Dem Rep Slams Do-Nothing Congress For Skipping Town Without Voting On War Authorization

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During an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) criticized Congress for leaving Washington on a lengthy recess without having a debate or vote on a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) to be used in regards to the conflict with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Conservative pundits will be quick to jump on Schiff’s remarks and claim that he is condemning the President and his administration regarding their claims that they can utilize the 2001 AUMF that has been used to combat Al Qaeda and its affiliates.

However, while Schiff did state he doesn’t agree with the Obama Administration’s interpretation of that AUMF, he defended the President on his strategy and pushed back against host Chris Wallace’s assertions that Obama and his military advisers are at odds. Schiff’s main condemnation was for Congress high-tailing it out of Dodge and forcing the President to act alone. In Schiff’s mind, since the president has said that this is a war with ISIS, Congress should have stuck around Washington until it could have decided on an appropriate AUMF for this particular military action.

Wallace first tried to force Schiff into a corner with questions about so-called differences between Obama and military advisers and experts regarding the need for ‘boots on the ground.’ Schiff adroitly handled Wallace’s attempts to get the Congressman to agree that Obama is being disingenuous with his claims that America will not be sending in combat ground troops.

Below is from the show’s transcript:

WALLACE: Let me bring Congressman Schiff into this.

You oppose the use of ground forces in a combat role in Iraq. But the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Dempsey, the Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno say that they may be need. And so, in fact, does Robert Gates the first Obama secretary of defense. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT GATES, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: There will be boots on the ground if there’s to be any hope of success in the strategy. I think by continuing to repeat that the president in effect traps himself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Congressman, are Gates and Odierno and Dempsey, are they all wrong?

SCHIFF: No, I don’t think they’re all wrong. But I don’t think they’re at odds with the president. What Dempsey has said is if circumstances down the road pose a threat to the United States, he’ll make a different recommendation. That is what he should do. His role is different than the president’s.

But I think the president —

WALLACE: But the president isn’t saying, well, if circumstances change, he’s saying no. No U.S. combat forces.

SCHIFF: Yes, that’s what he’s saying. But Dempsey is also saying that he subscribes to the strategy of utilizing Iraqi and Peshmerga forces on the ground, not Americans in the combat mission. I think that’s the right call.

What the general is saying I’m in agreement with that strategy. If that strategy doesn’t work or at some point there’s a threat to the United States, I’m going to make a different recommendation to the president. And that’s exactly what we should want —

WALLACE: And you think the president will be open then to a different strategy?

SCHIFF: I think the president will be open.

But, Chris, I want a president who is not going to accept everything that the military says uncritically.

Look, we have tried massive occupations in Iraq earlier, and in Afghanistan. We’re in Afghanistan now 13 years later, we still haven’t solved the problem in Afghanistan. Do we really want to be in a position where 13 years from now, we are massively occupying Syria and Iraq? I don’t think that’s what we want.

And one other point, Chris, that is, the president’s role is obviously different than the military command’s role. If the military command’s job to tell the president what they want, it’s the president’s job to decide what they need, and the president has to bring our country along. That’s a tough job.

As you can see, Schiff didn’t take Wallace’s bait. He also pointed out that he wants a president who doesn’t just do every single thing the military tells him to. The California Congressman also made an excellent point by bringing up Afghanistan and how the United States is still there 13 years later. Do we really want to be occupying Syria and Iraq more than a decade from now?

Schiff then ripped into Congress for leaving town without acting. Wallace asked Schiff if Congress was abandoning its responsibilities by going on recess without voting on a new AUMF.

WALLACE: We have a couple of minutes left. I want to ask you each one more question.

Congressman Schiff, I’m going to ask you about Congress because this week as we pointed out, you did approve $500 million to arm and train the Syrian rebels. On the other hand, you’re going to go home, without a larger vote to authorize what in effect is a new war.

And the question I have is, is Congress forfeiting its constitutional responsibility?

SCHIFF: Absolutely. Absolutely. The president has said this is a war. This is going to last years. That is quintessentially something that is the power of Congress only to declare, and I think we are really [abdicating] our responsibility.

Congress should take up an authorization to use force — as you know, Chris, I’ve introduced one that would be very narrow but would I think bring this fight within a constitutional framework. I don’t accept the administration’s argument we can rely on the 2001 AUMF which applied to a different conflict against a different enemy at a different time.

So, I think it’s an abdication of constitutional dimension.

As I stated before, conservatives are going to use this statement from Schiff as a condemnation of President Obama. In reality, it is a total criticism of Congress. Real and legitimate issues need to be addressed. Instead of doing anything about it, they decide to get the hell out of town. Therefore, Congress is constantly forcing President Obama to deal with these issues unilaterally. Of course, this works to their benefit because they Republicans then claim that he is a tyrannical dictator who hates the Constitution. Instead of taking a vote and putting their names on the record regarding a tough issue just before the midterm elections, members of Congress decided to punt and leave it on Obama’s plate. (Mind you, there are quite a few Democrats who are extremely happy to do this.)

Rep. Schiff pointed that out clearly on Sunday.

