Phil Gingrey, Syria, and the Congress

Gingrey’s on to something. Especially since David Cameron (PM United Kingdom) and Francois Hollande (President of France) have done similar, this wouldn’t be a bad idea for President Obama. It’s an issue that needs to be discussed and debated. Hopefully that will result in clear quantifiable goals with a clear definition of success. All of which would avoid “regime change” like the plague. For a detailed look at the various reasons for intervention go here.


Gingrey to Obama: Call Congress back

to Washington over Syrian crisis

Phil Gingrey today urged President Obama to consult with Members of Congress before taking military action in response to the Syrian conflict. Outcry from the international community over the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians has prompted questions on the United States’ response.

“The use of chemicals weapons on children and families is morally reprehensible and a grave war crime,” Gingrey said. “Given the gravity of the situation, President Obama should call on Congress to return to Washington. We must consider the next course of action and appropriate response together, and I stand ready to return immediately.”

Gingrey, along with other Members of Congress, sent a letter to President Obama urging him to reconvene Congress before making a decision on U.S. military involvement.

About Dr. Gingrey:

Dr. Phil Gingrey in an OB/GYN from Marietta representing Georgia’s 11th Congressional District.  He is the co-chairman of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, which includes physicians, nurses, and healthcare professionals.  The caucus, founded by Gingrey, remains focused on repealing Obamacare and replacing it with healthcare reform initiatives that lower costs and protect the physician-patient relationship.  Gingrey is running to fill Saxby Chambliss’ seat in the United States Senate.



      • seenbetrdayz says:

        The only interest we have in Syria is making sure we have a foothold to strike Iran. So basically we’re getting involved in a conflict 3/4 Americans don’t want so we can be ready for another conflict 3/4 Americans don’t want. That, and I think John McCain is still trying to get revenge on the world for being shot down in Nam.

        • Eric The Younger says:

          Kinda. We have interests, they are just humanitarian rather than resource, strategic, or tactical. We also wouldn’t need to use Syria as a steppingstone reason to attack Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu is enough of a hawk and sensationalist to twist the “special relationship” enough to drag us into Iran.

  1. benevolus says:

    If Congress had shown any recent capacity to do anything other than grandstanding it might be tempting. Alas…

  2. John Konop says:

    Since Vietnam……we have seen the HOUSE dodging their responsibility…..while giving the White House too much power….I have made this point many times on this blog, and it seems both sides switch their view, when their guy is in the White House.

  3. gcp says:

    Heard another useless politician, Senator Saxby Trick Knee Chambliss, also calling for military action. The Obama/Bush foreign policy continues.

  4. David C says:

    Given that Congress is a separate branch of government, and despite being recessed is still in session, I’m pretty sure he should send that letter to his Speaker and his caucus because the President can’t reconvene them. If they want to come back to consult or vote on military action in Syria, that’s their prerogative. But given that would require giving up their vacations, forgoing a fundraiser or two, and having to actually vote on something, I doubt that will happen.

    • Ellynn says:

      Technically the President can convene congress, but only for “extraordinary occasions”, per Article II, Section 3. The last time this was done was by Truman (don’t recall the year). Now if the Republicans have congress in ‘pro forma’, they technically are still in session, which would require the Speaker to call the House to order.

      • benevolus says:

        I’m not sure if they are in recess or not.

        ” when the House adjourns on any legislative day from Friday, August 2, 2013, through Friday, September 6, 2013, on a motion offered pursuant to this concurrent resolution by its Majority Leader or his designee, it stand adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on Monday, September 9, 2013″

  5. xdog says:

    Is there any real difference, practical or moral, between gassing non-combatants, bombing them into molecules or chopping them up with gunships? I mean besides being against Geneva protocols.

    • DeKalb Wonkette says:

      +1 Precisely! The “red line” appears to be about means rather than ends. What about drone wars?

    • Eric The Younger says:

      It’s the Geneva Conventions the Chemical Weapons Convention and the international norm that you just don’t use chemical weapons. Though it is a very fair point to ask why are these 355 deaths worse than the previous 100,000. Which the fact there have been 100,000 killed and 2 million refugees (half of which are children) and a god only knows how many internally displaced, should have been the moral outrage first.

