If President Obama's announcement that he would seek Congressional approval for a military strike in Syria seemed genuinely abrupt, it's because it was. Several new reports detail that the administration had resolved to attack without Congress (or our British allies) until shortly before 7 p.m. Friday night, when Obama sat his team down in the Oval Office and unwound the group think that had steeled itself towards war for the better part of a week.

While the Times cites a bevy of unnamed White House sources who claim that Obama "nurtured doubts about the political and legal justification for action" all along, the AP makes it clear that a week ago, no one, not even the president, was openly questioning whether or not the Executive Branch needed Congressional approval to punish Bashar al-Assad for killing at least 1,400 of his citizens with nerve gas.

Obama's national security team was in agreement that while consulting with Congress was critical, there was no need for formal approval, officials said. Seeking a vote in Congress to authorize a strike wasn't even an option on the table.

That all changed after Obama took a 45 minute stroll in the Rose Garden with his Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, on Friday night. The president then called his staff back into the Oval Office.

“I have a pretty big idea I want to test with you guys,” he said to the group, which included Mr. McDonough and his deputy, Rob Nabors; the national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, and her deputies, Antony J. Blinken and Benjamin J. Rhodes; the president’s senior adviser, Dan Pfeiffer; and several legal experts to discuss the War Powers Resolution.

That "pretty big idea" was to ignore the deeply ingrained, overwhelmingly sad precedent for presidents to exercise American military power overseas regardless of what that other branch of government thinks.

It proved a tough sell yesterday morning when the president sold it to the members of his Cabinet.

The next morning, there was pushback from some on the president's team. The National Security Council convened Saturday to firm up the plan, with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, national security adviser Susan Rice and others in attendance. When Obama said he wanted to ask Congress for a vote, some of his advisers dissented. Officials wouldn't say which participants argued against Obama's proposal.

Two hours later, the president had satisfied his critics, and made his announcement that he'd wait for Congress. 2007 Obama had won. Members of Congress approved of the decision.

Based on this Times report, Syrians were "shocked…relieved, bewildered, confused, triumphant and angry." A government news agency called it a "historic American retreat."

For another Homs resident, Abu Bassam, 31, the only possible response was black humor.

“Man, I wish Bush was the president,” he said. “He would have reacted right away. He may have invaded Cyprus or Jordan instead of Syria by mistake, but you know he would have done something at least.”

There was something Bushian about President Obama's decision. Here's the last line of the AP report, which describes what our chief executives did after announcing their decision to authorize a military strike against Syrian government forces through an act of Congress: "Then Obama and Biden left the White House by motorcade to play a round of golf."

Congress isn't due back in session until September 9, though some members are already requesting that it convene sooner to make a decision on Syria.