President Obama has declared that, under the Constitution, he has the unilateral power to declare war on Syria. But Obama has also declared that he’s going to wait on a vote from Congress to authorize his attack on Syria. These statements are contradictory. At least one of the statements is false and arguably treasonous.
If, under the Constitution, the President has the unilateral power to declare war, but he nevertheless waits for “authorization” from Congress, the President is surrendering constitutional power from the Executive Branch to the Legislative branch. That surrender of powers is arguably treason to the Constitution.
If, under the Constitution, only Congress has the authority to declare war, then President Obama’s claim that he can unilaterally declare war is a lie, and more, an unconstitutional attempt by the President to usurp powers intended only for Congress. That usurpation of powers is arguably treason to the Constitution.
Whether or not our government attacks Syria is an interesting question. But whether Obama has the unilateral power to declare war without congressional authorization is a vital question of constitutional law.
Over the next few days or weeks, we’ll hear a media hullabaloo about whether the US. government should or should not, will or will not, attack Syria. But the real issue won’t be the attack on Syria so much as the attack on the Constitution. We’re going to learn if Congress will permit Obama to act unilaterally and in violation of the war-making power granted by the Constitution–or if Congress will put Obama “in his place” as subject to the Constitution and not allow him to become an overt dictator.
If Obama can’t or won’t unilaterally declare war on Syria, he will probably set a precedent to prevent him from unilaterally declaring war on other countries–including Iran.
Here’s a short video on the issue: