Bombing Syria is an act of war, no matter what language Congress might devise to bomb and still avoid declaring war. Congress should debate the reasons for making or not making war against Syria, because that is what is involved in bombing Syria. (An article with 10 reasons for not making war appears here.)
For the U.S. to bomb Syria is to join that war openly on the rebel side. The intent of bombing is to degrade the government’s capacity to wage war against the rebels. We know this is the intent because 2 years ago the president told Assad to leave office. Looking for the lowest-cost way to accomplish this objective (without explicitly using American forces), the president then supported the rebels covertly. When the rebels lost ground in the last year, the president looked for a pretext. The chemical event, no matter how it came to be, is that pretext.
Although the president has tried to sell bombing as a limited one-time event in response to a chemical event, none of the major players believes this. They know that it is an act of war. The president further acknowledges that it is an act of war by seeking congressional approval.
If Congress approves of bombing, it is an act of war — no matter what language Congress may possibly adopt to make it appear as a one-time response to a chemical event. This is because Congress has no authority to enforce a chemical weapons ban on any party in Syria or anywhere else in the world. Indeed, the president has no authority to have been supporting the rebels in Syria.7:42 am on September 2, 2013 Email Michael S. Rozeff