Tags: Barack Obama | Emerging Threats | War on Terrorism | Islamic State | war powers of president | ground war and president

Lieberman: Obama Doesn't Need Congress to Attack ISIS in Syria

Image: Lieberman: Obama Doesn't Need Congress to Attack ISIS in Syria
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Friday, 05 Sep 2014 06:50 AM

President Barack Obama does not need authorization from Congress to attack the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, says former Sen. Joe Lieberman.

In a commentary for The Wall Street Journal, Lieberman said that Obama should use his executive powers as commander in chief to stop the terrorist organization from gaining “more murderous momentum” in the Middle East.

“There is no reason for the president — once he has decided on a strategy and a plan of action — to wait for congressional debate and approval before engaging,” said Lieberman, a four-term Democratic senator in Connecticut. “The enemy is not waiting.”

He continued, “There's a tension between the executive and legislative branches, as the Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, but designates the president ‘Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States’ with the inherent power to make war.

“Throughout American history, that tension has been resolved in favor of presidential authority. The Constitution does not say that the president cannot take military action without congressional authorization; it says only Congress can declare war.”

Lieberman, who was Al Gore’s running mate in the 2000 presidential election, pointed out that throughout history presidents have sent troops into combat hundreds of times while Congress has only declared war five times, most recently in World War II.

“Congress can stop a president from acting by cutting appropriations for the military action in question. But once a president leads, Congress is generally unwilling to deny funding for American troops on the battlefield.”

Lieberman, now senior counsel at the law firm of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, said there is no constitutional, legal or historical reason why Obama cannot expand the military actions against the Islamic State in Iraq into Syria.

“The president might be required to seek and receive congressional approval if he decides to launch a major ground war such as the Iraq wars of 1991 and 2003. But the administration is not seriously considering that kind of action against the terrorist group right now.”

Lieberman added, “There are still reasons of good governance, policy and politics — in the best meaning of that word — why President Obama should ask Congress for support.

“As the president has said, the fight against the Islamic State will not be over quickly. It will require the patient support of the American people and their representatives in Congress.”

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President Obama does not need authorization from Congress to attack the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, says former Sen. Joe Lieberman.
Islamic State, war powers of president, ground war and president
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2014-50-05
Friday, 05 Sep 2014 06:50 AM
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