      There was a really good essay on Via Meadia yesterday about Obama’s handling of the Syria situation.

      • DeKalb Wonkette says:

        Thx for article. If Obama hadn’t boxed himself in with a “red line” I am sure he’d find a waiver from the Geneva Convention.

      • xdog says:

        That AI essay holds that early intervention in Syria was Obama’s best option. It also walks right up to the idea that intervention in Egypt would have been preferable to letting the generals take over. Or maybe the author thinks we should have gone in as soon as Mubarak was out; he doesn’t say. The piece is only incidentally concerned that Obama might call in airstrikes on Syria now, mostly in a hand-wringing way of lamenting lost opportunities. When I saw that the author was Walter Mead I wasn’t surprised, given his support for invading Iraq a decade ago.

        I’d like to ask him how his rush then worked out for both America and Iraq and why he thinks committing troops, assuming we could have found any to spare, at the start of the Syrian civil war would have had a different outcome from the Iraqi debacle.

        Obama’s in a box now, a small one but entirely of his own making, and he’ll pay a price before he’s able to climb out. That’s his problem. Easy talk about how American violence is superior to the foreign kind is our problem and I really wish we’d get past it.

        • seenbetrdayz says:

          It feels weird, but I agree with you on this issue.

          I just wonder how it must feel for the 300 or so handful of Marines on the Jordan border with Syria to know that they’re basically just bait for a reason to intervene. All it will take is some suicide bomber in a van to drive up in a barracks and all the politicians will be like, “durrr we never saw that coming. Guess we have to attack now, huh?”

          • xdog says:

            I can’t find out much about the Marines in Jordan, if it’s 300 or 1200 or if they’re even still ashore. Saw a reference that they have a Patriot a-a missile system and I suppose fighters and big guns off-shore.

            It won’t be as easy to drive in as it was when Reagan put Marines in Beirut where they’d be vaporized but the situation is similar–no mission for the troops, no strategy for engagement, no reason to be there other than habit.

    • Jon Lester says:

      From the numbers we’ve seen, every time a supposed chemical attack occurs, the destruction hasn’t seemed particularly massive. Even if it’s true the Iranians came up with a way to stretch a sarin supply by mixing with tear gas or something similar (and you’d have to believe Debka to accept that), it would only further show that the regime’s inventory is becoming increasingly inert with age.

      So, yes, not only are the 100,000+ who were shot and blown up just as dead as the few hundred who were supposedly gassed, but hundreds could die in a single wave of artillery and air bombardments, too.

  6. Harry says:

    I agree with Gingrey inasmuch as I’d like to see the Senate go on record as to who among them supports this war. And you Obama people, please be consistent in your interventionist ideology if you don’t want your man to be compared to his predecessor.

        • Harry says:

          Grift, I was originally not opposed to the Iraq invasion on the premise that Iraqis have been living in cities longer than anyone and were not nomadic tribal people, and could be helped to achieve regime change for the better, as with Germany and Japan post-WWII. Well, I was wrong. Religious sectarian issues and other reasons prevent a national reconciliation. Afghanistan was never a good case for intervention because it has always been a tribal society.

          So yes, I originally supported Bush on the Iraq intervention, and Democrats like Obama and Biden were opposed. Long before Bush’s term was ended I had realized that he and I had made a mistake and frankly, we have no business putting military anywhere outside our boundaries unless we declare war and it’s really a matter of national survival against a real enemy. The various parties on Syria are not that. Even 9-11 was not that, and by our reaction to 9-11 we have done ourselves far more damage than bin Laden would have ever inflicted.

  7. Three Jack says:

    There is no justification for entering the fray in Syria. But Obama drew a line in the sand and now must back it up or lose what little credibility this administration might still have after 4 years of Hillary and now 1 year of Kerry representing us in that region. The disasterous regime continues…just hope we can survive these bungling idiots.

    • John Konop says:

      Seriously Bart? Dude you are the poster child of being for executive order power if you guy is in charge over the HOUSE. You called me basically anti- American for even daring to bring up this issue during the Bush 2 years……flip flop………..

