Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has advertised his skepticism about intervening in Syria. His very public intrusion in a policy debate may exceed what is proper for the uniformed military, but he seems to have played Obama as dexterously as Duke Ellington played a piano…[read entire article below]
●Total budget – $680 million
●Percentage increase – 2.8%
●Amount cut from original budget – less than 1%
●How was the original budget trimmed? Deferred maintenance and spending excess cash reserves
●Area of greatest growth? 15 additional firemen
●Tax increase/decrease – 1.23¢/$100 valuation increase
●Additional cost for $125,000 home – $15.38/year
●Most significant change from original proposed budget – Council cut proposed stormwater fee increases of $4 for residences and $26.55 and cut smart meters from the LP&L budget
●How they voted – Hernandez, Price, Gibson, Joy and Gerlt voted for the tax increase; Klein and Robertson voted against the tax increase
Barack Obama’s Imperial Presidency has chosen to ignore Congress as it suits him. He makes unlawful appointments without Senate approval, imposes or relaxes law without legal authorization and sends his minions to the Hill armed with false testimony when it serves his purposes. His basis for a moral high ground appears to be “I will it…therefore it ought to be so.” However in a dramatic reversal last Friday the President suddenly discovered Congress and determined he needs its approval for action in Syria.
If we didn’t know better we would welcome the President to the Constitution. He does need Congressional approval to involve the United States militarily in the Syrian civil war. His argument for going to war with Syria apparently goes something like this: it is acceptable for Syrian President Assad to kill women and children, for his soldiers to rape and pillage, for the opposition leaders to cut out and eat the hearts of enemy dead, but we must take sides with Al-Qaeda supported opposition once the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. Does this sound like a no-win situation? We agree.
The United Nations does not support our involvement in this conflict. Our closest ally, Great Britain, has voted in its Parliament against involvement in this quagmire. Syria is not a signatory to any international agreements banning chemical weapons. There are no overwhelming U.S. interests at stake. It is likely, if not almost certain, that if and when the opposition prevails in Syria and Assad’s regime falls that the victor will not be our ally. There is no moral high ground in this conflict and there are no selfish interests to be pursued.
We need look no further than Egypt to see the chaos that can exist when a despot is deposed. To involve ourselves in this struggle is to act counter to our own interests. There is nothing in it for the United States except the universal contempt of both the winner and loser in the conflict.
This is not landlocked Afghanistan with no navy. Syria has naval bases. Russia, who opposes U.S. action in Syria, has an aircraft carrier in the area. Is it the President’s hope that both will stand by and allow us to launch missiles into the country? Secretary of State John Kerry equivocated before Congress when asked to rule out using U.S. troops in Syria. And even if it is so, we ask, what is moral about lobbing a few rockets into a civil war with a pledge not to get your hands dirty with “boots on the ground”?
There is an International Court of Justice to deal with war crimes. We have neither the means nor the will to go after every evil leader in the world and even if we did there is no clear choice in this conflict. The President is not the Referee-in-Chief charged with ensuring that warring factions kill one another nicely.
Call your Congressman and Senators and insist they tell President Obama “no.”
“I think the line in the sand should be that America gets involved when American interests are threatened. I don’t see American interests involved on either side of the Syrian war,” Mr. Paul said. “Who is on America’s side over there? If the rebels win, will they be American allies? Assad’s definitely not … I’m not convinced anybody on the Islamic side will be American allies.” [read the entire article below]
Of course, the Syrian civil war is a tragedy. The regime headed by President Bashar al-Assad is evil. The Syrian people deserve better. Yet these obvious truths do not make Syria unique. World history is filled with awful conflicts involving bloody national implosions. Murderous dictators continue to march across time. Ironically, many of them have been supported—and currently are supported—by Washington.
A new study by the Cato Institute found that in many states, it does indeed pay better to be on welfare than it does to work.
