Former Florida Republican Rep. Allen West, a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army, criticized President Barack Obama Monday for his failure to recognize the tactical consequences of his decision to delay a strike on Syria so that Congress may weigh in.
On Laura Ingraham’s radio show on Monday, West said this was a symptom of Obama not wanting to deal with those consequences and looking for someone to share the blame, should action in Syria go wrong. He pointed to Obama’s actions against Libya which he didn’t seek congressional approval to back up that claim.
“I think what you just saw play out was a president who has a history of voting ‘present,’ and all of a sudden he got out ahead of himself, and he realized that, ‘If I take an action on my own, I’m going to own this,’” West said. “And no one is thinking like the military mindset, what are the branches and sequels of an action? What is the counter-reaction? What is the follow-on, second- and third-order effects we’re going to have to contend with? And I believe that is something President Obama does not want to deal with.”
“So therefore he says, ‘Well, you know, I want to do this, but let me go to Congress, and let’s get them to approve it, because if something bad happens down the road then we can always come back and say, ‘I probably would not have done if Congress had not approved it and given me the authority,’” West continued. “But let’s not have such a short-term memory. He went into Libya without congressional approval. He went beyond the 90 days of the war powers resolution, the War Powers Act. And we lost an ambassador. We lost Sean Smith, Ty Woods, Glen Doherty. That was sovereign American territory, that consulate there. We did nothing. We have done nothing. Where is our response to Benghazi? Who has been held accountable for that other than the poor little schmuck that’s still sitting in jail because of a video?”
Later in the segment, he called on Congress not to play the role of scapegoat.
“I do not want to see Congress all of a sudden allow themselves be the fall guy, the scapegoat and the exit strategy for President Obama,” West said. “He said something, and I’ll borrow the phrase from when he spoke about the Cambridge Police — he acted stupidly. He should not have said anything about red lines, and now he painted himself in a box and he is looking for every means of which he can get out of it. And if this was such an important issue, Laura, then why did he go and play golf on Saturday? Why is he not taking more responsibility?”