September 4, 2013

Did Kerry say we won't put "boots on the ground" in Syria?

It's complicated.

I think he just wanted to stop Congress from putting a limitation in the authorization, because the President never wants to be limited, but the President limited himself by going to Congress and asking for authorization, which he seems also to maintain that he doesn't need:
Later, Kerry returned to the question, saying “I don’t want anyone misinterpreting this from me earlier” and specifying that in the authorization of force proposed by the administration “there’s zero capacity” for ground troops. Kerry reiterated that he was “hypothesizing” about potential future scenarios, “but not in this authorization.”
Why is he using the word "authorization"? Shouldn't the secret argument be that if they suddenly need to react to a fluid situation by putting boots on the ground, the President has the power to do that, just as the President believes he can launch the air attack on his own, but is simply choosing to ask Congress to approve? What he doesn't want — I would think — is for this approval to contain any disapproval.

The President is strongest when he acts in accordance with Congress's expressed approval. The middle level of power is acting alone, where Congress is silent. He's got the least power when he's acting against the position taken by Congress. He doesn't want his effort to get into category 1 with respect to the air attack to deprive him of the category 2 level of power with respect to other actions he might want to take in the future. He doesn't want to get stuck in category 3.

19 comments:

Almost Ali said...

I suspect these grand and formal efforts to legitimatize this "president" aren't fooling anyone. He should've been impeached four+ years, and now look; either by intention or happenstance, he's become a modern Caligula or Nero - a lunatic loose in the White House.

tim in vermont said...

Kind of funny that the left and the right agree that this is a major clusterfuck we should leave alone, and the left and right who think we probably should respond, think so because we don't want to embarrass the CiC(right)/Barack Obama (left).

If you look at who benefits though, it could have been somebody in the regime's military who thinks that this would cause Bashir to be toppled by the US and leave an opening, or it could be the rebels, who have everything to gain. The one who had nothing to gain is Assad.

Big Mike said...

What he wants and what he should get are two different things.

I think before Congress votes yes or no, we need to see a robust debate as to whether the United States is and ought to be the world's policeman. On the one hand there is no other country that could be the international policeman, but on the other hand it's expensive and we are already running trillion dollar deficits.

JRoberts said...

The Obama Administration: Mouth in Gear, Mind in Neutral.

Clyde said...

I'm still savoring the delicious irony of former Winter Soldier Kerry beating the drums for war... Er, for a "shot across the bow." I believe the literary term for what they are contemplating is "Sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Rumsfeld was right in his comments about Obama that set the lefties squealing like stuck pigs: Either take decisive action and change the regime, or do nothing. There is nothing worse than a half-assed military operation whose goal is not to kill the enemy, destroy his stuff and to force him to do what we want him to do. If you don't have the balls to do that, stay the hell home!

As my dad told me, "Any job worth doing is worth doing right the first time." He told me this when I was doing the job the second time because I didn't do it right the first time. It was a learning experience.

Obama and crew will not do the job right, on the first or any subsequent time, if their track record is any indicator.

prairie wind said...

Oh, such hard, hard questions, Ann! Too much for Obama to think through. Just let him do what he wants to do.

Congress always tiptoes around him...but then, the IRS could audit members of Congress, right? I'm sure they know that.

Tim said...

Boy,am I ever glad I didn't vote for these idiots.

Hagar said...

Kerry did not exactly say that; he only said something about"due to this civil war" or some such thing. So if they do do put "boots on the ground," they will say it was for some other reason.
That one is easy.

Leit Bart said...

It's almost impossible to drive when you're hitting the gas and the brake pedals at the same time.

Anyway, here's a "nicely played, Mr. Putin" piece which is well worth reading, and not a little bit terrifying if the author is right.

http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/143492/samuels-syria-vladimir-putin?all=1

tim in vermont said...

I am watching Barack W Obama on the TV right now channeling Bush. It is funny, sad, but funny.

Hagar said...

It is in the news that President Obama went to Sweden yesterday and told the world that he had never set any "red lines and it was not his credibility that is on the line; it is all those other guys'.

Sounds to me like he is getting well into headshrink territory now.

Strelnikov said...

It's "complicated" only because he's an idiot trying to punch above his level. Which, come to think of it, sums up his career.

jr565 said...

This is why having congress be the arbiter of what is needed militarily is so stupid. This is also why a president who can't lead is so dangerous.

jr565 said...

tim in vermont wrote:
I am watching Barack W Obama on the TV right now channeling Bush. It is funny, sad, but funny.

Equally funny and equally sad is Rand Paul channeling early naive Barack Obama.

Robert Cook said...

I'm listening to the sickening, self-serving lies being offered up on TV in the commentary regarding the war crime we're about to enter into in Syria. A psychopathic media and government culture on naked display.

Drago said...

Now is not the time to ask uncomfortable questions of Obama and his staffers about his policies and goals.

Asking those types of questions could (and will) be construed as "ugly" and racist and therefore out of bounds so far that it will drive moderates into the arms of the "support Obama" camp.

Against their better judgements, of course.

But what choice will these moderates have?

After all, the republicans are being "ugly" again!

khematite@aol.com said...

Those three categories of presidential power (enjoying congressional support; in the case of congressional silence; facing congressional opposition) relate to the president's domestic use of the commander-in-chief power. I don't think they really tell us anything about the president's commander-in-chief power abroad.

JAWilson said...

What will congress do on day 61 when American soldiers are fighting in Syria? Not a damn thing.

The only authoritative action congress can take is a NO vote. And they should. What have we accomplished in Afghanistan?

Unknown said...

I asked my US Senators and Rep in Oregon to support the attack on Syria. (Mostly to rattle their socialist cages.)

An attack on Syria seems like the best chance to get Republicans back in control of the US Senate.