It’s almost midnight on April 6. Shortly after 10 PM, Aardvark’s iPhone beeped loudly to announce that Trump has just ordered an act of war against Syria. Welcome to the 21st century. When the Rapture occurs, I will likely learn about it in the same fashion. (“BREAKING NEWS: Thousands of believers ascend into the sky. For further details see the story in the Washington Post.”)
Turned on the talking heads at MSNBC. There were a bunch of heavy hitters tonight. I learned a lot. Hillary Clinton is said to approve of Trump’s action. Dr. Aardvark approved. So did pretty much all the talking heads. They are probably right. I hope so.
But three points stick out tonight. First, what will the consequences be—and the consequences of the consequences, and the consequences of those consequences? Will Assad and Putin limit their responses to bellicose press releases? Or will they take action against our troops in Syria and Iraq? And what about the Iranians, who are said to be encamped at the air base that the missiles struck? What will they do?
And, by the way, according to a particularly knowledgeable talking head, our missiles may well have struck nerve gas stored at the air base, and may well have released it into the atmosphere, with potentially lethal consequences.
Second, one is struck by the head popping rapidity with which Trump and his team made a 180 degree policy move on Assad and Syria—based on something Trump saw on television, because Trump lacks the attention span to read. Is there an ice cube’s chance in hell that this thing has been thought through and war gamed out? I think you know the answer.
The third point relates to the Constitution and the War Powers Act, which says in relevant part,
The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.
50 U.S.C. §1541(c).
All those folks who have crucified Obama for wimping out and not enforcing his “red line” on chemical weapons had forgotten that there was a serious threat of impeachment if he acted against Syria in disregard of the War Powers Act.
And now, let us all bow our heads and pray together the War Prayer.