Here's the thing, you went to great lengths about him not going to congress over air strikes. Now you just happen to be all about him doing just that.
Because it's about relative applicability of the law in question. So the need for a president to seek approval from congress for a military action should be relative to the size, scope, and duration of said military action, right? And we might surmise that there's some demarcation point at which a president should seek such approval, but below that point he does not. Obviously, this will vary from president to president, but it should be consistent. My own personal opinion is that a single punitive airstrike in response to some threat or action by another nation falls below the threshold off needing congressional approval, doubly so if such a response will be most effective if done sooner rather than later but a long term protracted operation (like say a couple weeks of steady bombing, followed by a few months of air support for a larger operation involving multiple nations with the intent of toppling a government) needs congressional approval.
Of course, as I said above, Obama's free to have his own threshold and set it as he wishes. But it makes absolutely zero sense for him to not seek approval for a longer and larger scale operation than a smaller one, right? Doesn't matter what my personal opinion is about what the threshold should be. What matters is where Obama's is. And he doesn't seem to have any consistent threshold at all. ****. He's not even applying one (or his is backwards). Thus, we can conclude that his decision isn't about the requirements of the law, or some belief that it applies in one case, but not in the other, but that it's based on some other criteria. And I've said what I think that criteria is.
To provide a simple example of what I'm talking about, let's imagine that we have a step ladder. One would normally assume that the point of using the step ladder is to assist with being able to reach things that are high. If I were to look at you standing on your tip toes trying to grab something off a high cupboard, I might suggest that you use the step ladder so as to more easily reach it. You're free to ignore my suggestion of course, but it's reasonable for me to make it, and reasonable to think you're making things harder on your self by not (and risking randomly dropping things out of the cupboard to boot). If later I were to ask you to get something out of a chest height cupboard, and you said "I can't unless you get the step ladder for me to use", it would be clear to me that you don't really need to use the step ladder, but don't want to get the thing out of the chest height cupboard and are using that as an excuse not to get it. Clearly, it's not because you think you actually need to use a step ladder to reach that cupboard. You just don't want to.
It's the same thing here. Obama clearly does not believe he needs to get congressional approval to engage in whatever operations might be in play for Syria. Thus this is not about him needing congressional approval, but about him not wanting to take any action against Syria.
This isn't exactly rocket science or anything.
"Or are you just being contrarian," he asks rhetorically.
I'm being consistent. I believe that just as the need for a step ladder is based on the relative height of the thing being reached for, the need for a WPA resolution from congress is based on the relative size/scope/duration of a proposed military action. Thus, Obama seeking a WPA resolution from congress for Syria when he didn't seek one for Libya means one of two things:
1. He actually intends to engage in a larger size/scope/duration action in Syria than he did in Libya
2. He's just using it as a means to get out of doing anything in Syria.
Interestingly enough, the "straight" assumption would be option 1. Which is why congress is balking at this right now (cause they're looking at the same pattern and thinking that he wouldn't come to them for a resolution if he just wanted to conduct a few punitive strikes). Which, amusingly enough, is why it makes such a good method to accomplish option 2. He knows there's a good chance that congress will reject his request for precisely the reason that the mere act of making it suggests he intends to do more than just a few strikes if they give him the authorization to.
I happen to believe he has no intention of doing such a thing at all, but he's counting on congress, the media, and the public to reject even the possibility of such a thing.
Unless you have some other explanation? I mean, it's possible that he just tosses darts at a spinning board to make totally random decisions. I'm not sure if that's better though. Edited, Sep 5th 2013 7:40pm by gbaji