Trump just did his announcement, so I thought I’d put this up so you can have a place to discuss it.
Here’s the news:
President Trump ordered a military attack against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday, joining allies Britain and France in launching missile strikes in retaliation for what Western nations said was the deliberate gassing of Syrian civilians.
The coordinated strike marked the second time in a year that Trump has used force against Assad, who U.S. officials believe has continued to test the West’s willingness to accept gruesome chemical attacks.
Trump announced the strikes in an address to the nation Friday evening. He said, “The purpose of our action tonight is to establish a strong deterrent” against the production and use of chemical weapons, describing the issue as vital to national security. Trump added that the U.S. is prepared “to sustain this response” until its aims are met.
Trump asked both Russia and Iran, both Assad backers, “what kind of nation wants to be associated” with mass murder and suggested that some day the U.S. might be able to g”et along” with both if they change their policies….
I was curious to see what the leaders of Britain and France had to say about this. But when I go to British and French newspaper sites, it’s all about what Trump said (“Donald Trump annonce des frappes contre la Syrie, en coordination avec Paris et Londres“), not Theresa May or Emmanuel Macron. It’s like their involvement doesn’t matter, and they don’t feel obliged to explain it to their people — leave it to Trump. Is that the normal pattern?
Why are we committing acts of war without congressional authorization? There’s no urgent security issue here that couldn’t wait for congress to vote.
Bud, I think your knee just jerked.
We’ve been engaged in Syria on a limited basis for a long time. The action is regrettable because it involved an attack, and will likely cause a reaction. It was probably necessary as an attempt at deterrence. It involved allies, and that is a good thing in light of President Trump’s solitary, uncooperative tendencies. His mouthy public pronouncements prior to the attack are the real mistake. I think a case for a more aggressive attack, including Assad’s top army unit can be easily made, considering the way they’ve been used and that they’ve taken some heavy casualties in battles recently. Limiting the strikes to chemical sites is likely intended to decrease the risk of escalation and retribution by Russia.
Trump is horrible on most issues. This one may show some sign of listening to his military leaders.
We’ve been engaged in Syria on a limited basis for a long time.
All the more reason to get congressional authorization. These actions all seemed to be based on the resolutions passed in the aftermath of 9-11. If we’re going to continue involvement in the ME (and I don’t think we should) then damn let’s have that debate in congress and decide as a nation that that is the direction we want to take. No president should have that much blanket authority.
bud, unfortunately the lines have been blurred since Clinton sent forces to assist the UN and bombed a “baby food factory” in Iraq without congressional approval and Obama used the so-called presidential power when he was in office. Trump is the never ending example of being two-faced when he declared that Obama should have sought congressional approval when he was considering using missile strikes against Syria.
If Trump notifies Congress within the 48 hour window, then by implication he has complied with the rules and therefore in compliance.
However, I agree with you that anytime a president considers ordering action against another country whether it is a missile strike, direct troop involvement whether in advisory or combat action, or any other interference with a sovereign nation via military means, he or she should have prior congressional approval.
Too often presidents abuse and misuse their powers especially when it comes to executive orders that can establish something as the rule of law during their time in office. But, this is what we have and until we stand up and demand changes, not one thing will ever change and the political battle with rage on and on and on and on.
Understand my comments are generic and meant as examples, not intended to call out any one POTUS.
I both agree and disagree with the congressional approval point. I agree that it’s important to have consensus before taking military action. I’m also mindful that there are situations in which time is of the essence, and waiting for Congress could be impractical.
I’m ambivalent across the board.
For instance, I can see the argument that when Assad crosses Obama’s red line, there should be a quick response that shows there is a consequence to such actions. Under President Obama that did not happen, and I think his and the nation’s credibility were harmed as a result.
But… in this case, was effective action actually taken? Did Assad really pay a price? As Marc Thiessen wrote:
So I don’t know…
Over the weekend, Lindsey Graham expressed his doubts that these strikes will make a difference. Of course, he only said so after giving Trump an attaboy:
By the way, just as an illustration of the difference in levels of understanding among members of Congress, here’s Joe Wilson’s entire statement:
One of Obama’s best moment as President was when he refused to authorize an attack on Syria without congressional authorization.
Actually, he refused to authorize a strike, period. And that’s one of the worst things he did. We can debate whether having drawn the bogus red line to start with was worse, of course. But you don’t do that and then not act when the line is crossed — as Hillary Clinton and the rest of his national security team would probably have told you, had they been frank…
The red line thing was dumb. Attacking would have been even dumber as we’re now finding out. These strikes are costing hundreds of millions of dollars with pretty much zero results. We just can’t conduct foreign policy simply because it might “send the wrong signal”. Some times substance actually matters.
In international affairs, sending signals is EXTREMELY important. The right signals can save lives. It’s a hell of a lot better to have a potential adversary trust your resolve than to have to prove it with a nuclear exchange…
Perhaps, then, his worst moments were allowing troop commitments in Yemen, Somalia and Libya (among others). Under his watch, the U.S. recorded record arms sales to other nations. Obama expanded the armed footprint of the United States.
Yeah, I always liked that Obama guy… 🙂
I’ve been consistent. POTUS should get congress on board regardless of party affiliation.