After coming under intense criticism for his decision to intervene in Syria, Obama stunned his aides by at the last moment deciding to consult with Congress after all:
After a 45-minute walk Friday night, President Barack Obama made a fateful decision that none of his top national security advisers saw coming: To seek congressional authorization before taking military action in Syria.
The stunning about-face after a week of U.S. saber rattling risked not only igniting a protracted congressional fight, which could end with a vote against strikes, but a backlash from allies in the Middle East who had warned the White House that inaction would embolden not only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but his closest allies, Iran and Hezbollah.
Aides said the decision was made by Mr. Obama and Mr. Obama alone. It shows the primacy the president places on protecting his hoped-for legacy as a commander in chief who did everything in his power to disentangle the U.S. from overseas wars. Until Friday night, Mr. Obama’s national-security team didn’t even have an option on the table to seek a congressional authorization.
The only real discussion was a plan to punish Mr. Assad for what the U.S. and others have called a chemical-weapons attack amid Syria’s grinding civil war. The final question, policy makers thought, was how many targets to hit and when to tell the Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean to open fire.
Go here to the Wall Street Journal to read the rest. Of course Obama should have obtained Congressional approval, as Bush did on Iraq, before making the decision to move against Assad. That he did not tells me that he viewed the decision to go into Syria as he has virtually every other decision during his administration: if it is popular with his base he will do it, and the Constitution and Congress can go hang. Obama received just enough last minute criticism about his Syria policy from the left wing groups he listens to, that he decided to pass the ball to Congress. That this is no way to make war and peace decisions should be obvious. That one should, after five years of this, be completely unsurprised by this turn of events should also be obvious. May God help this country if a true foreign policy crisis should arise with this man at the helm.