Sen. Rand Paul: Syria, Trump and another unconstitutional rush to war
By Sen. Rand Paul
April 7, 2017
Every American condemns the atrocities in Syria, and we cannot help but be shaken by the images of innocent women and children dying. It is also true that often in foreign policy, things are not as simple as they appear, and actions often have consequences well beyond the obvious.
It is for this very reason that the Founders wanted a deliberate, thoughtful foreign policy, and when military action was needed, they wanted it debated and authorized by Congress.
Make no mistake, no matter who is president or what their party is, it is my firm belief that the president needs congressional authorization for military action, as required by the Constitution. I call on this president to come to Congress for a proper debate over our role in Syria, just as I did in 2013 when President Obama contemplated acting in Syria.
I believe that nothing about this situation has changed. Military action is not in our national security interest and should not be authorized. Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer, and Syria will be no different.
There is no doubt Assad is a brutal dictator. But if we seek to remove him, we must ask what comes next. Assad is fighting radical Islamic rebels, including large parts of ISIS. Who would take over Syria if Assad is deposed? Experience in Libya tells us chaos could reign, and radical Islamists could control large parts of the country.
Make no mistake, bombing Assad means the United States is fighting on the same side as ISIS and other radical Islamists in Syria. This is a dangerous and morally wrong policy.
But no matter your view of the merits of engaging in Syria, every member of Congress should stand up today and reclaim our Constitutional authority over war.
The Constitution clearly states that it is Congress that has the power to declare war, not the president. Even the War Powers Resolution, shoved forward by hawks as justification, clearly states criteria under which the president may act – a declaration of war, a specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack on the United States.
That’s it. Absent those criteria, the president has no authority to act without congressional authorization. Congress must stand up and assert its authority here and now.
No president is above the law or the Constitution. I said so when it was Barack Obama, and I will say so when it is Donald Trump.
Our Founding Fathers had this right, and we should heed their wisdom about allowing the president to have war powers. They were concerned the president could rule like a king.
Madison wrote that the Constitution supposes what history demonstrates – that the executive is the branch most interested in war and most prone to it. The Constitution, therefore, with studied care, vested that power in the legislature.
Before any act of war, we should have a serious and thoughtful debate over the ramifications.
In Syria – what is our goal? What happens if we depose Assad? Will the Islamist rebels, as they have threatened, turn their weapons and attention elsewhere, including Israel next door?
I will hold accountable and oppose the actions of any president who takes military action without proper legal authority and congressional consent.
After 8 Years Of Unbroken War, Obama Hands Over Conflicts To Trump
January 18, 2017
Among the many things President Obama will be handing off to his successor this week: stubborn wars in three separate countries.
Obama came to office eight years ago vowing to end U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet President-elect Trump stands to inherit the nation’s longest war ever in Afghanistan, as well as renewed fighting in Iraq that has spread to Syria.
The outgoing president was reminded of the persistence of those wars at the pomp-filled farewell ceremony the Pentagon put on for him him earlier this month at a nearby military base.
“Mr. President, we’ve been at war throughout your tenure,” said Gen. Joesph Dunford, chosen by Obama in 2015 to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “That’s a period longer than any other American president.”
That’s right: Obama is the first president to serve eight years and preside over American wars during every single day of his tenure.
Now that a Republican will soon be in the White House, liberals can go back to PRETENDING that they are against war
Although the U.S. still has 5,000 troops in Iraq during the last year of Obama’s presidency, the protestors who demanded that we “bring the troops home” when Bush was president haven’t made the same demand on Obama.
On the contrary, the Democrats tried to elect a candidate who wants to start World War III.
Here’s a nice satire of these “anti-war” hypocrites.
Thank goodness for the electoral college, which prevented Hillary Clinton from starting World War III
Hillary Clinton admitted in 2013 that a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians” — but still wants one
A no-fly zone in Syria could lead to a U.S. war with Russia — but Hillary Clinton keeps on calling for one
October 21, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton continues to call for a no-fly zone in Syria, insisting it would save lives. Yet, just three years ago, she acknowledged in a private paid speech to Goldman Sachs that a no-fly zone would “kill a lot of Syrians” and lead to “American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians.”
