There are more than two options for U.S. policy on Syria (September 4, 2013)


Unlike Rep. Peter King and some other members of Congress, Pres. Barack Obama has read the Constitution and recognizes that the Founding Fathers’ greatest concern was to restrain the impulse of the executive to go to war without Congressional authorization. The United States is also a party to international agreements, notably the United Nations charter, which was largely drafted by us to provide international legitimacy for military action on behalf of the collective defense of the membership of the UN.

Here are two of the important questions for Congress and the public to address in this coming week:

– Who was responsible for the use of chemical weapons? Secretary of State John Kerry made an effective prosecutorial argument that the probable evidence points to the regime, but he also acknowledged the lack of conclusive proof. In short, he made the case for an indictment, but the juries – Congress and the UN Security Council – have not yet deliberated, and they will need to weigh the administration’s evidence, with other evidence from the UN, Russia, Syria and other sources.

–If the evidence is convincing that the Syrian government is to blame for the atrocities, then what is the appropriate and effective response by the international community, and by the United States? Certainly, punishment and deterrence are legitimate responses, but they also take us into the quagmire of the Syrian Civil War. Full Text.

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