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POLITICS: White House

Morning Examiner: Will Obama illegally bomb Syria?

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Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain will wait for both a United Nations weapons inspection, and a vote in parliament before he commits British armed forces to war in Syria. But President Obama is signaling he has no intention of doing either.

“Not a slam dunk”
“We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama told PBS Wednesday, about an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus. “And if that’s so, then there needs to be international consequences.”

However, multiple U.S. officials have told the Associated Press that the case against Syria on chemical weapons is “not a slam dunk” – a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showed Iraq also had weapons of mass destruction.

No “substantive consultation”
Also Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Obama demanding answers on 14 questions about Obama’s upcoming war. Boehner called on Obama to “personally make the case to the American people and Congress” for why Obama should be allowed to bomb Syria and added, “While the outreach has been appreciated, it … has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation.”

An emergency session 
In addition to Boehner’s letter, Rep. Scott Rigell, R-Va., is circulating a separate letter demanding Obama put the war to Syria up for a vote in Congress. “If you deem that military action in Syria is necessary, Congress can reconvene at your request,” the letter states. “We stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding U.S involvement in the quickly escalating Syrian conflict.”

Seventy-eight Republicans and 16 Democrats have signed the letter so far.

It’s not an illegal war if a Democrat does it
Back in 2007, then-Sen. Obama told The Boston Globe, “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.”

But that was when a Republican was president. Now that Obama is president, the law, apparently, is completely different.

From The Washington Examiner
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Sean Lengell: Rep. Peter King says Obama has right to attack Syria without Congress’ OK

In Other News
CNN, Obama concludes Syria carried out chemical weapons attacks: The United States has concluded Syria carried out chemical weapons attacks against its people, Obama said Wednesday, a claim that comes amid a looming diplomatic showdown over whether to strike against Bashar al-Assad’s military.
Associated Press, Intelligence on weapons no ‘slam dunk’: U.S. officials say the intelligence linking the Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to the alleged chemical weapons attack that killed at least 100 people is no “slam dunk.”
The New York Times, U.S. Facing Test on Data to Back Action on Syria: The Obama administration says the information it will make public will show proof of a large-scale chemical attack by Syrian forces.
McClatchy Newspapers, Fearing U.S. missiles, Syrians flood neighboring Lebanon: The main border crossing between Syria and Lebanon was thronged Wednesday with Syrians intent on fleeing what many locals believe will be a series of American-led airstrikes against Syrian government targets over the regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons last week against rebels.
BuzzFeed, Antiwar Left Stays Quiet On Syria: Activists who turned out thousands of protesters during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq say they’ve been unable to effectively organize or raise money since the end of the Bush years, and that newer causes like drones have seized the space on the space on the Left once occupied by opposition to conventional warfare. And some acknowledge that the energy has leaked out of the movement because a Democrat is now in office.
BuzzFeed, How The Old Guard Shut Down An Experiment In Education: Documents show a difficult path for new, cheaper, colleges through a bureaucratic maze.

Lefty Playbook
Charles Pierce laments that MLK’s speech is only remembered for its call for colorblindness.
Think Progress on MLK’s fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage.
John Judis makes the liberal case for war with Syria.

Righty Playbook
James Pethokoukis shows that only middle-class tax hikes can pay for the left’s desired levels of government spending.
Jonah Goldberg explains why Obama will not go to Congress for a vote on Syria.
Dan McLaughlin says Obama is making it up as he goes along on Syria.
Kathryn Jean Lopez on MLK and abortion.

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