Congress' war powers
“It was a damn near-run thing,” said the Duke of Wellington. The Iron Duke was speaking of Waterloo.
And for the United States, it was a damn near-run thing that we are not now in a major war — with an enraged Arab and Muslim world viewing sickening videos of dead and dying Syrian women and children from U.S. missile strikes.
Next time, we may not be so lucky. Next time, we may not have Vladimir Putin to pull our chestnuts out of the fire, as he did by seizing on yet another gaffe by John Kerry and converting it into a Russian plan to have Syria surrender its chemical weapons.
Putin pulled President Obama back off the ledge. He saved Obama from having either to ignominiously climb down from his “Assad must go!” and “red line” bluster — or act on his ultimata and plunge us into a war the American people and U.S. military do not want to fight.
Putin was acting in Russia's interests. But in preventing a U.S.-Syrian war, Putin's interests and ours are one.
Russia does not want a confrontation over U.S. missiles falling on its Syrian ally. Do we?
Russia does not want a wider Mideast war, which is what a U.S. strike would bring, with Russia and Iran racing to support and re-equip their stricken Syrian ally. Do we want that wider war?
Russia does not want Assad to fall, not only because that would mean a defeat for Russia, but because of the awful consequences.
Is Putin wrong when he writes in The New York Times of the rebels:
“The United States State Department has designated Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, fighting with the opposition, as terrorist organizations.
“Mercenaries from Arab countries fighting there, and hundreds of militants from Western countries and even Russia, are an issue of deep concern. Might they not return to our countries with experience acquired in Syria? After all, after fighting in Libya, extremists moved on to Mali. This threatens us all.”
Is Putin wrong? Even Obama seems to fear what Putin fears.
Thus Obama says any U.S. strike would not be intended to bring down Assad. But if he does not want regime change, why is Obama funneling weapons to rebels who are fighting for regime change?
Almost no one fears Assad would use chemical weapons on the United States. But if he falls, some of these weapons would surely fall into the hands of jihadists who would relish dispatching suicide bombers with nerve gas against Americans.
Putin's policy makes sense. It is Obama's policy that is incoherent.
No one seems able to point to a strategic benefit America will derive from a strike against Syria, other than feeling better about ourselves.
The natural instinct of the American people — Keep us out! — is correct.
House Republicans who oppose a U.S. war on Syria speak for the people and should pass a resolution instructing the president:
• Absent an attack on this country, you have no authority to take us to war against Syria or any other nation.
• We are taking back from you the war powers the Framers gave us.
• We are going to restore our constitutional republic.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baldwin-Whitehall teacher charged with assault for hitting male student in chest
- Trooper fatally shoots burglary suspect inside Somerset grocery store
- Two jail inmates died at UPMC Mercy, medical examiner’s office says
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Officials envision reinvigorated Allegheny County Airport
- Medical Examiner personnel at scene of Coraopolis train-pedestrian incident
- Westmoreland used car dealers indicted in fraud
- 2 votes separate GOP commissioner hopefuls
- Struggling Pirates SS Mercer finding himself out on infield’s left side
- Starkey: Patriots’ legacy forever stained
- Armed bandit holds up Leechburg gas station