As a conservative, I’m fully on record as a critic of President Obama’s policies. Today, however, I’m on board with the president’s decision to ask for congressional authority on Syria. Moreover, if the intelligence is solid, then Congress needs to give President Obama his requested authority. It is absolutely correct for the president to seek congressional approval. Sadly, it appears he is seeking such authority for all the wrong reasons.

Still, it’s the right thing to do. The fact that President Obama is backing into this correct decision doesn’t mean it is the wrong decision.

Our elected officials need to be convinced that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad’s advisors made the call that resulted in several mass killings of civilians by chemical or biological WMDs. If that is proven to an acceptable degree, then I cannot see how a member of Congress cannot give President Obama this authority; Democrat or Republican. If it is proven that the Assad government is to blame, then to vote against giving the president authority is, I believe, an abrogation of leadership.

I’m certainly not privy to the intelligence, so I rely on our elected leaders; I take a leap of faith. I do believe there are times when America must act against world tyrants when a “national interest” is not readily apparent.

In fact, when did “national interest” become the sole reason whether or not America goes to the rescue of the oppressed? We have a higher calling — a moral calling — in the world. If a despot is using WMDs to kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children, then how can America simply stand by and watch?

So what brought us to this Keystone Cops decision-making moment? Sadly, we are now reaping the devastating rewards (or should I say results) of no foreign policy. Many say failed foreign policy, but it is not a failure.

Today, our friends do not trust us and our enemies do not fear us.

One must have a plan to have success or failure. In four and a half years, this President has conducted foreign policy with no discernable plan; only a series of campaign-like speeches, written for him by some Rhodes Scholars, in the basement of The White House, and delivered via teleprompter.

I believe Benghazi was simply the final straw on the global stage. The actions of this Administration before, during, and after Benghazi were so abysmally poor, that world leaders were left with their collective jaws in their laps over such a foreign policy catastrophe.

So today, on Syria, President Obama does not have the support of the American people. He does not have the standing in the world to put together any coalition of allies. He now can’t even depend on our best friends, the Brits, to assist.

Today, our friends do not trust us and our enemies do not fear us.

He is alone. His speeches no longer move people to action. His only hope and salvation is to beg Congress for its support. It’s the right thing to do; except it is for all of the wrong reasons.

Looking for a political life line is no reason to seek authority from Congress. Congress and the president should sing from the same song sheet when conducting military affairs; but this president did everything possible to avoid going to Congress for such authority.

But when all the smoke clears, when a President of the United States, of either political party, asks the U.S. Congress for authority on a military matter, then the default goes to supporting the president. And there must be substantive and compelling contrary intelligence for Congress not to give him the requested approval.


Jeffrey Taylor
About The Author Jeffrey Taylor
Jeffrey L. Taylor is managing partner of the Washington, DC-based government relations firm He served on Capitol Hill in several capacities and in the administration of President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter at @USGRI_Lobbyist.

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