Four More Wars! With Syria, Obama and Biden Follow in the Footsteps of Bush


During the president’s speech today on why yet another war on a Muslim country is absolutely necessary, Obama reluctantly agreed that he will Seek Authorization for Syria Strike. This, of course, he explained, must happen after congressional recess. Still, he emphasized that he has authority to act alone, in spite of the fact that the War Powers Act does not authorize war without congressional approval unless there is an imminent threat to the United States.

After a week of pressure from both Left and Right ends of the political spectrum, the president backed off a declaration of imminent military action. Still, Obama says that an attack will be ‘effective tomorrow or next week or one month from now’.

The astute reader might recall that in 2007, then vice presidential candidate Joe Biden castigated George W. Bush for acting without congressional approval. Even before this, Biden repeatedly made the case that waging war without Congress is an impeachable offense. According to the Atlantic Monthly, Biden “took that position after years as a U.S. senator, and taught it during lectures on the separation of powers.”

Chris Matthews: You said that if the United States had launched at attack on Iran without Congressional approval, that would’ve been an impeachable offense. Do you want to review that comment you made?

Joe Biden: Absolutely. I want to stand by that comment I made. The reason I made the comment was as a warning. I don’t say those things lightly, Chris. you’ve known me for a long time. I was Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for 17 years. I teach separation of powers in Constitutional law. This is something I know. So I brought a group of Constitutional scholars together to write a piece that I’m going to deliver to the whole United States Senate pointing out that the president HAS NO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY to take this country to war against a country of 70 million people unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked. And if he does, I would move to impeach him. The House obviously has to do that, but I would lead an effort to impeach him. The reason for my doing that — and I don’t say it lightly, I don’t say it lightly.

The Atlantic explained further:

It isn’t that Biden hadn’t thought very carefully about this issue before entering the executive branch, and then discovered in the vice-presidential residence that, upon reflection, the president really should have the unilateral authority to take America to war absent an actual or imminent threat. Rather, he reflected deeply on the law for almost two decades, through numerous presidencies, as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; consulted a whole group of constitutional scholars; taught constitutional law classes on the separation of powers; and went on national TV while running for president to declare unilateral executive-branch war-making a high crime!  But now that he’s part of an administration openly pondering strikes on Syria without Congressional approval — even as dozens of legislators demand to be consulted.

All of this has left anti-war activists on the Left wondering, what ever happened to the candidates Barack Obama and Joe Biden? The men in office seem to take diametrically opposed stances, than what they proclaimed on the campaign tour. Opponents on the Right, however, seem to be chiming in with the anti-war activists more than ever. Where was this insistence on congressional approval for war during the Bush administration? Furthermore, if war without congressional approval was an impeachable offense for Bush, then why does Obama claim that he has the right to follow in the former president’s footsteps?

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