Rand Paul Nixes Syria: ‘Mr. President, That Is Not How Our Constitution Works’

Senator Rand Paul wants you to know he will not be voting for a strike on Syria.

In a Wednesday op-ed for Time, Paul revealed his reasons for going against President Obama and many members of Congress, some within his own party.

Paul agreed with Colin Powell, who in his autobiography, wrote that “War should be the politics of last resort.”

“War should occur only when America is attacked, when it is threatened or when American interests are attacked or threatened. I don’t think the situation in Syria passes that test,” Paul said.

Another issue of contention that Rand Paul pointed to was the perception that the United States no longer fights wars to win. “I will not vote to send young men and women to sacrifice life and limb for stalemate,” Paul wrote. “I will not vote to send our nation’s best and brightest to fight for anything less than victory.”

“If American interests are at stake, then our goal should not be stalemate,” he added.

While Paul acknowledged that Bashar Al-Assad “is clearly not an American ally,” he questioned whether removing him would stabilize or destabilize the Middle East.

The Senator also had a problem with President Obama’s perception that he can strike with or without congressional approval.

Paul reminded readers that in 2007, President Obama — then a Senator — believed “no president should unilaterally go to war without congressional authority unless there is an actual or imminent threat to our nation.

Paul called Obama’s former stance “the constitutional position” before launching into an attack on how the President still believes he has the right to launch an attack even though “only 9 percent of the American population supports this intervention according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, and even if Congress votes against it.”

“But Mr. President, that is not how our Constitution works,” Paul said. “Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 gives Congress — and Congress alone — the power to declare war. If Congress does not approve this military action, the president must abide by that decision.”

While it’s clear where Rand Paul stands on a Syria strike, he may be in the minority (at least in Washington). It’s one of the few issues that has brought together rivals like Reps. John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, and John McCain. And on Wednesday, a Senate panel voted to approve a strike as well.

Paul does have most of America on his side, though, so that can’t be bad for a potential 2016 presidential run.

Do you think Rand Paul is on the right side of this issue?

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]