Some people are getting confused as to why the President was able to launch U.S. Missile strikes on a Syrian air base without the formal congressional approval. One group are saying it’s completely in the President’s rights while another group says he’s breaking the law. So who’s right?
The short answer is, yes, the President can order military action without approval from the 535 representatives. But first, take a look at the events of this situation.
Trump let Congress know of his plans to launch the missiles at the Syrian air base which house chemicals used in a horrendous attack on Tuesday. A White House official said that over 24 members of Congress (both Democrat and Republican) were briefed Thursday by the White House. House Speak Paul Ryan said he was one of those informed.
The President has power, under Article II of the Constitution, to use force in other countries to defend U.S. national interest. CBS News reports that a U.S. official said how the U.S. had a national interest in this situation:
“The official said that the U.S. has a strong national interest in promoting regional stability, which the use of chemical weapons threatens. The official added that this justification is similar to what President Obama used in 2011 to use force in Libya.”
According to the War Powers Resolution, enacted long after Vietnam in 1973, mandated the president to talk with Congress before sending military troops into combat unless war has already been declared. The law gave hope that the President would have “leeway to respond to attacks or other emergencies,” according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Trump’s decision to use the air strike in the manner he did puts him in the same boat as former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In 2001, Bush used this same method to attack any countries or groups involved with al-Qaida. Obama also used this concept to fight ISIS. Now, Trump is using this approach to continue military action in Syria.
Two Senators specifically spoke their minds on Trump’s efforts. Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he thought conversing with Congress would have been wise, but didn’t mandate Congress had to agree with Trump’s actions. Sen. Mike Lee was a little more agitated by Trump’s decision. Senator Lee said if the U.S. continued to use military actions in Syria, “we should follow the Constitution and seek the proper authorization from Congress.”
Ironically, the Senate Minority Leader Chuck Shcumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took a different tone:
Please see my statement following the US military strike in Syria: pic.twitter.com/MmiFY1LNxS
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) April 7, 2017
Here’s Pelosi’s official statement it was released at Democratleader.gov:
“This week’s unspeakable chemical weapons attack is only the latest in a long series of horrors perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad on innocent men, women and children. Over the past few years, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions driven from their homes. President Assad’s brutality places him outside the circle of civilized human behavior. Meanwhile, Russia props up the Assad regime and enables these brutal war crimes to continue.
“Tonight’s strike in Syria appears to be a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons. If the President intends to escalate the U.S. military’s involvement in Syria, he must to come to Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force which is tailored to meet the threat and prevent another open-ended war in the Middle East.
“The crisis in Syria will not be resolved by one night of airstrikes. The killing will not stop without a comprehensive political solution to end the violence. The American people are owed a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives to keep our brave men and women in uniform safe.”
Lee released the following statement:
“President Trump should make his case in front of the American people and allow their elected representatives to debate the benefits and risks of further Middle East intervention to our national security interests.”
What do you think about Trump’s action to hit Syria without the formal approval of Congress? Let us know in the comments below!
Credit: CBS News