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Beltway Confidential

Obama’s bombing resolution seeks blank check from Congress

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Beltway Confidential,Congress,Conn Carroll,Barack Obama,Syria,Analysis,Defense Spending,Chemical Weapons,Spending

President Obama has released the text of the resolution he will send to Congress, asking them to rubber stamp his already-made decision to bomb Syria. The full text of the resolution is below, but here are the key paragraphs:

AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES

(a) Authorization. — The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria in order to –

(1) prevent or deter the use or proliferation (including the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors), within, to or from Syria, of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons; or

(2) protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.

Some thoughts:

1) Nothing in this resolution limits Obama to attacking just the Assad regime. In fact, it authorizes him to attack any country, or any “non-state actor” anywhere in the world.

2) Nothing in this resolution limits Obama from sending ground troops into war. In fact, it authorizes him “to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary” to prevent spread of chemical weapons.

Congress could, of course, try to narrow this resolution, but it would have no real effect. Remember, after the House of Representatives rejected President Bush’s first TARP resolution, they approved a narrower one, that was supposed to limit executive mischief. Yet just months later Americans tax payers were bailing out car companies. And that was a grant of domestic power, which is much more likely to be successfully challenged in court.

Remember this is the same administration that walked around the plain meaning of the Foreign Assistance Act (which bans U.S. aid to countries that have been taken over by a coup) and continued giving foreign aid to Egypt by simply declining to define what happened in Egypt. If there is a postage stamp size loophole in any law, the Obama administration has shown they are more than willing sail an aircraft carrier through it.

A vote for any resolution approving Obama’s decision to bomb Syria, would be a replay of Congress’s 2008 vote for TARP, but on an international scale.

Full text of Obama’s proposed resolution on Syria:

Whereas, on August 21, 2013, the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, killing more than 1,000 innocent Syrians;

Whereas these flagrant actions were in violation of international norms and the laws of war;

Whereas the United States and 188 other countries comprising 98 percent of the world’s population are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons;

Whereas, in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, Congress found that Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction threatens the security of the Middle East and the national security interests of the United States;

Whereas the United Nations Security Council, in Resolution 1540 (2004), affirmed that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons constitutes a threat to international peace and security;

Whereas, the objective of the United States’ use of military force in connection with this authorization should be to deter, disrupt, prevent, and degrade the potential for, future uses of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction;

Whereas, the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement, and Congress calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to participate urgently and constructively in the Geneva process; and

Whereas, unified action by the legislative and executive branches will send a clear signal of American resolve.

SEC. ___ AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES

(a) Authorization. — The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction in the conflict in Syria in order to –

(1) prevent or deter the use or proliferation (including the transfer to terrorist groups or other state or non-state actors), within, to or from Syria, of any weapons of mass destruction, including chemical or biological weapons or components of or materials used in such weapons; or

(2) protect the United States and its allies and partners against the threat posed by such weapons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements. –

(1) Specific Statutory Authorization. — Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) Applicability of other requirements. — Nothing in this joint resolution supersedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

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