Did Obama Just Declare War on Syria?

February 12, 2015 at 12:29 PM

130829120845-obama-syria-bin-story-topThe news that President Obama has formally asked US Congress to authorize military force against ISIS is not surprising. What may come as a shock to Americans oblivious to these developments is that the administration has de facto declared war on Syria.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama presented the US Congress with a draft resolution authorizing the use of military force.Liberal pundits have lauded the Obama administration for observing the Constitutional requirement for congressional approval of military action, while many conservatives have predictably pilloried the administration for presenting a “weak” and “flawed” strategy that will be doomed to failure.However both these lines of argument are, in fact, distractions from the far bigger, far more dangerous, and far more criminal action being taken by the White House: an aggressive war against Syria, a sovereign nation.

Distorting the reality of US aggression

While the corporate media is framing the request for authorization as being limited in scope, there are key clauses that should worry anyone interested in peace and stability in Syria, and the Middle East generally.Naturally, after a series of aggressive wars waged by the US (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, etc.), many Americans are understandably skeptical of yet another open-ended conflict that will cost American lives, not to mention billions of dollars (note that the countless innocent civilians who will be killed as a result of US operations are almost never mentioned as they are not deemed noteworthy by policymakers or the media).

A careful examination of some key provisions of the president’s proposal reveals that, contrary to the rhetoric, this is in fact a declaration of war on Syria. The internationally, and legally, recognized government of Syria, led by Bashar al-Assad, has provided no such authorization, nor have they been consulted, let alone asked for consent, in the US decision. Therefore, any US military action occurring within Syria’s borders would unquestionably be a violation of international law.

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