13 Replies to “Dem Rep Slams Do-Nothing Congress For Skipping Town Without Voting On War Authorization”

  1. Hey, media! U FU again: Meet Pres. Obama Coalition. More than 50 nations stand with the U.S.: https://twitter.com/TheObamaDiary/status/513290764437454848/photo/1
    https://pic.twitter.com/LtabwBjMCU

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=672777206163519
    Ozturk Yilmaz #Turkish General-consul of #Mosul tells local news “Without the U.S. bombing, perhaps we wouldn’t be able to survive.” He was amon the 49 hostages released by #ISIS earlier today.

    Long withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan-38 photos: http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/09/afghanistan-the-long-withdrawL/1008003/

  2. Try it again: Afghanistan long withdrawal:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/infocus/2014/09/afghanistan-the-long-withdrawal/100803/

    Outcome of Afghan election & agreement btw Dr. Ashraf Ghani & Abdullah Abdullah
    http://go.usa.gov/pFSB

    Ozturk Yilmaz Turkish general consul of Mosul tells local news, “Without U.S. bombing, perhaps we wouldn’t be able to survive.” He was among the 49 hostages released by ISIS earlier today: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=672777206163519

    Source: http://theobamadiary.com/2014/09/20/chat-on-46/#comments

  3. Brit Hume and Chris Wallace are ABC news rejects that took their despare to faux news. Funny how they both made it on the same show and both are assholes.

  4. Congress has abdicated its’ authority not only to declare war but to run our Nation. They can’t even get basic things passed like a Highway Bill to maintain our most important basic infrastructure. They spend most of their time passing laws that are useless political ploys, that will never get passed. And raising money for their reelections. Our truly do-nothing-Congress.

    My video is now on YouTube. It is a political satire, entitled “Washington Money Talk”. Here is the link;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etPwzJvhxyI

  5. Does anyone believe, as I do, that republicans are doing what Dick Cheney recommended they do back when they had their pow-wow?

  6. It is very important to House and Senate teabaggerpukes that they do not pass any bill that could even be remotely seen as helping the black President in the White House. To do so, especially this close to midterm elections where their jobs are at risk, would get them primaried by the Teabagger constituencies in the South.

    That’s why they aren’t passing any legislation that would help America.

  7. Call the cowards back to do their job, they have done nothing all year.

    What offends me is the fact that the idiots
    will vote for these people.

  8. As a 26 year Army veteran with 2 combat tours to Iraq and 2 to Afghanistan, I ask simply what do you expect the leaders of the Pentagon to say? First, they are not politicians, regardless of their plans when they leave the service, they are soldiers and their job is to figure out the best way for the DoD to support the CiC’s desired strategy, and soldiers are always going to say, “We need boots on the ground”, DUHH!!! Especially when you talk to Army leaders, and Marines as well, but the Air Force fully believes it can win the war from the air by bombing, and supporting allies’ “boots on the ground”. Military leadership, regardless of President are expected to give an honest opinion, and as military their opinion is ALWAYS going to favor the use of military forces as designed. And when the President tells them to find another way, they then do that, and good leaders do so without letting politics get in the way, i.e.: hence why McChrystal and Patreaus are not in charge anymore.

  9. OK, but which “military leaders” signed off on Abu Ghraib torture of prisoners? “Boots on the ground” solutions don’t always work the way military leaders intend – and there is literally no way the claim can be made that they were unaware of the abuses by soldiers, to innocent Iraqis. Soldiers were put in the situation of having little or no leadership on how to handle detainees, and they made it up as they went, because military leaders didn’t want to deal with the problem, and didn’t want their fingerprints on any solution their underlings devised. But they knew of the abuses, and did nothing to stop them.

    But leaving that all aside, what about the cowardly, politically motivated decision of republicans, to just duck their responsibility for 7 weeks so they can campaign? Do you approve of their decision? Since you’ve taken it upon yourself to represent the US military’s thoughts and feelings, what do they think about republicans dodging a debate for purely political …

  10. ——“Look, we have tried massive occupations in Iraq earlier, and in Afghanistan. We’re in Afghanistan now 13 years later, we still haven’t solved the problem in Afghanistan. Do we really want to be in a position where 13 years from now, we are massively occupying Syria and Iraq? I don’t think that’s what we want.”–

    This is exactly right. Obama is playing this carefully and understands why if he commits “boots on the ground” we will be in Iraq and Syria for another 15 years. And secondly, Why should we do Iraq’s job? And the other nations that are in the region who will be affected by those barbarians? LET THEM PUT THEIR BOOTS ON THE GROUND—-and FIGHT for their country’s sake! Enough is enough. We give them the tools to take the fight to ISIS and they must! No matter what the neo-Con/War Hawks think. It’s a better strategy to sit this one out, and just pick ISIS off bit-by-bit with air power while assisting the Iraquis, Syrianns, Jordan, Saudi Arabia et al …

  11. As a retired military officer, I was trained to put my troops first.

    Invading ‘the Graveyard of Empires’ was sending people to be slaughtered in a war for oil. Remember how well it worked for the Soviet Union, Great Britain and every other Empire decadent enough to attempt it?
    Handing over logistics to war profiteers destroyed our national capability to deploy. Too busy praying to study other military campaigns, I assume.

    Schwarzenegger and Powell at least stood up to Daddy Bush and offered their commissions rather than lead their people into disaster. THAT is what an officer should do. That is the honorable thing to do. Duty, honor, country. Not political kiss ass.

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