Senator Markey: Retaliatory U.S. Military Strikes on Syria Unconstitutional, Incoherent

Says Markey, “President let Russia escape culpability for its protection of the murderous regime in Damascus”


Washington (April 13, 2018) – Senator Edward J. Markey, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tonight criticized President Donald Trump’s decision to conduct military strikes without Congressional authorization in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons that killed dozens of Syrian civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma.


“Tonight’s U.S. military strikes on Syrian government targets are neither constitutional nor wise,” said Senator Markey. “Attacks such as this on another country without Congressional authorization are unconstitutional, and they push the United States closer to what could be an interminable, all-out conflict in Syria.


“Although Bashar al-Assad’s murder of innocent Syrian civilians by poison gas is barbaric, President Trump’s response – carried out this way – will do nothing to deter future chemical weapons use, nor help end the Syrian civil war.


“There is no Congressional authorization for the use of military force against Syrian government targets. And as we saw during President Trump’s cruise missile strikes on a Syrian airbase last year in retaliation for their earlier use of chemical weapons, the attack was neither operationally, nor strategically, successful. A year later, President Trump has yet to articulate a cogent strategy outlining U.S. interests and objectives in Syria, much less how to achieve them. Absent a robust diplomatic process, military strikes will not change Assad’s calculus regarding the use of chemical weapons against his own people.


“President Trump has failed to launch a multi-faceted diplomatic process in Syria and appears ready to repeat that failure again. Holding Russia, Iran, and Syria accountable for their support for the continuing civil war does not require military force. Instead of implementing mandatory sanctions overwhelmingly passed by Congress, the President let Russia escape culpability for its protection of the murderous regime in Damascus.


“Only diplomatic engagement, not military escalation, will end the Syrian civil war, which should be the ultimate goal in the region.”