Alberto Gonzales for Fox News Latino: Syria and the Price of Leadership

September 10th, 2013

Fox News Latino
by Alberto Gonzales
September 10, 2013

I do not want to see another American killed or hurt fighting overseas, nor do I believe that the United States should respond, nor has the capacity to respond, to every act of aggression around the world. However, for the reasons discussed below, on balance it is in our best interests to respond forcefully to the unlawful use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The use of chemical weapons reflects a total disregard for humanity and the rule of law. It has been outlawed for almost a century. The United States has more troops stationed in foreign lands than any other country. There are thousands upon thousands of Americans living and working overseas. Their safety and our vital interests are threatened if other nations and groups like Al-Qaeda conclude they can use chemical weapons or violate other international norms with impunity.

The president has asked for congressional authorization to use force, but insists he does not need it under these circumstances. Certainly other presidents acting alone have initiated military action, thus establishing a practice and precedent. However, practice and precedent do not always provide the answer to the question whether government action is constitutional. Does a violation of the chemical convention, despite a direct warning by the United States, threaten vital U.S. interests and thus justify the use of force? I do not have access to classified information; however, an argument can be made that it does. If so, then the U.S. response should be proportional and effective in furthering our vital interests.

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