Whatever Obama's Syria strategy, he will need congressional permission
President Obama's presidency sunk to a new low today.
When was the last time that you heard a president say that he didn't have a strategy? I mean that he doesn't have a strategy to deal with a threat to our national security brewing for months?
President Obama tried to put a pretty bow on the package but it did not work. It's a bit too late in the game to say that "I don't have a strategy yet!"
My guess is that President Obama's lack of a strategy is rooted in two problems:
1) It will be very difficult for Democrats to support President Obama's war in Iraq. It could turn the Democrats of 2016 into the Democrats of 1968 who fought like cats and dogs at the Chicago convention; and,
2) President Obama will have to go to Congress for a resolution and funds, It won't be easy as Mark Landler wrote today.
When President Obamasummoned his closest advisers to the Oval Office a year ago this week to tell them he was holding off on a missile strike against Syria, one of his arguments was that if he acted without Congress, he might not get congressional backing for military intervention the next time he needed it.
“He can’t make these decisions divorced from the American public and from Congress,” a senior aide said at the time. “Who knows what we’re going to face in the next three and a half years in the Middle East?”
Now, Mr. Obama knows what he is facing — rampaging Sunni militants who beheaded an American and have declared an Islamic caliphate across a swath of Iraq and Syria. But as the president considers airstrikes in Syria against the group, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, seeking a congressional imprimatur remains a politically tricky undertaking.
Yes, it will be tricky to go to Congress. It should always be difficult to ask Congress to approve a war. It's very serious to send young men to war.
At the same time, other presidents have gone to Congress and passed resolutions, such as Bush 41 & Bush 43. They got them because they made their case to the public for months.
President Obama has not made the case for war and Thursday's press conference won't help one bit.