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Make your voice heard on Syria war decision
President Barack Obama announced an extraordinary decision on Saturday when he announced that he would go to Congress for authorization before bombing Syria. The decision went against long precedent, agreed to tacitly or explicitly by both parties, that had essentially outsourced foreign policy decision-making in the executive branch despite the Constitutional requirement that Congress have the power to declare war.
Republican legislators including U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy had called on the president to consult with Congress, as had a number of anti-war liberals. But few observers expected him to do it. It is simply too rare for executive power to be wound down.
Now that it's determined that Congress will weigh in on the issue, though, we are faced with the substance of the decision itself.
The best arguments for intervening in Syria are that the international norm against use of chemical weapons must be preserved in order to keep future wars from devolving into horrific chemical warfare. But an international norm would seem to require an international response. If the international community doesn't support the strike, can the U.S. alone maintain the taboo on chemical weapons?
The best arguments against intervention, meanwhile, are that a limited strike will be too little while a fullscale occupation would be much too much. If the U.S. isn't prepared to commit to driving out the regime of Bashar al Assad and assisting the Syrian people in establishing a new government, then it's not clear what purpose a limited bombing campaign would have.
Here's what makes it important that the president is seeking Congressional approval: It puts the decision closer to the American people. It invites us to call our own members of Congress and urge them to vote in the way we would prefer. Take that opportunity. Call your federal representatives and let them know whether you think the U.S. should get involved in Syria.