Syria

Thomas Massie Introduces Bill Blocking Military Aid Being Sent to Syria

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Credit: Thomas Massie/wikimedia

Yesterday, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and nine of his Republican colleagues introduced a bill that would block unauthorized U.S. military aid from being sent to rebels in Syria.

From Massie's press office:

WASHINGTON – Today, Representative Massie and nine other House members introduced legislation to block unauthorized U.S. military aid to Syrian rebels.

Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress—not the President—the power to declare war. But the President recently announced his intention to send arms to the rebels in Syria fighting President Bashar al-Assad's regime. H.R. 2507, the War Powers Protection Act of 2013, prohibits any military assistance to Syrian opposition forces unless Congress issues a formal declaration of war pursuant to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

"Since our national security interests in Syria are unclear, we risk giving money and military assistance to our enemies," said Rep. Massie.  "Additionally, all military action must be authorized by Congress. The American people deserve open debate by their elected officials."

The bill comes a week after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and three of his colleagues introduced a similar bill to the Senate.

It is reassuring to see that bills have been introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives that would limit our involvement in a conflict where Al Qaeda-linked groups are fighting with rebels. 

Reason TV sat down with Massie to discuss turd sandwiches, surveillance, and more earlier this month.

The other congressmen who introduced the bill with Massie are Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fl.), Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Rep. Joesph Pitts (R-Pa.), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.).

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  1. Nice first step, but what Congress needs to do is to openly state that any military action in Syria needs congressional authorization, per the Constitution. If Obama attempts another end run, before anything happens, Congress should yank funding. And threaten to yank more. It should make it clear at the same time that it’s doing this to preserve the balance of power in our system and will consider a request for an AUMF/declaration of war.

    1. But… doesn’t that sort of require that Congress understands and… more importantly wants to follow the constitution?

      1. Doomed from the start

      2. It hasn’t been all that long since Congress was fighting presidents over the war power. Our very system, sadly, depends on them growing a pair.

        1. Our very system, sadly, depends on them growing a pair.

          Translation: our system is doomed beyond hope of redemption.

          1. Yup. As long as both parties are willing to roll over for the President when he is one of their own, there can be no oversight because any attempt at standing up the President can just be written off as partisan warfare.

            The media is really one of the biggest abetters of this horseshit. Since most reporters are morons and don’t know anything, the default mode of covering a story is as a horse race story. Horse race stories “this is really hurting X” are easy to write. So that is what they write. And it makes any attempt to reign in the executive look like just another political ploy to the public.

  2. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress?not the President?the power to declare war. But the President recently announced his intention to send arms to the rebels in Syria fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. H.R. 2507, the War Powers Protection Act of 2013, prohibits any military assistance to Syrian opposition forces unless Congress issues a formal declaration of war pursuant to Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

    Is it me, or why does congress need to pass new legislation to enforce the constitution? It would appear the existing law is on their side. Or is it just showboating?

    1. Well, the Constitution doesn’t contain much in the way of enforcement provisions.

      1. Article 2, Section 4:

        The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

      2. Congress could shut off the military’s funding tomorrow. All of it.

        1. and refuse to pay the power bill for the White House and Executive Office building (new and old).

          1. Sorry, must defund the Secret Service, too.

      3. Bah. How many divisions does Congress have? Oh, all of them? Carry on, then.

    2. Same reason Obama wants to pass new legislation to protect journalists.

      Because that tired old document has no bearing on anything the government does.

  3. Rebel scum! If Paul is Senator Palpatine, then what does that make Massie?

    1. Darth Sidious?

    2. The fat blue guy with rape tentacles in place of ears?

  4. The concept that legislators need to pass a law to prevent one man from arbitrarily injecting a nation of millions into an armed conflict halfway around the world that has fuck-all to do with us in direct violation of the constitution is almost as disturbing as the fact that the bill will most likely fail because of political tribalism.

    1. The fact that legislators need to propose a law preventing the President of the United States from sending weapons to known Syrian affiliates of a terrorist organization whose suspected associates we use drones to assassinate in every other country we find them is absolutely incredible. If this was a movie people would pan it for having such an outrageously unfeasible plot.

  5. Regardless of what you think of going into Syria, it is funny to watch Democrats argue that we do need to get in another land war in Asia.

