President Obama must seek explicit Congressional authorization before taking military action in Syria, as required by the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. Congress must insist that Congressional debate and vote precede any military action.
Why is this important?
On Sunday, August 25, Republican Sen. Bob Corker and Rep. Eliot Engel - a Democrat who voted for the Iraq war - told Fox News that President Obama should strike Syria first and get Congressional approval afterwards.
That's not how the U.S. Constitution says it should go. That's not how the War Powers Resolution says it should go. The Constitution and the War Powers Resolution say that absent an attack on the United States, Congress must approve military action before it takes place.
According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the U.S. should not intervene in Syria's sectarian civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Obama should act. Even if Assad's forces used chemical weapons to attack civilians - an allegation which has not been proved, and didn't hold up in the past - only 25 percent of Americans would support U.S. intervention, while 46 percent would oppose it.
On July 24, the House approved an amendment by voice vote that would prohibit funding of any military action that violates the War Powers Resolution.
If President Obama can get us into war in Syria without Congressional approval, it will set a terrible precedent: a future president can get us into war in Iran without Congressional approval.
Tell President Obama not to take any military action in Syria without Congressional approval, and tell Congress to stand up for the U.S. Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.
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