State Senate delegations react to Syria Strikes

Durbin, Duckworth, Ernst

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - We're hearing from our state senate delegation on the US-led missile strikes on Syria.

U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL):

"White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called me personally before the President's announcement, and last Tuesday, Defense Secretary Mattis briefed me on the early planning and involvement of our allies, Great Britain and France. 

"I supported President Obama's decision to retaliate when Assad first used chemical weapons. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to authorize that action but only two Republican senators would publicly support it, and without congressional support, President Obama did not proceed. 

"President Trump's action still raises the constitutional question of his authority to unilaterally attack another nation without congressional authorization. It is time for Congress and the American people to engage in a national debate about that authorization to use military force in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.
"This issue is only further complicated by the Administration's decimation of the State Department, as well as this President congratulating Vladimir Putin for his sham re-election and then confronting him for his role in the atrocities in Syria days later."

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL):

"The world cannot turn a blind eye to the Assad regime's repeated use of illegal chemical weapons against their own people. Violations of absolute, unquestioned international norms, like the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, must be confronted by the entire international community. While these strikes will have undoubtedly degraded the Assad regime's ability to conduct a chemical weapons attack, we must be clear-eyed about whether they will actually change this regime's behavior. The military strike the United States launched on a Syrian airfield a year ago in response to the sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun did not prevent Assad from continuing to use chemical weapons to murder innocent civilians - this month's attack was not an anomaly. The international community had a moral obligation to act but limited airstrikes will not be effective without a broader strategy with our allies that connects military action with political objectives.

"To date, the President has not offered a strategy. Instead, he initially reacted to the chemical attack recklessly, tweeting military threats and signaling his intentions. 

"While the President rightly consulted our allies, I am also particularly alarmed that the Trump Administration did not first seek Congressional authorization for these strikes despite having ample time to do so, leaving these strikes on questionable legal ground. Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the responsibility to authorize military action. It's past time we acted like the coequal branch of government we are and had a debate about any further use of military force as the Constitution requires."

U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA):
"Tonight, the United States and our allies executed a strong and unified response to the Assad regime's recent attacks, making clear that their horrific crimes and use of chemical weapons against their own people will not be tolerated. The evidence produced is indisputable: Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal, and he will be held accountable for his actions.
"Russia and Iran are complicit in these chemical weapons attacks on innocent populations. The Trump administration has shown decisive and precise global leadership. We must remain unified with our allies to put a stop to these continued attacks on the Syrian people once and for all."

Local 4 News has not received a statement from Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley.

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