When you’ve lost The Nation…
Congressman Peter Welch has done his due diligence. He has studied the circumstances on the ground in Syria and surrounding countries. He has traveled to the region as part of a congressional oversight trip. He has visited centers for refugees on the Syrian-Turkey border. The Vermont Democrat, who serves on the Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, has gone out of his way to engage in debates, discussions, and inquiries regarding US policy in the region.
So the congressman’s words should carry particular weight when he discusses last week’s decision by President Obama to put US troops on the ground in Syria. After the president—who once declared, unequivocally, that “we’re not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach” in Syria—ordered several dozen Special Operations troops into Syria for what The New York Times describes as “the first open-ended mission by United States ground forces in that country,” Welch said: “Make no mistake about it, this is a war.”
“The biggest question raised by [deployment] announcement is, ‘When will Congress finally accept its responsibility?’” says Welch, who adds that “The Constitution is clear that only Congress can authorize war.” Welch is not alone in expressing concern about a military intervention that is expanding in scope and character—in Syria and in Iraq—without adequate approval or oversight from Congress.
One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. After cheering on the most lawless president in American history for seven years, now they wonder where Congress is?