By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
According to multiple media sources, the United States military appears to be hastily ramping up preparations toward yet another war, this time in Syria, where the Hassad government has been locked in a bloody civil war with a loose coalition of armed opposition groups.
The Obama administration said that a line has been crossed when video evidence surfaced earlier this week that pro-Assad forces have used chemical weapons against rebel targets.
Congressman Mo Brooks (R) from Huntsville was among 105 Congress members who signed a letter urging President Obama not to launch attacks on Syria without consulting Congress.
Representative Brooks wrote in a prepared statement:
“The conflict in Syria deserves public debate and the active engagement of Congress. Earlier this week, I signed on a letter to President Obama urging him to consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria. The precedent set by the President in Libya, where he determined that ‘national interest’ is enough to allow him to engage in hostilities without congressional authorization, is clearly contrary to the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and should not be repeated.”
The 105 Congress members who signed the letter include 21 Democrats.
Whether only Congress can declare “war” or the President’s powers as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces give any occupant of the White House unlimited authority to attack any country on earth at any time for any reason and every nuance in between, is one of those debates that has raged in government and constitutional law classes since Washington was President.
Most Presidents have claimed very broad military authority and Congress historically has done little to rein in that authority and it seems unlikely that this Congress would actually be able to impede any action that the President might take in Syria.
If the United States attacks Syria, it will likely do so without the support of the United Nations, where Russia and China oppose military action against the Middle Eastern country. When the United States went to war against Iraq it went with a broad coalition of countries providing support. Similarly President Obama went into the recent war in Libya with a broad coalition of allies. In Syria, even normally reliable Great Britain will not participate due to a Wednesday vote of Parliament opposing any Syrian military adventure. A U.S. attack on Syria likely would be unilateral according to recent reporting citing anonymous sources in the Pentagon. Some of those sources say that action could potentially come as soon as this weekend.
Critics of U.S. Involvement in Syria point to reported ties between the rebels and terrorist groups including Al Quaeda as well as reports of atrocities against Christian and Kurdish minorities by rebel groups.
Congressman Mo Brooks represents Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.