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Korobov: Obama should seek approval for strikes

BY MICHAEL KOROBOV | OCTOBER 01, 2014 5:00 AM

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We all remember the day the founder and head of Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden, was killed. Hundreds celebrated at Ground Zero following the announcement. A baseball game between the Phillies and Mets was interrupted by cheers of “U-S-A.” Former President George W. Bush stated bluntly that “this momentous achievement marks a victory for America.”

Whether we like to admit it or not, our culture thrives on the feeling of executing revenge.

It is no surprise that the American people were pleased when President Obama announced that he was ordering air strikes in Syria and Iraq against ISIS militants. In a recent poll conducted last week by CNN, 73 percent of Americans favor air strikes in conjunction with our European and Arab allies.

Americans’ desire for retribution is understandable; ISIS militants have recently beheaded two American journalists. In a video released this August they threaten to “drown Americans in blood.”

Many experts argue this new group is significantly deadlier than Al Qaeda.

Unfortunately, the correlation between morality and legal authority is not always one to one. After all, Obama has authorized air strikes in Syria and Iraq, both sovereign nations, without declarations of war from Congress.

On Sept. 23, the president informed Congress through a letter about his intent to conduct air strikes in Syria and Iraq. In it he cites Public Law 107-40 which is the Authorization for Use of Military Force. The legislation was signed by President Bush in 2001 following the attacks on 9/11. The joint resolution gives the president the power to orchestrate military operations “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001.” To tie this to the ISIS militants in Syria is a stretch, to say the least.

The justification for strikes in Iraq was also mentioned in the letter. The President referenced Public Law 107-243, also known as the Iraq Resolution. Just two months ago, Obama recommended repealing the law because it was “outdated” and “no longer used for any U.S. government activities.”

Now, he’s brought it back to life.

At least we have international support. On Sept. 26, Britain’s House of Commons voted 524-43 to assist the United States in its air campaign in Iraq, not Syria. Why did Britain wait so long to join us?

Prime Minister David Cameron went to Parliament to ask for permission. He spent weeks rallying for support and presenting his arguments. This is how it should always be in a representative form of government.

An authoritarian government is precisely the reason the United States fought a revolution against Britain. Now, in a way, the tables have turned: What a difference 230 years makes.

In 2007, then candidate Barack Obama told the Boston Globe that “it is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.” Ignoring Congress and fishing through old laws for authorization is easier, but the president had bipartisan support on this. Why not do it right?

We all want to eradicate extremists who wish our country harm. I’m thrilled the president is striking the terrorists, but we have a democratic channel in place for facilitating this. It would be nice if he used it.


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