Republican Sen. Rand Paul has set out his detailed opposition to any military action in Syria saying the situation there does not pass the litmus test for going to war.
"War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened," he wrote in an opinion piece for Time
, adding, "Even the State Department argues that 'there's no military solution here that's good for the Syrian people and that the best path forward is a political solution.'"
The Kentucky senator continued, "The U.S. should not fight a war to save face. I will not vote to send young men and women to sacrifice life and limb for stalemate. I will not vote to send our nation's best and brightest to fight for anything less than victory.
"If American interests are at stake, then it is incumbent upon those advocating for military action to convince Congress and the American people of that threat," he argued.
"Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war."
Paul acknowledged that Syrian President Bashar Assad is "clearly not an American ally," but questioned whether his ouster would "encourage stability in the Middle East" or would "actually encourage instability?"
"Are the Islamic rebels our allies? Will they defend American interests? Will they acknowledge Israel's right to exist? Will they impose Shari'a? Will they tolerate Christians, or will they pillage and destroy ancient Christian churches and people?"
"The president and his administration have not provided good answers to any of these questions," he stated.
Paul pointed out that "In 2007, then Senator Obama stated that no President should unilaterally go to war without congressional authority unless there is an actual or imminent threat to our nation. James Madison argued this same position."
But now, he noted, Obama's position "is that while he requests congressional input, he doesn't necessarily need Congress's approval," adding that instead Obama views input from Capitol Hill as "a courtesy vote."
"But Mr. President, that is now how our Constitution works," wrote Paul, adding, "Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 gives Congress — and Congress alone — the power to declare war. If Congress does not approve this military action, the President must abide by that decision.
"There is no debate more significant for a legislator than the decision to engage in war. We must hold our leaders accountable," he concluded.
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