Unless Congress actually declares war (i.e. not just allowing action)- any action that our military takes is likely to violate some provision of the Geneva or Hague Conventions.
Any order given which violates the conventions (i.e. the ones we are a party to, we didn’t sign them all) is an illegal order.
In the past, we have generally had reason to be involved in certain conflicts, excepting Yugoslavia; we were attacked / an ally was attacked / or treaty provisions were not upheld. Here we have the CinC who simply wants to teach someone a lesson. We have no military objective, we have not been attacked, our allies have not been attacked and no treaty between the US and Syria has been violated. Hell, we can’t even be certain that Assad was even responsible, unless we rely on something seared into our Sec’ of State’s brain ...
Even if Congress DOES declare war, the US would be violating treaties to which we are party and are the law of the land.
No matter which way it goes, if we go over there, our soldiers will be carrying out illegal orders.
Does congress need to declare a war? Recall while blamed on Bush, it was Clinton that sign the presumption attack law giving us first strike abilities and the War Power Act widened the view.
Look, the USA belongs fighting in the middle east as much as ice cream should be stored in the cabinet but we have three equal branches of government that missed their government classes on what they were suppose to do.
At this point, the legislative and judicial branches should have outlined their positions yet nothing.
There is no leadership in government, just the worst of us because good people cannot be elected.
Obama stopped only because his poll showed only 8% are interested in this the constant back-peddling from previous positions are noteworthy as Syria has noted they retreated.