On Thursday night, President Trump launched a major missile strike against Syria, stating that the action was in retaliation for the deplorable chemical-weapons attack on Syrian civilians earlier this week and asserting that it was in the United States’s “vital national-security interest…to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.”
However, as The Nation’s John Nichols points out, the Constitution requires authorization by Congress—something Trump did not have—to declare war. And Congress is about to leave Washington for its spring recess. Nichols quotes Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of California and the lone vote against President George W. Bush’s 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force: “At a time when President Trump stands on the verge of marching our nation into another war with unknown costs and consequences, Congress should not be on recess. I urge the Speaker to honor the Constitution and require a debate and vote on any further use of force in Syria.”
It is vital that our representatives feel the heat from constituents angry about yet another illegal war in the Middle East. They must act swiftly and decisively to rein in Trump’s illegal military escalation in Syria.
Only Congress can authorize the kind of military force Trump just unleashed on Syria. We strongly urge our representatives to cancel their spring recess and immediately return to Washington to hold debates on and rein in Trump’s illegal escalation of military force in Syria.