Tim Kaine: 'We're Involved in a War That Congress Hasn't Debated'

By Susan Jones | October 8, 2015 | 8:36am EDT
In this photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, a Russian navy ship launches a cruise missile in the Caspian Sea. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), speaking about the "catastrophe" in Syria, blamed both Congress and the Obama administration for failing to produce a "sound strategy."

"Bottom line, we're involved in a war that Congress hasn't debated," Kaine told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday. "And because we haven't debated it, the administration hasn't had to come up with a sound strategy. We're in a very vulnerable position right now."

Russia's intervention in Syria is not surprising, Kaine said, given Russia's interest in protecting its military base in that increasingly unstable country.

And now, with both U.S. and Russian jets flying in the same air space, the chances for "just an accident" are growing, Kaine said. "We wouldn't want this to spiral into something more sig that would pull the U.S. and Russia into military conflict."

Kaine noted that President Obama "started this war against ISIL" on August 8, 2014, to defend the U.S. Consulate in Erbil and to stop the "humanitarian atrocity" involving the Kurds in northern Iraq.

"There was a self-defense rationale that allowed him to start it without Congress," Kaine said. "But within two weeks, the protect-the-Americans side of this was done, and at that point, the president's legal authority, in my view, expired.

"And you can't go on an offensive war without a vote of Congress. He didn't bring a request for an authorization to Congress until February -- he waited six months to do that -- that was a huge mistake, and the authorization request was not really one that had a significant sort of strategic element to it."

Kaine said Congress also shares the blame, "because it's Congress's authority to declare war, and they haven't been willing to take this up for 15 months. So there is a lot of blame to be going around."

Kaine said he's come to the conclusion that our "principal mission" in Syria shoudl be to enforce the United Nations' humanitarian resolutions.

"This refugee crisis...four million have left, but there's another eight million internally dispaced in Syria that could leave. We should be working in the north of Syria together with Turkey and other nations to provide a safe humanitarian zone for refugees so that they don't need to leave their country. They know that  necessities of life will be met.

"And the U.S. mission in Syria, in my view, should be pin-point focused on the provision of humanitarian aid, because this is the greatest humanitarian crisis, in terms of the numbers affected, since World War II.

Also See:
Boehner: 'It's the President's Responsibility to Wage This Battle' (May 19, 2015)
Obama Wants No-‘Enduring-Offensive-Ground-Operations’ 3-Year-War Authorization Against Islamic State
Constitutional Lawyers: 2001 Military Authorization Doesn't Apply to ISIS


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