Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Syrian AUMF; a slight fisking, interrogatives, with a side of snark

You can get the complete unsalamandered version here, but who is game for a quick and dirty reading of the draft AUMF. I want to put on my full Planner hat with this as my POLMIL guidance, but I don't have time for that. Instead, I'll freeform it.
To authorize the limited and tailored use of the United States Armed Forces against Syria.
So, we tell Syria to gut it out, we aren't going to do too much, and what we do will be on a small scale and won't go for long. Kind of a Levant drive-by?
Whereas Syria is in material breach of the laws of war by having employed chemical weapons against its civilian population;
At the moment, I think that question is open to debate, but let's not let facts get in the way of our desired theory. Let's just hope for the best. What could go wrong?
Whereas the abuses of the regime of Bashar al-Assad have included the brutal repression and war upon its own civilian population, resulting in more than 100,000 people killed in the past two years, and more than 2 million internally displaced people and Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq, creating an unprecedented regional crisis and instability;
Wow. Take out those countries no one wants to raise their children in and well ... you describe pretty much what our ... ahem ... civil war was like ... but let's not quibble.
Whereas the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons programs in the region and has demonstrated its capability and willingness to repeatedly use weapons of mass destruction against its own people, including the August 21, 2013 attack in the suburbs of Damascus in which the Assad regime murdered over 1,000 innocent people, including hundreds of children;

Whereas there is clear and compelling evidence of the direct involvement of Assad regime forces and senior officials in the planning, execution, and after-action attempts to cover-up the August 21 attack, and hide or destroy evidence of such attack;
Again ... isn' the jury still out on that? Wait ... we haven't even empaneled a jury yet. Oh right. As a side note as someone who was in theater and was reading all the intel reports about Iraq in the years after 9/11, this is, in a word, "interesting" to read .... again.
Whereas the Arab League has declared with regards to the August 21 incident to hold the “Syrian regime responsible for this heinous crime”;

Whereas the United Nations Security Council, in Resolution 1540 (2004) affirmed that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons constitutes a threat to international peace and security;
... and the Arab League and UN forces ready to join this action are ... where again?
Whereas in the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003, Congress found that Syria’s acquisition of weapons of mass destruction threatens the security of the Middle East and the national security interests of the United States;
Please, please, please, great Neptune's Trident, PLEASE have Kerry, Hagel, and Obama use more of the signature items from Bush The Younger and Rumsfeld. If I can just get Wesley Clark to quote Wolfowitz, my life will be complete.
Whereas the actions and conduct of the Assad regime are in direct contravention of Syria's legal obligations under the United Nations Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and the Geneva Protocol to the Hague Convention on the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous or other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare, and also violates standards set forth in the Chemical Weapons Convention;
Let us just put "proof" as a Planning Assumption in the Strategic level OPLAN and move along, shall we? We'll let someone else work that Branch plan after the fact - or again referencing Wesley - we'll just wing it and almost start a war with the Russians.
Whereas Syria's use of weapons of mass destruction and its conduct and actions constitute a grave threat to regional stability, world peace, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners;
OK, for "allies" I think we have France and ... ummm ... Qatar? OK, France ... and as partners we have a small collection of Al Qaeda affiliates and a Whitman's Samplers collection of international jihadi. OK.
Whereas the objectives of the United States use of military force in connection with this authorization are to respond to the use, and deter and degrade the potential future use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government;
Whereas the conflict in Syria will only be resolved through a negotiated political settlement, and Congress calls on all parties to the conflict in Syria to participate urgently and constructively in the Geneva process; and

Whereas the President has authority under the Constitution to use force in order to defend the national security interests of the United States:
Ouch, that hurt my neck. We will respond to something we think might have happened during an internal civil war 1/3 of the globe away - and by bombing in a, what was that phrase, "limited and tailored use," we will have the Alawites negotiate with people who want to slaughter them wholesale? That is in some way connected to the US Constitution's authority to the Commander in Chief? Ummmm, I may need to come in to school early tomorrow to review that as I am not getting it very well. Must be me.
Now, therefore, be it,

