Skip to comments.Senate Syria resolution: 60 days with an option for 90, no ground troops
Posted on 09/04/2013 6:33:54 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
Late last night, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee settled on new language for an authorization to attack Syria for its use of chemical weapons. Unlike the language proposed by the White House, this explicitly forbids the use of ground troops, limits the action to only Syria, and authorizes force for a maximum of 90 days with the specific intent to stop Bashar al-Assad from using WMDs in the future:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders have reached an agreement on the language for the resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria for up to 90 days but with no boots on the ground. …
As drafted, the language worked out between Menendez and ranking member Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would authorize the use of force for 60 days, with provisions making it possible that the authorization would be extended for 30 days after that, according to Senate sources.
Via TPM, here’s the draft coming to members of the Foreign Relations Committee:
Senate Foreign Relations Committee – Syria AUMF
The bar on ground troops isn’t quite as explicit as some would like, though:
Over the last two days, Corker had been insisting on a 30-day deadline for Obama to order any military action against Syria, but Democrats objected to that requirement.
The Tennessee Republican had also sought a flat-out prohibition on the insertion of any American ground forces into Syria.
But Democrats insisted that Obama should be allowed to do so under limited circumstances, such as special-forces operations or to secure stocks of chemical weapons. Corker aides noted the bill includes a prohibition on using American ground forces for combat operations, although it is silent on using troops in emergency situations.
What qualifies as an “emergency”? This will likely be a sticking point for the resolution, but it’s a broader problem than just semantics. So far, advocates for a military strike seem very confident that Syria and its allies won’t respond to a blatant act of war. What happens if Syria starts firing anti-ship missiles at our fleet in the Mediterranean? What happens if Assad sends a division over the Golan Heights, or Hezbollah invades Israel from Lebanon in retaliation?
We might need to put boots on the ground in a hurry in those cases — and that’s where the folly of limited authorizations are exposed. If Syria responds by attacking the US or our allies, President Obama will have full latitude in sending ground troops under the War Powers Act, at least for 9o days. He could attack Syria, Iran, and invade western Iraq all over again if he determined that any or all of that was necessary to respond to an attack, which itself was a response to American attacks authorized by Congress in a manner that Capitol Hill thought would be “limited.” Any attack we launch that is significant enough to damage the Assad regime is very likely to provoke this outcome.
Meanwhile, the House hasn’t settled on specific language yet — they’re still out of town — but a few proposals seem to line up roughly with what the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is contemplating:
A pair of House Democrats and a senior House Republican on the Intelligence Committee have released new draft resolutions dealing with President Barack Obamas authority to attack Syria, illustrating the resistance to the White Houses initial proposal. …
Nunes proposal could be attractive to House Republicans, many of whom are solidly against attacking Bashar Assads regime in Syria. A draft copy of his bill, provided to POLITICO, requires Obama to come to Congress within 60 days to provide information in nine areas to justify the use of force.
The bill would require an explanation of attempts to build a coalition; a detailed plan for military action in Syria, including specific goals and military objectives; what would qualify as degrading the chemical weapons supply; an explanation how a limited military strike would encourage regime change, prevent terrorists from taking control of power or weapons, secure the chemical weapons and deter their future use; how a strike would prevent Iran and Russia from keeping Assad in power; information about Al Qaedas access to weapons; an explanation of whether weapons from Libya are being used by the Syrian opposition and an estimation of the cost.
In contrast, Van Hollen and Connolly are supportive of strikes against Syria, but they think Obamas language could open the door to large scale military involvement in Syria and the region.
We will not support that resolution, the pair write in a letter to their colleagues.
Their resolution prohibits ground forces in Syria, limits attacks to 60 days and prohibits Obama from attacking again, unless Obama says that Assads regime uses chemical weapons again. The resolution also says Obama can only attack Syria with the goal of preventing use of chemical weapons, not to prevent the stockpiling of them.
In the end, the House will probably just debate whatever comes out of the Senate, since the language there is as close to the kind of limitations that have a prayer of passage in either chamber. That will also make it easier for Congress to kick the whole mess back to Obama rather than spend a lot of time owning the policy, assuming of course it passes at all — which is not going to be easy. But Congress had better be prepared to see its limiting language become moot very quickly, and be prepared for a much bigger war as a consequence of this policy.
