“A healthy society should avoid war at all costs, except when immediately vital for its own self-defense.” — Andrew Napolitano, Fox News
After the Republican wave of 2014, former Congressman Ron Paul tweeted the following: “Republican control of the Senate = expanded neocon wars in Syria and Iraq. Boots on the ground are coming!” I said then that I hope he is wrong.
The primary problem with Paul’s statement is that he is putting the focus in the wrong place. The Republican Congress cannot send us to war without the agreement of President Barack Obama. Our foreign policy, and especially our military policy, is directed by our commander-in-chief. That is not the Republican who leads the House or the Senate – that is Barack Obama. If we are going to have boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State in either Iraq or Syria, Barack Obama will be the one who puts them there. It is silly to pre-emptively blame the Republican Party for a decision made by a Democratic President, even if they support that decision.
With that said, we need to be very careful about what we decide to do in the coming weeks and months. Does ISIS represent a direct threat to national security? If they are now seeking to harm American interests, is it because they were always planning on doing that or is it because we have punched a hornet’s nest by bombing them? I see no clear national security interest that would justify the drastic step of military action.
Congress should have demanded that Obama ask for Congressional approval before embarking on a military adventure against the Islamic State. This is true for Iraq, but is exponentially more so on Syria. One could make the argument that fighting in Iraq is a continuation of our mission there from 2003 onward, though that argument strains credibility. There is absolutely no Congressional authorization to attack anyone inside Syria and there should have been a vote.
Neither party wanted a vote for political reasons, and it is shameful and despicable that our elected “leaders” will happily allow our courageous soldiers to be put at risk of being maimed, tortured or killed while they are such sniveling, pathetic cowards that they cannot even bear to lose a few votes or even an election or two. Any “leader” or member of either party in either chamber who opposed a vote for political reasons should be run out of Washington on a rail and should never be elected to anything ever again.