    How is that whole Nobel Peace Prize thing working out?

    1. It’s not a party thing so much as a world hegemon thing.

      The Arab Spring really messed them up, since what they *wanted* were states that while nominally hostile to Israel, were not going to cause problem to it.

      All the U.S. clients are negatively affected. And the hegemon supporters don’t want to see U.S. control further eroded.

      So the U.S. has to look strong; which means that the U.S. must be seen to have some impact in a major event like the collapse of a nation-state like Syria; which means that the U.S. has to support the winning side; which means that the U.S. has to get in bed with Al Queda affiliates.

      The thought process is almost exactly the one used by Major Major to justify giving a medal to Yossarian for dropping his bombs in the Med because he didn’t want to bomb his assigned target.

      1. It is some of that. It is more though about the old obsession with stability. They want strong men to keep the Arabs in line. That can’t work anymore. It is like a infection that won’t respond to antibiotics. The old treatment of putting in a dictator won’t work anymore. We are going to have to let the thing run its course. The Arabs are going to have to figure out the hard way that Islamism is the road to misery. We can’t save them from themselves anymore.

      2. That’s sounds like an argument as to why Executive level decisions around foreign policy are not particularly partisan.

        It doesn’t explain why Obamanation is singing Bomb Bomb Ir…cough…hack…Syria.

        1. It doesn’t explain why Obamanation is singing Bomb Bomb Ir…cough…hack…Syria.

          Because they have convinced themselves it is a humanitarian intervention. In addition to the stability arguments I list above, Democrats love the idea of using the military to stop genocides and various humanitarian crisis.

          1. Bombs are the pinnacle of humanitarian intervention.

            Stopping a genocide by committing a different genocide is perfectly sensible, compassionate, and cost effective.

            Disregarding whether we have any place intervening in the first place, of course.

      3. the U.S. clients

        How are those invoices coming…..

    2. Oh yeah? Well, Bush got us into a WORSE land war in Asia, so it doesn’t count. QED.

  6. “Since our national security interests in Syria are unclear, we risk giving money and military assistance to our enemies,” said Rep. Massie.

    Our national security interests in Syria couldn’t be clearer: we have none. Obama is jetting around, trying to do everything in his power to distract from the fact that his operatives perjured themselves before Congress (I know, perjury’s not a crime unless it’s about grown men playing baseball), got other Americans killed, have spied on American citizens without cause or warrant, used the IRS to intimidate citizens from exercising their rights to speech and peaceably assemble, and threatened and prosecuted citizens for their right to the press under the pretense of “national security.”

    1. Other than maybe going in an policing up the WMDs that are there, I am not seeing one either. The only real case you can make is the whole “but instability is bad and this instability will spread” canard. I am not convinced it will spread and even if it does I doubt there is anything we can do to stop it.

      Even if you do think we have an interest there, arming the rebels is the worst idea. We don’t know who they are and have no way to control them if they take over. If you want to do this, invade and occupy the place. If you can’t do that, better to do nothing. We have seen this movie in Libya. Pointlessly bombing people in the middle of a civil war is not helpful.

      1. Funny thing, though: by encouraging at least three revolts that we know of in the Middle East and N Africa (one of them in a major country to the Arab/Muslim consciousness), the Obama administration has at least in part encouraged this “instability”. Rebels in the Middle East can now hope that, by hanging on just a bit longer, help from Washington will soon be arriving.

        Bad incentives matter.

        1. And last I heard “failed states” were a bad thing. I am thinking it is a lot easier for Al Quada to set up shop in Libya and Syria now that it was two years ago.

        2. the Obama administration has at least in part encouraged this “instability”

          Hey, when you got no “problems” to “solve”, you just gotta invent them.

          1. (ignoring the multitude of “problems” our betters have generated, yet failed to “solve.”)

      2. Other than maybe going in an policing up the WMDs

        Alleged WMDs:

        The United States, Britain and France have supplied the United Nations with a trove of evidence, including multiple blood, tissue and soil samples, that U.S. officials say proves that Syrian troops used the nerve agent sarin on the battlefield. But the nature of the physical evidence ? as well as the secrecy over how it was collected and analyzed ? has opened the administration to criticism by independent experts, who say there is no reliable way to assess its authenticity.

