Monday, September 02, 2013

President Obama made his decision to seek Congressional authorization on Syria at the last minute, completely surprising his closest advisers.

Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal: 

After a 45-minute walk Friday night, President Barack Obama made a fateful decision that none of his top national security advisers saw coming: To seek congressional authorization before taking military action in Syria. 

The stunning about-face after a week of U.S. saber rattling risked not only igniting a protracted congressional fight, which could end with a vote against strikes, but a backlash from allies in the Middle East who had warned the White House that inaction would embolden not only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but his closest allies, Iran and Hezbollah. 

Aides said the decision was made by Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama alone. It shows the primacy the president places on protecting his hoped-for legacy as a commander in chief who did everything in his power to disentangle the U.S. from overseas wars. Until Friday night, Mr. Obama's national-security team didn't even have an option on the table to seek a congressional authorization.

Personally I don't think the President had muhc of a choice but to involve Congress, not considering many of his statements concerning the build up to go into Iraq. 

In many ways this was a brilliant way to get the Congress to put up or shut up. Considering the fact that many of the Republicans are up for reelection, with the possibility of Teabaggers challenging them in  primary, the President has just put them between the proverbial rock and a hard place.

However I think that this illustrates how carefully the President considers his options before making a choice. And it also illustrates just how alone he must feel when it comes time to make those choices.


  1. I keep thinking there has got to be a better way than the bombing of Syria. Like a squad of Mossad going in there and taking Asshat out...

    1. Anonymous7:13 AM

      Now I've got that song in my head, the theme song in "Delta Force"........

  2. Anonymous2:32 AM

    I love this guy. He's got this one.

  3. Beldar J Conehead3:54 AM

    Gryphen, before you pat this so-called President Obama on the back for his handling of the Syria crisis, why don't you wait until co-president The Screechy Wretch(tm) reveals her official assessment?

    If she commends the President for his restraint and careful consideration of America's interests, obligations and constitutional constraints, fine.

    But you have to admit, she's historically tended to skew rather a bit somewhat critical of Obama in the past, burdened, as she is, by the divine revelation that SHE is The True One who should be sitting on the golden throne in the Orville Office.

    Whoa! As I was typing this comment, the official ScreechyPac Twitter feed has just vomited up this scathing repuke of President Obama in one word: "WORSTPRESDIENTEVER!".

    And so it is written.

    (Ok, Screechy, NOW will you sit down and shut the fuck up?)

    1. Anonymous7:16 AM

      President Obama has consistently stated his decision making process weighing the consequences to everyone involved. Personalities like Palin are limited to decision making for personal gain then crying victim for predictable consequences of her decisions.

      Palin is perceived by the majority as stupid to common crazy person to ignore.

    2. fromthediagonal9:20 AM

      Anon @ 7:16am: I do hope you realize that Beldar (also known as BJC and other noms de guerre/plume) is IM's resident satirist?

  4. Sally in MI4:10 AM

    I think we should stay put of this, but we won't. What's fascinating to me is that the GOP is still playing games. Why didn't Boehner call them back? Is the GOP so petulant that they play to delay this decision until more people die, and they can blame the President for 'diddling?' If people are not fed up with the GOP after this, we are doomed. If this is truly a national security issue for us, they should get their sorry butts back to work and figure out what to do, and stop playing these "We hate the President so we are doing nothing" childish, hateful, and harmful games. This is beyond stupid.
    Meanwhile, my dear Rep. Camp had another letter in the paper yesterday about the Irs, and Obama ourreach. Oh, and he got Candice Miller to sign on this time too. What a piece of work..I sent him another email blasting him for continuing this lie when there is work to be done. The GOP is playing with fire here, and they will be burned.

    1. DetroitSam7:46 PM

      'If people are not fed up with the GOP after this, we are doomed".

      I have read several source that say the the teabaggers will likely win the Senate in 2014. If this happens the we have to assume that in addition to being stupid, people the country to go backwards, want to lose SS, Medicare and Medicaid.

