The Imperial Presidency Marches On

On Thursday night the British Parliament voted not to take action in Syria, so the United States has lost a key ally in their hope to reprimand Syrian President Bashar al Assad for the possible use of chemical weapons.

Watching the breaking news that the British would not be getting involved drove me to consider the difference between British Prime Minister David Cameron, and our President, Barack Obama. Under British law Cameron could still push forward using “royal prerogative” and use the British military to intervene in Syria. However, when pressed on what he would do, Cameron seems to dismiss that possibility out of hand.  “I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons. It is very clear tonight that while the House has not passed a motion, it is clear to me that the British Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people does not want to see British military action. I get that and the government will act accordingly.”

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Do you get what just happened there? The leader of the British government could legally still use the military to “reprimand” Syria, but because the will of the legislature is that they not get involved… he won’t.

Contrast that, please, with our President.

According to a new NBC poll, a full 50% of Americans believe we should stay out of Syria. Even more telling, almost 80% of Americans believe that the President must get approval from Congress before launching any attack on Syria.

“Still, a whopping 79 percent of respondents – including nearly seven-in-10 Democrats and 90 percent of Republicans – say the president should be required to receive congressional approval before taking any action.

The poll also finds that only 21 percent think taking action against the Syrian government is in the national interest of the United States.“

But if the words being spoken by White House press officials are any indication, it doesn’t much matter what the people or the legislature want. When asked what the decision by the British means for the our chances of getting involved in Syria, a senior official told ABC “that if President Obama decides to strike Syria he is willing to act alone. This stands in contrast to less than a week ago when senior officials were saying the United States would not intervene in Syria alone, and instead they would be acting with a broad coalition of allies.”

So in our nation where it is against the law for the President to send the military into action when we are not under attack, the President will act against the will of the people and attack Syria anyway.

Justin Amash (R-MI) who has taken the administration to task on many subjects, most famously the NSA domestic spying program, has some sharp words for the President on Syria.





It’s incredibly ironic that this President, who for years railed against the Bush administration for the same things he is currently doing, is now willing to go beyond what President Bush ever did. For all his foibles President Bush never sent our troops into battle without first getting authorization from the legislature.

Prime Minister David Cameron, who under British law can send troops to Syria – won’t because the legislature voted not to.

President Obama, who, under American law cannot send troops to Syria – will, even though the legislature has not authorized it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are observing the creation of an imperial Presidency. Welcome to the new age of monarchism.

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