        Obama, lying, duplicitous, egomanical fucker that he is, is convinced that he can successfully use the WMD argument where Dubya failed.

        The only real case you can make is the whole “but instability is bad and this instability will spread” canard.

        If stability had been America’s goal, the government would have left Mubarak and Ghaddafi alone. Instead President Know-Nothing decided to wave his magic wand and tell the world that “Mubarak must go” and “Ghaddafi must go” and now “Assad must go.”

        1. There is no alleged to it. Syria has been open about its WMDs for years. It is not like it is hard to make sarin and other such gases and unlike Saddam’s Iraq, they haven’t been under any UN sanctions regime.

          The objection boils down to “sure this is nerve gas but since we didn’t collect the samples you could have faked it”. Sure they could have. But there is no evidence they did. And there are a lot of dead people in Syria that says they didn’t. And moreover, to have faked the evidence would have required a massive conspiracy and coverup. These are the people who can’t keep the NSA database a secret. Sorry, I am not buying that they could fake WMD evidence and give it to the international community with no one blowing the cover. And BTW, such a scheme would require the cooperation of three countries with none of them having a single leaker. Bullshit.

          The people who are doubting this are doing so because they will do anything to defend Assad. Assad could gas their offices and send them a thank you note for dying and they would still claim it was a false flag operation.

          1. If by “years” you mean one, you would be correct.

            The objection boils down to “sure this is nerve gas but since we didn’t collect the samples you could have faked it”. Sure they could have. But there is no evidence they did.

            Chain of custody, John. It does matter.

            1. In a court of law sure. In this case, not so much. Really, do you honestly think they could fake that evidence and no one from three different countries would say anything?

              1. If they are all in on it, yes. While the government has the goofs and boobs we call our duly elected representatives, there are some in government who are dangerously competent, especially when it comes to the fine art of provoking a war.

          2. I don’t think the real question is whether chemical weapons have been used, though. I think the question is whether Assad’s regime or the rebels used them.

        2. use the WMD argument where Dubya failed.

          Iraq probably has a different opinion of the success/failure of that ploy.

          1. They probably would, but they are brown people and therefore their opinions don’t matter.

  7. Holy shit my TN senators did something useful?

    Well knock me over with a feather.

  8. I’m suspect the idea here is to get Obama to argue that the War Powers Act is an infringement on his delegated powers as CinC – just as Nixon did when Congress tried to limit his actions during the Vietnam War Police Action Conflict. Congress pussed out and unconstitutionally delegated their war-making powers to the president then and they did it again with their ‘Authorized Use of Military Force’ bullshit. Now they just want another shot at comparing Obama to Nixon.

    The whole reason Congress has the war-making power is because that is the most democratic body closest to the people – it’s supposed to make it harder to get into a war without broad public support. Congress didn’t want to have to face the voters for their actions in the War Police Action Conflict AUMF on Terror so they pawned this off on the President – for which they should be beaten with sticks since you can’t delegate delegated powers – but now they want to run the war but still blame the President? I may have to side with Obama on this one if he argues that Syria is one part of the WOT. You fucked up, Congress, now eat it.

    1. If he says Al Quada is in Syria, he has a legal right to do it. That is true.

      1. I don’t think the AUMF includes an authorization to arm Al Queda affiliates as the president is proposing to do, but I admit I’ve never read it closely.

        1. LOL Yeah, you got me there. I am pretty sure it means “kill Al Quada” not “arm them”. But hey, maybe it isn’t specific. How is Obama supposed to know he can’t do that if the AUMF doesn’t say he can’t?

          1. I am pretty sure it means “kill Al Quada” not “arm them”.

            Yeah, but unarmed Al-Queda can’t get into armed conflict with whoever it is they’re fighting, which makes it less likely for them to be killed.

            It’s a bit indirect, but as long as he’s causing them to get (themselves) killed…

        2. But, by arming Al-Qaeda, Obama does allow himself to drone himself.

  9. All Republicans? Pathetic. Where are the anti-war Democrats? That’s a sincere question. The Dems have been much better than the Rs on the civil liberties stuff.

    Couldn’t they see these two issue areas as of a piece?

    Honestly, what are they thinking?

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