, and this thing goes on and on and on. Whereas if the house voted and killed it, then it's over. Boehner knows he doesn't have the votes in the house. But that's besides the point.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It would be the end of the whole endless tedious debate about whether or not to do it, at least.

    Obama would keep on thrusting and grinding impotently even though the American people would just be lying there wondering what their ex was up to.

  • Almanian!||

    the NSA and IRS scandals

    You mean those *phony* scandals cooked up by the Rethugs? Nice try, Hyperion. No one's buying it but you Teahadists.

  • Agammamon||

    Of course the military *could* (and indeed, has the *duty* to) refuse obey an illegal order from the president.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, a buddy from my brother's unit (who was, interestingly enough, just promoted to Colonel) keeps reminding me he's sworn to defend the US against all enemies, "foreign AND domestic."

    I'm sure we'll see the military just not executing the illegal orders...

  • Almanian!||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Ohhhh, I almost got through that with a straight face. Good times...

  • Sevo||

    "Now, the president may be right in how he reads the Constitution. But he may also be wrong. And if he is wrong, who is to tell him so?
    And if there is no one, then the President, of course, is free to pursue his course of erroneous interpretations. What then becomes of our Constitutional form of government?"

    "The Right and the Power", L. Jaworski, p 233

  • Hyperion||

    I am totally convinced now that this is all just one big distraction. the public is overwhelmingly against this. Congress critters are getting an ear full and are not going to put their job on the line to vote for this non-sense. Obama knows he cannot get congressional approval for this. He doesn't even care, it's all just a big distraction from all of the scandals.

  • Almanian!||

    Again with the "scandals".

    WHAT scandals, Hyperion. The scandal that the Rethugs just want to shut down the gummint and throw Paul Ryan's grandma over a cliff and loose all the orphanages into the streets and have kids selling their organs for scientific experiments?

    Or, as it's know here at HyR, LIBERTOPIA....

    THAT scandal, Hyperion??

  • CE||

    Why don't NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC etc. each run a five-minute segment on the War Powers Act, explaining that the president is only legally authorized to launch a military strike without prior approval from Congress in the even of an attack or imminent attack on the US or US forces? For the president's lackeys to continue to repeatedly assert something that is obviously false, without any significant challenge from the media is appalling.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's false and really isn't debatable. Obama really is impeachable if he acts on his own. Doubly so if he does without congressional approval after going to Congress.

    Really, this whole business shows how close we are to the end of our republic. And that's not the standard libertarian hyperbole.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Better ALT TEXT -- "Three orange lines"

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