Column: President, Congress obligated to create military-action plan


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As Washington swirls with proposals, counter-proposals and political brinksmanship in response to diplomatic efforts on Syria, the situation has a lot of people scratching their heads. Couldn’t President Obama and Congress have handled this differently?

I prefer to take a step back and ask a different question. Given that we are stronger as a country and our foreign policy more effective when the President and Congress forge a unified response to an international crisis, how can the two branches of government work together less chaotically to confront a dilemma like this one?

Let’s put a possible congressional vote on Syria in context. Washington has long been divided over the power to use American military force, thanks to ambiguity in the Constitution itself: it gives Congress the power to declare war, but makes the president commander-in-chief.

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