      • Three Jack says:

        Seriously John, Bush went before congress and the UN before invading Afghanistan or Iraq and got overwhelming support for both including many dems. If I remember correctly, there were like 17 UN resolutions that were ignored by Iraq before we finally acted.

        Are you trying to compare Syria to those previous situations? If so, you are way off base as usual when it comes to foreign affairs.

          • seenbetrdayz says:

            True. Colin Powell found a vial of anthrax from our stockpile and went to the UN with what should-have-been a weak argument that Iraq had something similar but this was not Iraq’s vial.

            That would be like taking a stolen car out of the impound and stating that an alleged car thief stole a car ‘like this’, but this is not the one he stole, so he’s guilty. A prosecutor would be laughed out of court for pulling a stunt like that, if not held in contempt.

        • John Konop says:

          Three Jack,

          The UN did not go along with the Iraq invasion…….The UN does think Syria used chemical weapons…..Congress never declared war in Iraq.

          • Three Jack says:

            John, The UN committee voted unanimously 15-0 for resolution 1441, look it up. It included charges of using chemical weapons along with many others. If I recall, the reported death toll in Iraq was somewhere north of 300,000 from Saddam’s chemical attacks, a few more than the under 1000 number in Syria.

            Congress hasn’t ‘declared’ war for any of our conflicts/wars since WWII. But they have at least been able to vote up or down on the president’s intent to use military force up until this instance including Iraq (senate 77 aye – 23 no).

              • Three Jack says:

                No John, the point is that at least previous presidents gave congress the opportunity to vote before acting as is the current law of the land. You need to read up on the War Powers Resolution that essentially removed the need for a declaration of war…that is what needs to be addressed at some point.

                • John Konop says:

                  The bottom line is the White House keeps gaining power via executive order……Both parties seat on their hands if their guys is seating in the White House.

          • Three Jack says:

            The Libya attack was a response to their agents bombing a disco in Germany. As far as I know, Assad hasn’t coordinated attacks outside of killing his own people within the borders of Syria. But I guess it could be considered comparable from a political standpoint since Reagan authorized the attack without first seeking congressional approval.

              • Michael Silver says:

                The bombers of the disco were targeting US servicemen and women. That disco was a common and well known places for US troops to hang out. Two of the dead and 79 of the injured were American servicemen.

                There is no nexus between Syria and our national interest, other than boosting our Dear Leader’s poll numbers.

                Gingrey will make a great senator. He writes stern letters well just like Taxby and Juan.

  8. jpthom says:

    Boehner can reconvene any time he wants to, but has chosen to keep everyone on maximum fundraising and fudging time (spreading lies about the Affordable Care Act). Gingrey can suit up any time for military action in the Middle East. Love to see that. On this, the 50th anniversary of MLK’s speech, we’ve crossed the red line on so many things here at home – poverty, joblessness, massing wealth at the top, corporate control of our government and unending militarism. We’re in Vietnam all over again in the Middle East. History is shouting at us to learn from our mistakes. And where is the Bachman-supporting, Tea Party, “deficit Gingrey” that says we shouldn’t be spending taxpayer money – on bombs and air strikes? Action in Syria will do nothing for the US or towards our relations in the Middle East (and little for Syrians). We don’t know who we’re supporting over there and true leaders who want to become a member of Congress should know better.

  9. notsplost says:

    How about a debate on whether there is even enough evidence to justify a strike? It seems that there is plenty of doubt on who actually used chemical weapons. The rebels would have plenty of reason to stage an attack to draw in the US and UK. Plus there is the big elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about, i.e. CIA involvement.

    Amazing isn’t it how the “Bush lied, people died” crowd is so silent?

  10. achap39 says:

    Really? No one mentions the fact that he send this letter urging POTUS to bring Congress back to Washington…while he’s out on the campaign trail here in GA?

    Phil, you know you can go back to DC a week early by yourself, right? If it means so much for ‘Congress to be back in Washington,’ why are you not taking the initiative and going before being told to do so?

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