Prime Minister David Cameron said that Britain would not participate militarily in any strike against Syria after he lost a parliamentary vote on Thursday on an anodyne motion urging an international response by 13 votes.
It was a stunning defeat for a government that had seemed days away from joining the United States and France in a short, punitive cruise-missile attack on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad for allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians.
Thursday evening’s vote was nonbinding, but in a short statement to Parliament afterward, Mr. Cameron said that he respected the will of Parliament and that it was clear to him that the British people did not want to see military action over Syria. “I get it,” he said.
The government motion was defeated by 285 votes to 272.
In contrast, the United States Congress hasn`t bothered to exercise its Constitutional responsibility to declare war on anybody that the U.S. has gone to war with since WWII. It`s just so much more pleasant for members of Congress to delegate the decision to go to war to the Executive Branch, while they go around passing laws (e.g., criminal sentence lengths) usurping state powers.
(Some of the sub-Declaration of War debates in Congress, notably the close, hard-fought one before the 1991 Gulf War, were pretty good. But, still ...)