  5. If Congress crafts a war strategy and approves it by vote, they will be co-owners with the White House. They thought they maneuvered Obama into a corner and now they are joining him there. Brilliant! How could this possibly go wrong? We go to war with Syria with full authorization of our government and against the will of the people it represents. And "we the people" are the ones who will have to carry out their orders. Bummer.

  6. He didn't surprise his advisers - he surprised the media who had written all their stories about the President going into a war that nobody wanted.

    It was stated over and over that the President had not decided anything but the media had to make out they had the inside information. They didn't - they got it wrong.

    The president took some time to come to his decision - unlike the pundits who take 30 seconds to decide his decision was wrong (well they had decided that regardless as to what the President said).

    How on earth can this be a "stunning about face" when it was the first time the President spoke of his decision.

    The Wall street journal has NO idea what the President or his advisers were thinking or discussing on Friday - so they pretend & attack.

    1. Anita Winecooler5:21 PM

      Exactly! And President Obama already made it clear doing nothing isn't an option. "Stunning about face" is journo speak for "Slow weekend holiday - phone this one in"

  7. Anonymous5:34 AM

    "And it also illustrates just how alone he must feel when it comes time to make those choices."

    Regardless of how may advisers he has, regardless of how involved Congress, his administrative staff or the American people may have in any particular situation, the ultimate decision rests squarely on this man's shoulders.

    I simply cannot imagine how that feels and I don't envy that overwhelming responsibility.

    1. Anonymous9:24 AM

      Yikes! My comment disappeared when I hit the wrong key and I went down the spelling and grammar rabbit hole when I retyped it!

      'how MANY advisers'

      'regardless of WHAT INVOLVEMENT'

  8. Anonymous5:39 AM

    I was relieved to hear this... Congress will now have to share the responsibility for whatever decision is made and not just sit back heckling and criticizing. I'm sure the Republicans are cracking their heads together trying to come up with a way forward that makes the President look bad and them good -- good luck with that.

  9. Anonymous6:00 AM

    I thought this was about international law against chemical weapons being used but the media is telling me it's about Obama winning or losing.

    1. Anonymous6:52 AM

      Unfortunately, the republicans have made everything a zero sum game.

    2. Anonymous9:27 AM

      It SHOULD be about international law, and we should NOT be the only country responding to this atrocity.

      We're often accused of being the world's bully, but when something messy needs to be cleaned up, the rest of the world too often sits back and expects us to take care of it.

  10. Anonymous6:01 AM

    President Obama takes the decision to Congress. Congress is shocked when they realize they're not just political pundits.

    1. Maple6:46 AM

      You nailed it!

    2. Anonymous4:50 PM

      That is so sad but TRUE!

  11. Anonymous6:03 AM

    Media and GOP spent the entire week screaming about congress needs to be involved and now they're crying because Congress will BE INVOLVED.

  12. Anonymous6:04 AM

    FOX/GOP: We can't stop #Syrian state sponsored terrorism & genocide because Obama would get the credit.

  13. Anonymous6:13 AM

    In seeking congressional authorization for military strikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, President Obama is not weakening presidential power and is not looking for an out to avoid a war he doesn’t want. He is doing what is absolutely necessary in a democratic republic. He is rallying consent for a grave step and for what was always going to be a controversial decision.

  14. Anonymous6:14 AM

    PBO to Congress: "You wanted a vote. Here ya go!"

    Congress: "Gulp!"

  15. Anonymous6:19 AM

    John Boehner: "Syria using Sarin gas is wrong, yes, but I'm on vacation, so dealing with atrocities will have to wait until office hours."

    1. Anonymous9:31 AM

      How dare you interrupt my vacation!

      But look over there...the President is playing GOLF!!!!!

      Impeach! Impeach! Benghaziiii!!!

    2. DetroitSam7:48 PM

      Remembering Katrina and GWB.

