Executive Power

War Powers Objections Raised to Obama's Syria Plans

As Senator, Obama himself objected to unilateral executive action

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As President Barack Obama considers military action in response to Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, a debate over whether he must seek Congress' consent has surfaced. It's a debate with which the president is extremely familiar.

As a senator, Obama was a staunch critic of President George W. Bush for not obtaining renewed authorization for the war in Iraq. He blasted his predecessor in 2007, saying, "The president does not have 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."

Additionally, as a candidate for president, Obama reaffirmed that sentiment. He told the Boston Globe in a questionnaire, "The president does not have 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."