After Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on civilians last week, President Donald J. Trump ordered a military strike on the Syrian airfield from where the chemical attack was launched. Trump said it was in the “vital national security interest” of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons, and said the dictator violated the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D-CA) on Friday said Assad’s latest attack on his own people with chemical weapons was “heinous and heartbreaking.” But Lieu, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, argued that the U.S. Constitution does not allow the president to engage in acts of war without authorization from Congress. And he said he was disturbed by the lack of any “coherent strategy in Syria” from the Trump Administration.
Following confirmation from Trump that the missile strike did not hit the airfield’s runways, Lieu criticized the president on social media for doing “basically nothing to stop Assad from launching more strikes.”
Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he will reintroduce an authorization for use of military force against ISIS and al Qaeda when Congress returns to session.
“Congress cannot abdicate its responsibility any longer and should vote on any use of force not made in self defense,” Schiff said in a statement. “This is necessary whether action is taken against terrorist groups or, as here, against regime capabilities. Finally, our concern for Syrian civilians should cause us to redouble our efforts to provide humanitarian relief to the millions of refugees who have fled their homes in the face of just the sort of barbaric attacks we have seen from the Assad regime this week.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) called for Congress to immediately debate the further course of action in Syria.
“If we truly care about protecting the Syrian people that were brutalized by the chemical attack earlier this week, we should open our country to Syrian refugees and engage in multilateral foreign aid efforts,” Bass said. “Hurling 59 tomahawk missiles at Syria is short-sighted. We cannot bomb our way to peace.”
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