In numerous presidential debates, Clinton has proposed creating a no-fly zone or so-called safe zones in Syria, areas in which planes piloted by the Syrian government or by its Russian allies could not operate. If planes were to fly in these zones, they would be shot down.
Clinton repeated her call for a no-fly zone in the final presidential debate on Wednesday night. “I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria,” she said, adding that it would be “not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to, frankly, gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians.”
What Clinton did not acknowledge is that a no-fly zone would likely lead to war with Russia — the world’s largest nuclear power.
Chris Wallace, the moderator for the debate, alluded to this in a follow-up question. He noted that, while Clinton has called for no-fly zones in multiple debates, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has warned that imposing a no-fly zone could potentially kick off a war with Russia.
Moreover, “President Obama has refused to do that because he fears it’s going to draw us closer or deeper into the conflict,” Wallace added. “How do you respond to their concerns?” he asked. “If you impose a no-fly zone and a Russian plane violates that, does President Clinton shoot that plane down?”
Clinton conceded that she is “well aware of the really legitimate concerns that you have expressed from both the president and the general,” yet avoided directly answering the question, doubling down on her policy. Instead of identifying a no-fly zone as a military strategy, she spoke of it as a diplomatic one, claiming, “I think a no-fly zone could save lives and could hasten the end of the conflict.”
This argument, however, is undermined by what Clinton herself privately acknowledged just three years ago. An excerpt of a June 2013 paid speech Clinton delivered to Goldman Sachs, recently released by the WikiLeaks, shows that Clinton is well aware of how dangerous a no-fly zone could be.
“To have a no-fly zone you have to take out all of the air defense, many of which are located in populated areas,” the former secretary of state explained in the 2013 speech. “So our missiles, even if they are standoff missiles so we’re not putting our pilots at risk — you’re going to kill a lot of Syrians.”
“So all of a sudden this intervention that people talk about so glibly becomes an American and NATO involvement where you take a lot of civilians,” she added.
Clinton also noted that Syria had “the fourth-biggest army in the world,” along with “very sophisticated air defense systems” that had gotten even more sophisticated because of Russian imports.
The quotes from this speech were included in a list of excerpts of Clinton’s paid speeches to Wall Street, which was attached to a January 2016 email to John Podesta, a close Clinton ally who now serves as the chair for Clinton’s presidential campaign. WikiLeaks has published thousands of emails to and from Podesta.
In the same 2013 Goldman Sachs speech included in this document, Clinton pointed out that a no-fly zone in Syria would be different from the no-fly zone that was imposed in Libya in 2011, which ultimately led to the violent overthrow of the government.
“The air defenses were not that sophisticated” in Libya, she said. Clinton also noted that there would be many more civilian casualties in Syria than there had been in Libya.
“And then you add on to it [that] a lot of the air defenses are not only in civilian population centers but near some of their chemical stockpiles,” Clinton added, referencing Syria. “You do not want a missile hitting a chemical stockpile.”
The no-fly zone imposed in Libya paved the way for the toppling, and brutal killing, of former leader Muammar Qadhafi. The U.N. Security Council first established the zone ostensibly to protect civilians, yet it quickly led to a NATO bombing campaign.
In fact, every time a no-fly zone has been imposed, it has led to regime change.
Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, used NATO’s own materials to show that, despite the humanitarian rhetoric behind the call for a no-fly zone in Libya, Western governments planned to pursue regime change in the oil-rich North African country from the very beginning.
A September 2016 report by the U.K. House of Commons’ Foreign Affairs Committee also detailed how the war in Libya was based on an array of lies.
The Washington Examiner has just reported:
Obama waives ban on arming terrorists to allow aid to Syrian opposition
President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to “vetted” opposition groups fighting Syrian dictator Bashar Assad.
Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda
The law allows the president to waive those prohibitions if he “determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”
That sounds pretty scary to me.
It also sounds like grounds for impeachment.
I hope this doesn’t lead to World War III.