President Obama's announcement Saturday that he would seek congressional authorization for military strikes against Syria sets the stage for a two-week campaign of media propaganda and political intimidation. Its goal is to browbeat the American people into accepting yet another imperialist war in the Middle East.
Obama's announcement was an abrupt reversal, after a week in which US officials suggested that a unilateral American attack on Syria was imminent, using the pretext of an alleged chemical weapons attack August 21 in the suburbs of Damascus.
The announcement incorporated what Obama described as two separate decisions: to "take military action against Syrian regime targets," and to seek authorization for such action beforehand from Congress.
Obama's language was carefully constructed to allow maximum flexibility in escalating the military action. "Syrian regime targets" is specifically not limited to the Syrian military, but includes the political leadership, up to and including President Bashar al-Assad, who is likely to be targeted by US drones, already active in Syrian airspace, as well as cruise missiles.
As for going to Congress, Obama made it explicit that, in his view, he was not bound to abide by the results of a congressional vote. He could launch missiles strikes and bombing raids even if Congress rejects the measure. He also acknowledged that the attack on Syria would not be authorized by the United Nations.
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