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This joint resolution may be cited as the “Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against the Government of Syria to Respond to Use of Chemical Weapons”.
On that use by Syria, can we have "Ref. A" first?
(a) AUTHORIZATION-The President is authorized, subject to subsection
(b), 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, only to:
(1) respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction by the Syrian government in the conflict in Syria;
(2) deter Syria’s use of such weapons in order to protect the national security interests of the United States and to protect our allies and partners against the use of such weapons; and
(3) degrade Syria’s capacity to use such weapons in the future.
(1) Do I need to repeat myself? Let's not and say I did.
(2) So, is Syria threatening the USA, France, or maybe Qatar with gas? We'll call that evidence Ref. B; I'll wait for it.
(3) Pretty much everyone agrees that cruise missiles and gravity bombs are a rather stupid way to eliminate chemical weapons ... especially if you can move them around. So ....
(b) REQUIREMENT FOR DETERMINATION THAT USE OF MILITARY FORCE IS NECESSARY- Before exercising the authority granted in subsection (a), the President shall make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that—
(1) the United States has used all appropriate diplomatic and other peaceful means to prevent the deployment and use of weapons of mass destruction by Syria;
(2) the Syrian government has conducted one or more significant chemical weapons attacks;
(3) the use of military force is necessary to respond to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government;
OK. So, we have to go through all of this again?
(1) Before or after the fact? If before, then we did not use "all appropriate," did we? If after, define "appropriate" - and if no other chemical attacks have taken place, can't one argue that we have via whatever has been done diplomatically and peacefully "prevented the deployment and use?" So, if we don't then attack Syria, the Syrians can go forward killing each other with bullets, RPG, tanks, and femur bones of tapirs and we do nothing?
(2) What about an "insignificant" chemical attack? One that is "wafer thin" perhaps? Kind of like "insignificantly" pregnant, isn't it?
(3) Does that mean more hearings, memos, teleprompter speeches; what?
Not later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this resolution, the President shall consult with Congress and submit to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives an integrated United States Government strategy for achieving a negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Syria, including a comprehensive review of current and planned U.S. diplomatic, political, economic,
and military policy towards Syria, including:
Wait, what? How is a "limited and tailored use" of force going to get the Syrian parties to the negotiation table? That became our job when? Even if you could, if would end up like this. That paragraph is complete nonsense.
(1) the provision of all forms of assistance to the Syrian Supreme Military Council and other Syrian entities opposed to the government of Bashar Al-Assad that have been properly and fully vetted and share common values and interests with the United States;
(2) the provision of all forms of assistance to the Syrian political opposition, including the Syrian Opposition Coalition;
(3) efforts to isolate extremist and terrorist groups in Syria to prevent their influence on the future transitional and permanent Syrian governments;
(4) coordination with allies and partners; and
(5) efforts to limit support from the Government of Iran and others for the Syrian regime.
(1) Good Lord man - that is already known to be impossible.
(2)-(5): Ummm, yea. In line with (1), I'd like to see that too.
(a) Notification and Provision of Information. Upon his determination to use the authority set forth in section 2 of this Act, the President shall notify Congress, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of the use of such authority and shall keep Congress fully and currently informed of the use of such authority.
(b) Reports. No fewer than 10 days after the initiation of military operations under the authority provided by Section 2, and every 20 days thereafter until the completion of military operations, the President shall submit to the Congress, including the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, a report on the status of such operations, including progress achieved toward the objectives specified in Section 2(a), the financial costs of operations to date, and an assessment of the impact of the operations on the Syrian regime's chemical weapons capabilities and intentions.

SECTION 7. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION. The authority set forth in Section 2 of this resolution shall not constitute an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war except to the extent that it authorizes military action under the conditions, for the specific purposes, and for the limited period of time set forth in this resolution.
Bla, bla, bla, figleaf.

Well, there you have it. Obama, Kerry, and Hagel - congratulations, you have now become Bush, Powell, and Rumsfeld. Governing in this world is a lot more difficult than campaigning to pontificating, isn't it? 

I very sincerely hope that you have a firm grasp on where you are taking this nation. Once the first MK-41 erupts in flames and people are reviewing their Primary, Back-up, and Ready Spare, you will have my full support to fight this right - but really - think hard.

War is a dark room - you and we have no idea what things will be like when we step through that door, and the door shuts behind us.

As a final note, Kerry is wrong and Hagel is right - this is war. When you attack another nation; break their things and kill their people - it is war. We would consider it so, as will they.

No comments: