The Syrian “Crisis”

Friends, the only thing that is a crisis about Syria is that innocent people are being caught in the middle of a civil war and and being killed.  That, in of itself, is tragic.

Situations like this are also one of the reasons why the United Nations (heretofore now the Useless Nations) was created – to provide an international forum for resolving disputes and monitor (and sometimes intervene in) inhuman warfare and conflicts.

Much has been said about the United State’s responsibility to intervene on the behalf of the Syrian citizenry being killed by both sides of the conflict for “humanitarian” reasons.  Somehow, I’m having a hard time with this explanation as there are multiple instances of conflicts throughout the world of where humanitarian intervention is needed.  Think of the multiple out of control conflicts in Africa, and you should understand.

No, the only reason that President Obama wants to get involved in Syria is to save face.  Period.  And to this end, the American public is told that the only military involvement that the United States will have in Syria is to punish the Syrian President by dropping missiles and bombs on military assets.

So let me get this straight – We, the United States, is going to bomb another country to punish the leader of another country for supposedly using chemical weapons (as yet unconfirmed by the Useless Nation’s inspectors), and to do so without the support of said Useless Nations or any other credible international community.  And by the way – said bombing will most likely kill more people, and probably not the ones responsible.

I’m not the only one smelling the BS – many Congresscritters are feeling the heat from their constituents to not get involved in what is really a civil war between two factions that are not friendly to the United States.  In other words, there is no good guy here for the United States to back.  There is no imminent threat to the United States from either faction, and should we get involved, we could find ourselves the target of both of the factions (remember the saying – The enemy of my enemy is my friend?)

Regardless, President Obama is hitting the airwaves over the next couple of days with his minions to sell to the American People and their non-representational Representatives & Senators to give him permission to unilaterally proceed with military action against Syria.  And if he doesn’t get it, he just might proceed without Congressional approval.

But can he do this legally?  Well, it depends on what side of the fence you want to be on.  Let’s take the following excerpts from an article from Judge Andrew P. Napolitano on the legality of such an action:

Even if all this took place as Obama claims, can he lawfully bomb Syria to punish its government for violating international norms or to deter it from doing so again? In a word: No.

International law recognizes only three lawful routes to the use of military force. It recognizes the right of every country to launch military force in order to prevent its own borders from being invaded or to subdue those who commenced an invasion. It also recognizes the ability of any U.N. member state to come to the aid of any other U.N. member state when one of them has been invaded. And treaties to which the U.S. and Syria are parties permit limited purpose invasions when approved by the U.N. None of these lawful scenarios applies to Syria.

Can Obama just launch an invasion of Syria even if it would be unlawful and even if Congress says no?

Because of the vicissitudes of history, the personalities of presidents and the myopic compromises of past Congresses, the area of presidential war-making has different legal and constitutional ramifications. Under the Constitution, only Congress can authorize the offensive use of military force. James Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention in 1787 make it obvious that the Framers were nearly unanimous in their resolve to keep the war-making power away from the president and repose it exclusively with Congress. They did this clearly and unambiguously in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.

Notwithstanding the precise language of the Constitution and the history of the nation’s birth, the War Powers Resolution (WPR), a federal statute enacted in 1973 over President Nixon’s veto, does permit the president on his own to use the military for offensive wars for a maximum of 90 days. Thus, under current federal law, Obama may lawfully bomb Syria even if Congress declines to authorize him to do so and even though such an act would violate international law.

But the WPR is profoundly unconstitutional because it cedes Congress’ constitutional war-making power to the president. The WPR was an ill-conceived political compromise effectuated by a Watergate-weakened president, congressional hawks who approved of Nixon’s unilateral invasion of Cambodia and sober congressional heads more faithful to the separation of powers.

Yet, the Supreme Court has ruled consistently that the transfer of constitutional powers among the branches of the federal government is unconstitutional, even if popular and consensual, unless brought about by an amendment to the Constitution. Thus, Congress can no more let the president start wars than the president can let Congress appoint federal judges, lest the Constitution have no meaning or force of law.

No matter how this shakes out, President Obama has literally painted himself into a corner with his red line, and the international community with the American citizens are not amused, and I doubt very much that the Syrians caught in the crossfire of bullets, grenades, and gas are pleased to be pawns in a game of political football & brinksmanship. 

My thoughts are that the United States cannot be the world’s policeman, and unilaterally take action against perceived violations of international law.  As much as it pains me to state this, the Useless Nations must take charge of the situation and evaluate, recommend, and take actions in their inefficient, non-time critical fashion. 

From the point of international law and our own laws from our Constitution, the President of the United States cannot take action by and for himself to order an attack upon another country without provocation or a direct attack upon the United States.  From the point of Congressional approval to give the President permission to order an attack, they can, but I believe that they would have a hard time selling such an attack to the American people is in the interests of the United States and would have no repercussions from either Syria, its allies, or from the Useless Nations.

For the record, I oppose any military actions of the United States upon Syria or the Syrian rebels.  I do, however, support humanitarian aid to those Syrians not involved in the conflict.

Advertisements

About Tom Roland

EE for 25 Years, Two Patents - now a certified PMP. Married twice, burned once. One son with Asperger's Syndrome. Two cats. Conservative leaning to the Right. NRA Life Member.
This entry was posted in Middle East, The UN and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.