Constitutional scholar: resolution eerily like previous Gulf of Tonkin resolution
September 4, 2013
Despite Secretary of State John Kerry’s assurance that Arab countries will pay for an attack on Syria, opposition to the ill-conceived operation is growing.
The National Review Online quotes Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona. Salmon said hundreds of constituents – with the exception of two – have called his office urging him to resist the move in Congress to vote in favor of attacking Syria.
“I don’t see any national-security imperative for our country at all. Both sides in this equation are bad actors,” Salmon said. “Other than saving face for the president, I don’t understand what we would be doing,” he added.
Salmon also told the NRO few believe Obama’s strikes will be surgical. “Nobody believes this is going to be a couple surgical strikes,” he said dismissively.
The Arizona congressman said that he believes Obama will flaunt the will of Congress and attack Syria if Congress fails to issue an authorization. It will be a full-blown constitutional crisis if Obama overrides the will of Congress and would represent the “most significant flouting of separation of powers in this nation,” the congressman said.
Regardless of polls showing an overwhelming number of Americans opposing any military action against Syria, on Wednesday the Senate worked overtime to draft a resolution allowing Obama to strike the Arab nation under what the Washington Times described as “very tight circumstances.”
The resolution – drafted by Democrat Senator Robert Menendez and Republican counterpart Bob Corker of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – provides Obama with the ability to “use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in a limited and tailored manner against legitimate military targets in Syria.”
“Our negotiations have led to a much narrower authorization that provides for the appropriate use of force while limiting the scope and duration of military action, prohibiting boots on the ground, and requiring the Obama administration to submit their broader plan for Syria,” Corker said in a statement late Tuesday, according to the Times.
Louis Fisher, scholar in residence at the Constitution Project and former long-time expert for the Congressional Research Service on separation of powers issues, doubts the resolution will impose significant limitation on Obama and the Pentagon.
“What could possibly be the meaning of ‘limited and tailored?’ I doubt if I’ve ever seen the word ‘tailored’ in a bill,” Fisher said. “Even if the ‘intent’ of Congress is a limited war, war has its own momentum.”
The resolution is reminiscent of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution used by President Johnson to draw the United States into Vietnam.
The Gulf of Tonkin incident is a notorious false flag incident, a fact underscored by an exhaustive history of American signals intelligence (SIGINT) in the Vietnam War that was declassified and released by the National Security Agency in 2008.