  16. Anonymous6:20 AM

    Damn you Obama! You've completely ruined the talking MSM heads weekend. They were all lined up to bash your unauthorized war!

  17. Anonymous6:31 AM

    “Seems to me President Obama is acting the way constitutional law professor Obama and Senator Obama said a president ought to act,” said Democratic strategist and former Clinton adviser Paul Begala. “He is the antithesis of George W. Bush: no lies about ‘imminent threats,’ no bullying, no impugning the patriotism of his critics. I am proud of my president.”

  18. Chenagrrl6:46 AM

    I was thrilled he did this. I suspect that there are a whole bunch of T-party folk, congress mouths included, who were preparing the onslaught if the president had mounted a military effort. Hoot! What now? It is delicious that it has been put in their laps.

  19. Anonymous7:09 AM

    George says what I believe:

  20. Anonymous7:10 AM

    It's so true that President Obama must feel alone. I expect he's doing a lot of soul-searching and thbecause at's the kind of man he is. He takes his responsibility very seriously, and I believe he doesn't play politics in times like this.

    Maybe the reason he backed away and gave Congress a say in this, is that the constant bickering voices in the background and the pressure to do something now caused him to realize every barker out there cheerleads their own selfish motives. The political-elect wanna-bes voices and media are creating a huge carnival out of this. It's like they're bringing out all their wares, books, CD's, soliciting supporters, and donors while a very serious conflict could explode - regardless of any decision.

    Talking so glibly about the situation from a safe studio desk is the easiest thing in the world (or attacking the President before he's made a final decision/hiding behind Facebook, like Palin) is the biggest sign of weakness and cowardice.

    The real heroes are the ones who care and don't yield to pressure.

    1. Anonymous10:09 AM

      Agreed! President Obama is my hero! I detest the majority in our U.S.Congress which has practically a zero approval rating! They are horrible - first they are for war and then they are against doing it!

      Then they moved to hollering "impeachment" even though they have zero reason for doing so! President Obama is probably the cleanest POTUS that we had of record in eons which drives Republicans friggin' nuts!

      Keep President Obama in your positive thoughts. And, for those that are supposed 'christians', prayers might be in order.

    2. Anonymous10:41 AM

      I pray for ALL of our elected officials, everyday, that they have wisdom, and protection. You don't have to believe, besides, what could it hurt?

      Also, I hope you live long enough for everything to come out. I don't believe that our current President is the cleanest we've had in eons. I get the distict impression that things will eventually come out that will mar that belief. Even if it is after freedom of info can be used--another 70 years or so, probably.

  21. Anonymous7:25 AM

    My guess is that when congress comes back, they will add wording to defund "Obamacare" as a poison pill.

    If Obama vetoes, then they will yell that Obama is too chicken to go into war to protect innocent children and should be impeached.

    If OBAMA agrees they will yell "see, Obama agrees that his healthcare plan is unworkable" do he must be impeached.

    If congress votes no and if Obama ignores them they will yell "impeach him". If Obama follows the wishes of the congress, they will yell that he is being lazy and should be impeached.

    Either way, he is vilified and everyone looses.

  22. Anonymous7:36 AM

    Sarah Palin Chimes in on Syria — Proves Her Ignorance and Prejudice Once Again

    “Let Allah sort it out!” Haha, you got in a real zinger there, Sarah, but I’m not laughing. Babies were gassed to death in Syria. That doesn’t settle whether the US should intervene militarily, but it definitely settles whether it is a serious issue. Stop making a fool of yourself and leave the serious stuff to people who know what “serious” means.

    You knew this was coming. You just had to know Sarah Palin would offer her two cents about Syria and our possible military involvement in the country.

    Well, the former Alaska Governor took to her Facebook page to express her opinion about the possibility that our military may soon become involved. She posted:

    “So we’re bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria? And I’m the idiot?”

    And at the top of her Facebook page she wrote the message, “LET ALLAH SORT IT OUT.”

