The Executive Branch has become increasingly powerful over the past century, simply because Congress has not successfully checked the president whenever a power overreach occurred. So now, more from fear of being mocked than dismay over 1,429 dead, including 400 children, Obama has placed himself in a politically precarious position, and the U.S. in a dangerous military venture, over his "red line" comment and the use of weapons of mass destruction. He is poised to intervene in Syria through cruise missile strikes, with or without congressional approval, since he has not let that stop him in the past in foreign or domestic policy.
The War Powers Act (WPA) is very clear on this matter. A U.S. president can act in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Armed Forces and engage an enemy of our nation only when an attack has already occurred or is imminent against the U.S. or one of our allies, or when a vital U.S. interest is under a heavy threat.
President Bill Clinton acted outside the WPA when he involved the U.S. in the Serbian conflict. When President Ronald Reagan sent the U.S. Marines to Grenada, he did so to protect U.S. citizens attending medical school on the island from a Cuban invasion force.
Obama is essentially damned if he commits to this limited surgical strike and damned if he doesn't. Two weeks ago, it wasn't a question of if, but a question of when President Obama was going to order a strike on Syria on his own authority - but now, after speaking with Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff, Obama seems quite reticent to act on his own and without congressional approval, which led Syria's state-run newspaper, Al Thawra, to call this "the start of the historic American retreat."
What vital interest of the U.S. is at stake in Syria, and what risk of imminent attack exists?
The answer for the moment is that the U.S. has never had any vital interests concerning Syria, except to closely scrutinize Syria as Iran's ally and to keep Syria and Iran from going nuclear. However, Obama's loose-lipped "red line" comment is driving him toward proceeding with an attack which will give Iran its excuse for a retaliatory attack on Israel, according to a senior mullah in Iran (not that Obama is too worried about Israel). So, whether he attacks or not, Obama is seen for the indecisive, weak, and timid U.S. president, guided by his own arrogance rather than by any clear and concise foreign policy.
More asinine reasoning is readily viewed in statements from Obama, Senator John McCain, and Senator Lindsey Graham, who have continually spoken of "regime change" and Assad's ouster, although Obama now states that this is not the mission. All three were wrong in Libya and wrong in Egypt, and now that they are on the record, they are wrong in stating that any U.S. military intervention should "deter and degrade" Assad's government's ability to launch chemical weapons and level the field for the "rebels." And to what end? So al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Nusra can more easily take Syria for their own and run terrorist operations from there for the rest of the century?
It should trouble us all to see hundreds and thousands of little innocent Syrian children suffering. But once more, this crisis of humanity offers up more questions than answers.
Where were those who advocate "intervention for human rights" crises, such as Susan Rice, NSA advisor and ex-Ambassador to the U.N.; Samantha Power, Obama advisor and current U.N. ambassador; and ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton...or, for that matter, current Secretary of State John Kerry, when the freedom-fighters of Tiananmen Square in China, the Greens of Iran, or the people of Rwanda and the Congo were crying out for their assistance? Susan Rice, for one, was busy lining her pockets through her close business relationship with Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame, which extended through her time at Intellibridge and her position as the State Department's top African affairs expert, during the Clinton administration.
The harsh reality exists that the U.S. cannot be the world's policeman. Simply put, we help when and where we can, without doing any harm. As much as we all wish to save all the hurt and suffering people of the world, the size of the task is simply too much for any one nation. But this has not stopped Prince Saud al-Faisal from begging the international community to "stop Assad's aggression" against his people, while at the same time the Arab League, Great Britain, and the U.N. -- all three -- have given Obama a vote of no confidence and refused to join him in any coalition for intervening in Syria, because Obama is not trusted as a world leader.
It bears reminding that more than humanitarian aid is at the forefront of Prince Faisal's mind. This is the same family who teach the youth of Saudi Arabia that "jihad is the road to paradise," and because they viewed jihad (holy war) as a proper response through the Quran to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, they left their borders open with Iraq. The Faisal family tacitly supported the flow of non-Iraqi islamofascist insurgents into Iraq, in much the same manner that they now support the "rebels"/islamofascists in Syria!
No matter how much Obama's "limited surgical strike" or McCain's refrain of "no boots on the ground" echoes through the halls of Congress, to date, the military proposal has not been properly limited in its scope or duration; many Democrats and Republicans alike already stand in opposition to this intervention with great logic. Senator Christopher Murphy (D) asks, "Will a U.S. attack make the situation better for the Syrian people or worse?" And on Meet the Press this past Sunday, Senator Rand Paul seemed to answer that very question: "If we start a bombing campaign in Syria, that expands the misery. Assad's not an ally, but I'm not convinced that anyone on the rebel side will be an American ally."
Nearly two million refugees have fled Syria. Little elementary-school children have witnessed unspeakable horrors and the deaths of numerous friends and family members, and the head of the United Nations Human Rights Commission says that "we are looking at a lost generation of children traumatized by this war." And there are no good answers to far too many questions, as the world wrings its hands.
Is this America's problem? No -- it is the entire Middle East's problem, due to that region's cultural aberrations, and under no circumstance should the U.S. further involve itself in this mess.
If the attack on our consulate at Benghazi did not warrant a U.S. military response, how can Obama justify an intervention in Syria? He can't!