Rep. Capuano (D-MA) writes:
On Monday night the White House released a statement indicating it had intelligence suggesting that the Assad-led Syrian government was preparing another chemical attack against its citizens. The statement also issued a clear and direct threat to the Assad regime, declaring that his government would “pay a heavy price” if such an attack were to take place.
Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) and I filed H.R. 1923 in April, legislation prohibiting the President from further use of military force against Syria unless and until authorized by Congress. We are reaching out to our colleagues to request support for this bipartisan measure. Our legislation does not presume to suggest how anyone should vote on the issue – Members should vote their conscience. We simply believe that President Trump must observe the Constitution and seek Congressional approval before he takes any further military action in Syria.
While we are gravely disturbed at the thought of the Assad regime potentially launching another chemical attack, we are also concerned about the “heavy price” the Trump Administration promises to inflict in a highly unstable part of the world. Any American military response to the Syrian government would be considered an act of war carried out by the United States. According to the U.S. Constitution, no President can unilaterally make war, and an intentional military strike against a sovereign government, no matter how horrendous that government may be, is most certainly an act of war. Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution is very clear that ONLY, “The Congress shall have Power … To declare war.”
Representatives Capuano and Jones believe the Constitution is paramount. I wonder what Rep. Tom Reed thinks about that.
In related news: http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/seymour-hersh-syria-bombshell
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This story reminds me of the Tonkin Gulf incident.
I believe the unnamed expert is Theodore A. Postol, professor emeritus of science, technology and national security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Phil Ebersole has a number of articles on Syria including this one:
Tom was in Yates County for a special Town Hall about Syria and ISIS, and of course was against all that Obama was doing–saying that we should be more aggressive. He was reminded that Congress declares war. His response was that it is complicated and brought up the War Power Act and other legislation that muddys the line of who is responsible. As a person who carries the Constitution he should understand what he is responsibilitiues are!
George Lakoff explains:
… we tend to understand the nation metaphorically in family terms: We have founding fathers. We send our sons and daughters to war. We have homeland security. The conservative and progressive worldviews dividing our country can most readily be understood in terms of moral worldviews that are encapsulated in two very different idealizations of family life: The Nurturant Parent family (progressive) and the Strict Father family (conservative).
Thus Reed, governed by the “strict father” metaphor, likely viewed President Obama as weak, but regards President Trump as strong.