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Judge Napolitano: Syria Resolution Intentionally Vague So Obama Can Put Boots On The Ground

JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO: It's a tremendous amount of wiggle room for a couple of reasons. As a practical matter, as your previous guest Aaron just said, when you send missiles into a country, you need boots on the ground to guide the missiles where they're going to land. So Secretary Kerry may very well shrewdly have been mincing words. The government considers military troops out of uniform, out of uniform, or CIA in their nonuniform garb not to be ‘boots on the ground.’

So I would have asked Secretary Kerry, will the American military or will American intelligence agents be on the ground, whether you consider them boots or not? It’s inconceivable that we can send the type of missiles over there that the president and his Republican allies in Congress now contemplate, Sen. McCain leading the charge, without some American human beings, whether they’re wearing boots or not, to be on the ground. So, Secretary Kerry, in my view, was misleading the Congress.

Now here’s the Constitutional issue. The Constitution says only the Congress can declare war but the president wages it. The president can't declare war and Congress can't wage it. What does that mean? That means that once the Congress gives authorization for the president to bring down either the chemical weaponry of the Assad regime, or as Senator McCain wants, the Assad regime itself, the Congress can't pull the president back. The Congress can't tell the president how to wage war.

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NAPOLITANO: Our conversation now is largely hypothetical. No judge is going to say, ‘oh, the president violated this resolution; I’m going to sign a piece of paper enjoining the president.’ No American judge will do that. But the president, once unleashed by Congress will be free to put all the boots on the ground he wants no matter what the resolution says. John McCain knows that, John Kerry knows that, and the president knows. The American people need to know it.

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