    Where to even begin. First, “let allah sort it out” displays the depths of her ignorance. Not to mention the comment itself is essentially prejudiced and a clear mocking of the Muslim religion.

    But there’s nothing quite like a woman who claims to be a “good Christian” being so flippant about the horrific tragedies that have occurred in Syria the last 2 years.

    Then we have her, “So we’re bombing Syira because Syria is bombing Syria? And I’m the idiot?” comment.

    Well let me answer her question: Yes, Sarah, I’m calling you the idiot.

    If that is how simplistic you see war and what’s gone on in Syria with over 120,000 dead and strong evidence that chemical weapons were used, then yes—you’re a complete idiot if you break the whole situation down into a moronic joke like that.

    But we shouldn’t ignore the irony of her previous support of George W. Bush, a man who got us involved in not one but two wars. One of which was a direct invasion of a country that wasn’t at war, wasn’t threatening to attack us and posed literally no threat to the United States.

    She also goes on later to talk about how we have “no interest in Syria.” Oh, excuse me Sarah. I’m sorry if the use of chemical weapons to commit genocide and the deaths of over 120,000 people doesn’t give “Americans any interest.”

    I wasn’t aware that the prerequisite for defending human rights and opposing genocide was that the United State must have a vested interest in the country.

    But believe me, if there were a Republican in the White House right now, you can bet we’d suddenly have a “vested interest” in Syria. All you would be hearing from these people is the “threat to Israel” the civil war in Syria might pose.

    1. Anonymous8:34 AM

      ...When Congress re-convenes there will be another issue to decide. There is the matter of the allegations of Shailey Tripp and the obvious corruption of the APD, and the scandal involving the Secret Service and Homeland Security. In my letter to the Senators on the Homeland Security Committee, I provided an entire notebook of articles and documents to confirm everything stated in my letter. AT the time the letter was sent, I didn’t realize that the Senate would be in recess most of the month of August. When I called to follow up on the letters, I got confirmation that the information had been received, and that it was not being ignored, but it would probably not be investigated until the return of the Senate in September.

      It is September, and Allah is waiting. He too is trying to sort out the injustice of Shailey Tripp being convicted and Todd Palin being given a free pass, but he knows I’m working on it. Instead of reports of a story about Todd Palin going to jail, we hear about Todd at NASCAR rallies, basketball games, and signing petitions to shut down the government. It will only take one Senator to choose to investigate this atrocity for the cards to come tumbling down. Remember Mark Sullivan resigned. Janet Napolitano has resigned. Dave Parker has resigned. David Chaney has resigned. Sarah Palin has resigned. Todd Palin has never denied the allegations of Shailey Tripp, in spite of a specific invitation to do so.

      It appears the decision by the Senate on intervention on Syria may be fairly swift. The investigation of Todd Palin may take a little longer since Allah won’t be working on this controversy…but I will. We won’t assume that Allah will have time to handle this one, so we’ll just have to rely on facts, and human intervention. Allah didn’t rescue Shailey Tripp from being destitute and in a position that Todd could take advantage of her. We won’t wait for Allah to ensure that Todd Palin is held accountable.

  23. Anonymous8:23 AM

    I am glad that he is doing this, for a multitude of reasons. I think that if the gov't has info that they can't share with the general public (obviously!), they can take it to the Congress, and if it is what they say, then Congress will vote to go, and I will understand, and although not be happy about it, will support the decision to do so. If not, then the info wasn't what was proported, and I'll support that. I don't think I said it as well as I could have, but there you have it. I'm too tired to try again! Dumb-Ass.

    1. Anonymous9:59 AM

      Dumb Ass: You said it well and I agree!

  24. Anonymous8:36 AM

    U.S. Marines Website Hacked By Syrian Electronic Army

  25. Anonymous9:07 AM

    A Progressive Perspective: Why Congress Should Approve the President's Request to Punish the Use of Chemical Weapons

    ... Bashar al Assad cannot be allowed to use chemical weapons to kill 1,400 people -- over 400 children -- in the plain site of the entire world with impunity. It's that simple.

    Since the end of World War I -- almost a century ago -- there has been a worldwide consensus that human society will not allow combatants in conflicts to use chemical or biological weapons. After World War II, nuclear weapons were added to the list.

    These true weapons of mass destruction present a danger far beyond their effects on the immediate combatants -- or even the innocent bystanders -- of a particular conflict. If the world allows and thereby legitimizes their use, it will unleash forces that could endanger huge swaths of human society -- and even the existence of humanity itself.

    While chemical weapons cannot do damage as extensive as nuclear or radiological weapons -- they have the potential of killing and maiming tens of thousands of our fellow human beings within hours or minutes. And their horrific effects have been graphically demonstrated in real-time on the television screens of the world documenting Assad's attacks on innocent civilians.

    Sometime in the last century, human society entered a gauntlet. As we pass through that gauntlet, a race is on to determine whether our values and political structures evolve fast enough to keep up with the geometric increases in our technology? If they do, technology could propel human beings into an awesome and unprecedented period of freedom, possibility and fulfillment. If not, we could destroy ourselves and turn into an evolutionary dead-end - like our cousins the Neanderthals.

    To survive that gauntlet, it is critically important that we do everything in our power to absolutely ban the use of weapons of mass destruction -- and to make those who violate that ban into worldwide pariahs. We must make their use unthinkable.

    In political and historic narratives -- some moments take on an iconic, symbolic importance. Assad's use of chemical weapons is now one of them. Will the world stand idly by while we watch -- up close and personal -- as a government uses chemical weapons with impunity? Or will someone take action to require that the perpetrators of this crime be made to pay a price?

    1. Anonymous11:02 AM

      I can understand this prospective, and even agree with it on the surface.

      I also see the possibility of US involvement triggering WWIII.

      There has been a body to make these kinds of decisions...such as this chemical weapons, thing.. the UN. They are investigating, and have the authority to take these matters into their own hands. This is, a poor example, but the best I can come up with, right now: when a child is being abused, the neighbors don't storm into the house with guns blazing, and possibly injuring the child further( physically&emotionally), they call the state who investigates, and takes the child away from danger. (Please understand that this is a simple analogy, not to be dragged to an extreme)

      When vigilanties start to flex their muscles, they don't always see the big picture, or wait for all of the facts.

      Arab Nations and the U.N. should be the ones to handle this. Period.

    2. Anonymous11:46 AM

      Sorry! I missed-- I understand this PERSPECTIVE. Oops!!

  26. Boscoe9:15 AM

    I think our president smells a trap. Like I said before, Obama foolishly announces to the world that chemical weapons are the red line that will invoke a reaction from us, and then two weeks later it happens?

    Unless Assad has a death wish, it makes no sense at all. But it makes PERFECT sense if you're an entity who stands to gain from US involvement.

  27. Anonymous9:42 AM

    The Pees think President Obama made his decision because of her facebook and tweet.

    1. Anonymous10:01 AM

      well that's just how utterly delusional they are.

    2. Anonymous4:53 PM

      That made me laugh

  28. Anonymous9:56 AM

    I love our President! He outdoes that damned obstructionist United States Congress every time!
    I'm delighted he is making them part of the decision...

    They and the media have confused this issue worse than anything else that has been done since President Obama was elected.

  29. Anita Winecooler5:45 PM

    The President really has a lot on his plate, and he's where he belongs, doing his job. Where's Congress? Why does the world have to wait for their vacation to be over, so they can "speachify, stomp their feet and whine at the top of their lungs"?

    POTUS even took an hour of his time to speak to the Graham-McCains. If they could make the time, Boehner could call for the GOP to convene.

  30. DetroitSam7:42 PM

    Let the Syrians and others in the Middle East who are killing each in conflicts that has gone on for centuries fight their own battles.

    Why should we be the ones to continue to support people who, next week, will be trying to kill Americans?


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