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Cornel West: It's "Grounds For Impeachment" If Obama Bombs Syria Without Congressional Approval

Smiley and West agree: A strike would be "dictatorial."

Posted on September 8, 2013, at 8:48 p.m. ET

Mary F. Calvert / AP

Tavis Smiley and Cornel West (right), co-authors of The Rich and the Rest of Us, speak on CBS's Face the Nation in Washington in April 2012.

One of President Obama's most prominent critics on the black left said Sunday that a strike on Syria in the face of congressional disapproval would be "dictatorial" — and grounds for impeachment.

"It doesn't make sense to commit more war crimes," Cornel West said Sunday on the syndicated radio show Smiley and West, to an approving response from host Tavis Smiley, who has also been consistently critical of Obama.

The two men, leading black public intellectuals, have emerged as controversial figures in a community whose support for the first black president is overwhelming. West, in response, has recently attacked other black leaders for what he views as their reflexive support for Obama.

"It would be an illegal war. It would be an immoral war for the United States to begin bombing and sending missiles to Syria and killing more innocent people," said West, who is a philosophy professor at Princeton University.

Later in the discussion of Syria, Smiley said: "If the president doesn't get the vote that he wants... then I hope he has more sense then to go ahead anyway. But you used the phrase 'dictatorial' — and that's exactly what it would be."

"You would think in some ways grounds for impeachment," West replied.

Listen to the whole episode:

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley start talking about Syria at 1:15 and they start discussing impeachment at 8:15.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.