The most notable gross racial disparity on campus, and hence probative of discrimination, can be found on GMU’s fabulous men’s basketball team. Blacks are less than 9 percent of student enrollment but are 85 percent of our varsity basketball team and dominate its starting five…[read the entire article at the link below]
The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians….[click below…a must read]
I deeply respect your role as our country’s commander-in-chief, and I am mindful that Syria is one of the few places where the immediate national security interests of the United States so visibly converge with broader U.S. security interests and objectives. Our nation’s response to the deterioration and atrocities in Syria has implications not just in Syria, but also for America’s credibility across the globe, especially in places like Iran.
Even as the United States grapples with the alarming scale of the human suffering, we are immediately confronted with contemplating the potential scenarios our response might trigger or accelerate. These considerations include the Assad regime potentially losing command and control of its stock of chemical weapons or terrorist organizations – especially those tied to al Qaeda – gaining greater control of and maintaining territory. How the United States responds also has a significant impact on the security and stability of U.S. allies in the region, which are struggling with the large exodus of Syrian refugees and the growing spillover of violence feeding off of ethnic and religious tensions. The House of Representatives takes these interests and potential consequences seriously in weighing any potential U.S. and international response in Syria.
Since March of 2011, your policy has been to call for a stop to the violence in Syria and to advocate for a political transition to a more democratic form of government. On August 18, 2012, you called for President Assad’s resignation, adding his removal as part of the official policy of the United States. In addition, it has been the objective of the United States to prevent the use or transfer of chemical weapons. I support these policies and publically agreed with you when you established your red line regarding the use or transfer of chemical weapons last August.
Now, having again determined your red line has been crossed, should a decisive response involve the use of the United States military, it is essential that you provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action – which is a means, not a policy – will secure U.S. objectives and how it fits into your overall policy. I respectfully request that you, as our country’s commander-in-chief, personally make the case to the American people and Congress for how potential military action will secure American national security interests, preserve America’s credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons, and, critically, be a part of our broader policy and strategy. In addition, it is essential you address on what basis any use of force would be legally justified and how the justification comports with the exclusive authority of Congressional authorization under Article I of the Constitution.
What standard did the Administration use to determine that this scope of chemical weapons use warrants potential military action?
Does the Administration consider such a response to be precedent-setting, should further humanitarian atrocities occur?
What result is the Administration seeking from its response?
What is the intended effect of the potential military strikes?
If potential strikes do not have the intended effect, will further strikes be conducted?
Would the sole purpose of a potential strike be to send a warning to the Assad regime about the use of chemical weapons? Or would a potential strike be intended to help shift the security momentum away from the regime and toward the opposition?
If it remains unclear whether the strikes compel the Assad regime to renounce and stop the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or if President Assad escalates their usage, will the Administration contemplate escalatory military action?
Will your Administration conduct strikes if chemical weapons are utilized on a smaller scale?
Would you consider using the United States military to respond to situations or scenarios that do not directly involve the use or transfer of chemical weapons?
Assuming the targets of potential military strikes are restricted to the Assad inner circle and military leadership, does the Administration have contingency plans in case the strikes disrupt or throw into confusion the command and control of the regime’s weapons stocks?
Does the Administration have contingency plans if the momentum does shift away from the regime but toward terrorist organizations fighting to gain and maintain control of territory?
Does the Administration have contingency plans to deter or respond should Assad retaliate against U.S. interests or allies in the region?
Does the Administration have contingency plans should the strikes implicate foreign power interests, such as Iran or Russia?
Does the Administration intend to submit a supplemental appropriations request to Congress, should the scope and duration of the potential military strikes exceed the initial planning?
I have conferred with the chairmen of the national security committees who have received initial outreach from senior Administration officials, and while the outreach has been appreciated, it is apparent from the questions above that the outreach has, to date, not reached the level of substantive consultation.
It will take Presidential leadership and a clear explanation of our policy, our interests, and our objectives to gain public and Congressional support for any military action against Syria. After spending the last 12 years fighting those who seek to harm our fellow citizens, our interests, and our allies, we all have a greater appreciation of what it means for our country to enter into conflict. It will take that public support and congressional will to sustain the Administration’s efforts, and our military, as well as their families, deserve to have the confidence that we collectively have their backs – and a thorough strategy in place.
I urge you to fully address the questions raised above.
“What he [the President] is setting out to do is enforce the norm with respect to international convention on chemical weapons.”
–U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday morning.