I already answered this: Obama is allowed by the War Powers Act to take action against Syria without Congressional approval if he desires (within the time frames, etc the Act allows).
Incorrect. He's able to ignore the requirements of the WPA if he desires, and doesn't suffer any effect unless congress chooses to do something about it (which they probably wont do). The question really isn't about what the WPA says, but whether the WPA actually has any teeth. And historically, presidents have ignored it when they wanted to. Which suggests that Obama wanted to in Libya, but doesn't want to with Syria. Hence, why I'm not really looking at what the law says (cause it doesn't actually matter in this case), but about why he'd want to ignore it in one case, but not the other.
The American people broadly want him to consult Congress first about Syria and many voices from Congress on both sides of the aisle were calling for him to go to Congress.
Maybe I missed the public outcry, but I honestly don't recall anyone screaming at Obama to get approval from congress before doing anything to Syria. In fact, aside from the usual pundits who rattle such stuff off every time (and are usually ignored), I don't think anyone even raised the issue until after Obama already said he was going to go to congress. Most folks assumed he would just secretly order air strikes and then come on the TV and tell us about them after the fact (like presidents usually do when engaging in some kind of punitive strike).
So Obama is acquiescing to go to Congress first.
Acquiescing to whom? Not the requirements of the WPA, to be sure. And not to some kind of loud sea of voices insisting he do this.
The way he is going about it is "inconsistent" but then the situation is different as well.
Correct. The military action in Libya was much more of the type one would expect a president to seek congressional approval for than the proposed military action in Syria. That's why I say "inconsistent" and not just "random".
The War Powers Act allows Obama to act unilaterally but it obviously doesn't compel the president to act unilaterally.
Of course it doesn't. But that's not the point. The point is that Obama's prior willingness to engage in a much more serious and protracted air campaign in Libya without seeking congressional approval means that his motivation for seeking congressional approval in Syria (which he's claiming is a much smaller action) is not about complying with the law. He is choosing to go through extra steps
. We can reasonably conclude that he doesn't really want to do anything in Syria and is hoping that congress will give him the excuse to avoid doing so.
If bombing Syria was something he wanted to do, he'd have done it unilaterally, right? Ergo, he doesn't want to bomb Syria. But he doesn't want it to look like he just chose to ignore his previous red line, so he's trying to get congress to make the no decision for him.
Sheesh! Does this kind of thing really need to be spelled out for people? Edited, Sep 5th 2013 6:23pm by gbaji