Once again we hear that President Obama is planning a military strike inside of Syria and once again he says he does not need Congressional authority to strike. Some would agree that we are facing a grave threat to our national security and that indeed Obama does have the authority to strike on his own. After all, a President has a vast amount of military experience surrounding him in the White House and he can draw from that extensive experience to inform his decision.
If you thought he might surround himself with those with the most military experience and find solace in his advisors knowing just what to do…you may be disappointed. Recently, Obama met with top members of both parties to discuss how to handle ISIS/IL. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi came representing the Democratic leadership and neither have ever served one hour in the military. On the other side of the aisle we have GOP leaders John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Neither can be said to have actual military experience, though both have a “service record”.
Boehner enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1968 and served a whopping 8 weeks before being discharged with a bad back. Mitchell McConnell has a slightly longer service record, although his service was in the Army Reserves. McConnell enlisted in 1967 and served less than 6 months before he was discharged with an eye problem. Neither man actually qualifies to claim veteran’s status as that would require a minimum of 180 days of continuous honorable service.
So, it seems odd that President Obama who has never served a day in the military and is seen by many in the military as inept, that he would surround himself with people of such ignorance on the issue of military action. Perhaps it points to his belief that he is all knowing and needs no outside opinions other than those who find agreement with his.
If President Obama were meeting with these individuals to seek their support it would be fitting but as he has already made clear he does not need Congress to act, this is doubtful. Perhaps he met with the party leaders to talk about political answers to a military problem. More likely than all other options, Obama met with party leaders for a photo op to show he is reaching out to Congress. However, as DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Shultz would put it, “He is giving them the back of his hand” rather than seeking a hand shake of agreement.