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Mid-Morning Open Thread | Main | Correct
December 24, 2018

If Senators Like Rubio and Graham Want to Fight in Syria, Why Don't They Propose and Pass an Authorization for the Use of Military Force?

Strange that a president can start a war without anyone's permission but to end a war, he needs to observe a lot of unwritten rules about consulting with Congress and his top cabinet members.

I'd note that the president is not the only one in this system who may seek an AUMF or a declaration of war. This is a power the Constitution vests in Congress.

While I have my differences from time to time, I like Senators Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, and Tom Cotton, as well as some others who are complaining about the president's rashness. But I object to the cynical game they are playing. They well know that their diva routine for the media is not the option the Constitution gives them. They could, at any time, have proposed an AUMF that would legitimize combat operations against whoever they believe are our enemies in Syria -- not just those who would ravage the Kurds, but those they keep saying (with great persuasive force, by the way) are our geopolitical enemies: Assad's regime, Iran, and Russia. They still could. If they were right, it would be a great way to show how wrong Trump is.

But, of course, they won't do that. They haven't done it up to this point because they know Americans are broadly opposed to war against these enemies in Syria at this time. If they had been able to get the equivalent of a declaration of war from the people;s representatives, that would have meant the Syrian expedition had the backing of the public. You need that in a democratic republic to fight wars effectively. Having skipped this essential step, they naturally find it easier to complain about how Trump is mucking things up than to concede that the public did not want troops in Syria in the first place.


Syria hawks did not want to do that because they knew what the answer would be. They were not going to convince people that it was worth a single American life or a thin American dime to get in between two sets of America's enemies who are bent on killing each other. The fact that Washington says we have "moderate" allies in this fight does not mean people who follow these things don't know the supposed "moderates" heavily include the Muslim Brotherhood and other anti-Western Islamist factions that are content to collaborate with al-Qaeda in order to fight Assad, Iran, and Russia.

As someone who has publicly objected to the sharia-democracy project since before the 2004 election, I feel compelled to add that we have reached the impasse I warned against about a thousand times. Americans will support wars when they are convinced that American national security demands it. But if you tell them it's about our national security, and they figure out that you're actually conducting a giant social-engineering experiment in a society that doesn't want what you're selling, they are going to stop believing you when you tell them our national security is at stake. Washington has worn the public out with its "Islam is religion of peace" mantra. Because the public no longer trusts the government on these matters, there is now reluctance to support military and intelligence operations that our security actually requires. This is not Donald Trump's fault; in fact, his election is, in part, the inevitable backlash.


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posted by Ace of Spades at 11:55 AM

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