Where Authorization for Military Action in Syria Comes From

Reminder: the President does not and cannot declare war. Congress does. All of Trump’s (and Obama’s) actions in Syria have been under the thin cover of a 2001 authorization to fight terrorism (yes, the “war on terror” after 9/11), which does not really fit the situation in Syria.

If you wonder why the U.S. military hasn’t gone after Assad directly, it’s because he’s not a terrorist. He’s the government of Syria. We are not at war with Syria. If you wonder why we keep doing little air strikes instead of deploying ground forces to protect civilian populations, same.

If you are a hawk, you need to bug Congress. And if you are a dove, you need to bug Congress. They’re the ones who decide whether this escalates to full engagement. Not Trump. Not Obama.

And they’re about to go on a two week break, so nothing is likely to happen quickly.