No matter how it is written, it is an authorization
to transfer MORE WEAPONS to al Qaeda in order
to help al Qaeda murder Christians in Syria,
Jews in Israel, and finally all non-Moslem Americans.
Since Congress AND THEIR FAMILIES are protected
(and usually avoid military service)
unlike ALL other Americans,
any payoff, kickback, or brothel pass, will work, as before.
Someone remind me of what particular U.S. interest is at stake here? It can't be BO's credibility, as some have suggested, for he has none.
A win...win for obama, a lose...lose for the American people again, thanks to the RINO’s, the enemy within, the enemy within! (intended)
What the HELL are these idiots doing... do they have no idea they are igniting WWIII... do they not know Syria, Russia and Iran, Hamas and Al Qaeda have been planning for this day for a long time. Obama will get ships sunk, people killed and leave anarchy in his wake, not to mention a terrorist’s heyday on US soil.
Okay I’m totally against getting involved with Syria but if we are going to do it then let’s do it right. No limitations. Hamstringing yourself before the first play is run is just downright stupid.
Not a declaration of war. An authorization to use force. Complete with time limits and where force can be applied. And no clear goal. This is Obama’s Vietnam.
This will actually FORCE the internal civil war to move to neighboring countries, where the combatants will wait out the time period to expire. Meanwhile, the neighboring countries will defend themselves against the new invaders.
The article discusses how Israel might become involved, but it doesn’t discuss how the US will respond to an attack from Russia.
Everybody called their congressman by now, right?
Time to call ‘em again?
This sounds like a parent’s rules governing a teenager’s use of the family car: “You can drive it, but only to the store and back. No picking up friends and no cruising.”
60 days with an option for 90?
Sounds more like the Congress and the POTUS are negotiating the terms of buying a new dishwasher.
Congress dictating terms of engagement is disaster waiting to happen. I expect Iran will try to sink oil tankers in the Strait, blocking it off. Israel will be dragged into it quickly after being attacked, perhaps attacks on Saudi oil infrastructures, the list is endless. AQ will accelerate terror plans in the works, and the lone nutcase attacks are always a possibility. This is like pouring gas on a hornets nest and setting it ablaze.
What happened to Bozos 3 day deal last week. Wants to see more flagged draped caskets. O is a jerk face.
The FEDRES and our crooked politicians who had their ‘money’ in the form of GOLD BARS in Libya, which Ghaddafi had shipped out before we Shoved him into the street to be butt-raped and murdered, want their DAMN GOLD back, and nothing will stop them.
They thought it went to Egypt, so they went after The Egyptian President. Then, after not finding it, they traced it to Syria.
That is what this is all about. It is always about the MONEY. This money is in the form of REAL GOLD BARS, not the tungsten filled crap the Chinese flooded the market with.
England, France, Germany, etc (US allies) are all in this together as they are all ‘funded’ by the consortium of International Bankers. Some of our allies are backing out because they think Obama is trying to do this the wrong way, and instead of recovering the GOLD, will be starting an unstoppable war.
And they are right. Russia is laughing because they have the upper hand, and it’s not THEIR GOLD that is on the table.
They know if the FEDRES bankers don’t get it back, our economy will collapse.
We laughed as Soviet Russia collapsed financially. He who laughs last, laughs best.
What is at stake is the midterm elections. The Dems want to drag the Repubs into this mess.
Pray for America to Wake Up
When Obama shifted the responsibility to Congress, he opened the door for micromanagement. And Obama claims that he doesn't need Congressional approval or authorization to take action against Syria.
The War Powers Act already sets time limits on the President's use of force.
What part of “NO” is so hard for these idiots to understand?
Completely agree. You cannot have the Committee of 535 morons micromanaging military action. It's bad enough when the bozos in the White House do it. Congress can authorize military action, but they can't start to regulate it like it's health care or gun control. That would be a disaster. In this case, they just need to say no.
Given congressional unwillingness to defund Obamacare, just how likely do you think they can put toothpaste back in the tube once a military action is authorized?