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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Congress and Syria

According to The Washington Post, the president told chief of staff Denis McDonough that there were two reasons why he abruptly decided to seek congressional authorization for a military strike on Syria.
He wanted there to be political accountability — lawmakers from both parties, he believed, should be on the record in support or against the war.

Obama told advisers that congressional support, far from certain, given the animosity that extends the length of Pennsylvania Avenue, would ultimately strengthen support for the war and perhaps protect public opinion for a sustained operation.

The other reason? Unlike the U.S.-led military operation in Libya in 2011 — which was supported by the U.N. Security Council and the Arab League — the United States did not have the same level of international backing.

Obama’s proposal to invite Congress dominated the Friday discussion in the Oval Office. He had consulted almost no one about his idea. In the end, the president made clear he wanted Congress to share in the responsibility for what happens in Syria.

As one aide put it, “We don’t want them to have their cake and eat it, too.”