The Case to Congress

As you’ve no doubt heard, President Obama gave a statement today in which he said he had decided to strike Syria. But then said he plans to have Congress approve the strike.

Here’s how the Administration plans to sell this to Congress:

And they detailed the coming campaign to get Congress on board:

  • Hammer home the potential threat to staunch ally Israel’s security
  • Provide detailed intelligence about the alleged attack
  • Underline that the United States ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention, and make a case that American legitimacy — not just his own — is at stake.
  • Make the argument that failure to act could lead, one day, to terrorists acquiring chemical weapons from regimes like Assad’s — and turning them on America.

Item One: Assad’s alleged decision to use Chemical Weapons that he originally obtained to deter Israel against rebels presents “a potential threat to staunch ally Israel’s security.”

In recent months, Israel has successfully struck at Syria twice, and Syria didn’t even try to retaliate. Why does the US have to take a stand for the norm against using CW, when the Israelis are perfectly capable of doing so. I get that Israel can never be viewed as a neutral party with Syria, they do have unrivaled ability to stand against the use of gas against civilians.

Item Three: The US ratified the Chemical Weapons Treaty. But Syria did not. In the same way that Israel didn’t sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Why do we expect Syria to abide by the former when we don’t require Israel to abide by the latter?

Item Four: A strike on Assad is likely to strengthen the Syrian rebels. Who are made up, increasingly, of a bunch of extremists with ties to al Qaeda. If we make it easier for the rebels to replace Assad, doesn’t that actually raise the likelihood terrorists will get Assad’s CW?

I’m glad the Administration has decided to go to Congress. But their argument is just as weak as it was.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @armandodkos Exactly. And I think a lot of the strum and drang surrounding King has diluted the absolute strength of that argument.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Yes, we have been there and done this discussion before.
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Though I think you and I disagree whether it is reasonable to even get to step 2
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos And that is why I have always thought this is a simple Chevron case, whether decided at Step 1 or Step 2.
13mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Right, that is what am saying. It's there b/c was the intent; it facially has conflict with "four words" because of sloppiness
14mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Because the final bill was cobbled together sloppily and hastily, and they did not make clear their real intent?
17mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos I guess it is semantics to some extent, but it drives me bonkers. Making people stupid doesn't help.
20mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @armandodkos Right, but then it should say that instead of portraying it as an actual factor in the SCOTUS case itself.
21mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Um, no, a post hoc statement outside of the legislative, trial+appellate record does nothing of the sort #Misleading https://t.co/ffrQnZ6TwR
25mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel I mean, if DiFi is gonna dig Richard Burr out of the hole he created for himself, he should let her be Chair of SSCI.
32mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @radleybalko: Georgia cops who nearly flashbanged a baby to death defend themselves in court by blaming the baby. http://t.co/v1sxi3RNvK
33mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @rickhasen shouldn't that really read "from Obama's Administration"? The IBT article is almost scurrilous in its framing.
33mreplyretweetfavorite