Last summer, the Obama Administration briefly toyed with the idea of bombing the Assad regime in Syria over the alleged used of chemical weapons in the country. A last minute off-the-cuff remark by Secretary of State John Kerry capitalized on by the Russian foreign minister led to an agreement that saw Syria self-disarm under international auspices. In any case, a Western bombing of Syria was rejected by the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. The White House suggested it would seek Congressional authorization, realized it likely wouldn't, and tried to argue it wouldn't need it if it wanted to bomb Syria.
Today, the U.S. is finally bombing Syria. Its targets are linked to ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham. The president did not seek or receive congressional authorization for the operation, an extension of an ongoing anti-ISIS bombing campaign in Iraq, one the White House claims falls under the authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against al-Qaeda passed in 2001. The AUMF passed in 2002 for the Iraq war remains in effect as well. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) submitted legislation to repeal that AUMF at the beginning of the year, but the Democrat-controlled Senate did not act on it. Democrats did not try to repeal the AUMF even as President Obama ran for re-election in 2012 on the claim that he ended the war in Iraq. Obama now says the decision to end the war in Iraq was not up to him, while Rand Paul believes the U.S. military ought to destroy ISIS, albeit with Congressional authorization.