Many will play “Monday-morning-quarterback” when it comes to whether the use of 59 Tomahawk Missiles in the Syrian strike to take out an airfield, was the right thing to do. Many will listen to the fake news talking heads and let a conclusion be drawn for them.
Is it the right thing to do, to allow someone to brutally murder men, women and children when you have the ability to stop them? How many of you will raise your hand and vote that it’s ok to sit back and watch more die on the nightly news?
We have American military in the area. Whether you are condemning Trump’s decision to wipe out that airfield or not; what would you have said if the next strike had been to drop sarin gas on our people because Trump did nothing? Would your attitude have changed then?
But, the question under consideration; Was this strike Constitutional?
Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution outlines the powers of Congress, and within those powers, it states:
To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
Now we have to argue if the surgical strike to take out the ability to deliver chemical weapons a “declaration of war.” If you are Syrian, your answer is likely a quick “yes” but from our standpoint, the question is probably better phrased as; “Do you believe we are now engaged in an active war with Syria?” Where my answer is “no” and I believe most would feel that way, it is strictly an opinion-type answer.
Letters of Marque isn’t a term that most are likely familiar with but it is basically farming out military action on our behalf whether it is another nation or mercenaries.
Reprisal was meant to be for an act that was short of war, such as; they took one of our ships so we are going to take one of their ships.
What about defensive actions? Preemptive strikes? Such things don’t seem to be clearly stated. Does our military have a right to defend itself without having to get the approval of Congress? Imagine the lives it would cost if that bureaucracy existed. With US military and other Americans in the region do we have to wait until they become victims or should they be able to eliminate a clear and present danger?
At the end of the day, this was not an attack against the Syrian people. It was a defensive action taken on their behalf and on behalf of all who exist (including Americans) in that region of the world. It was a surgical strike which was taken to eliminate the ability of a dictator to deliver a weapon of mass destruction.
Then there is this, posted by Congressman Jeff Duncan on Facebook:
There is and will be a lot of responses to the POTUS’ decision to strike at the Assad regime after its use of the WMD Sarin gas against civilians in Syria. The use of this gas is, as I understand it, in direct violation of a Treaty signed by Syria, Russia and the US.
I stand with President Trump on this action. Does he have the authority? Under the law as I understand it, he does. Whether it is the existing AUMF or the standing authority to act in US interests with the requirement to inform Congress within a certain amount of time.
The questions will arise about this authority and/or the need for a Declaration of War. Questions to ask ourselves: Did Jefferson get a Declaration of War when he went after the Barbary pirates? What about Reagan in Panama, Libya and Grenada? Clinton going after Bin Laden (asprin factory)?
I criticized President Obama in Libya. We were arming and supporting undefined Libyan rebels in a civil war. I further criticized President Obama for drawing a red line without acting in Syria. If there is an escalation after these actions by President Trump, I will criticize him and push for action by Congress.
Lets consider some things about past actions:
The Arab Spring led to turmoil and undefined groups of Islamist rebels in Libya. We armed some of them and then spent a lot of time trying to reclaim those weapons. That effort (many believe that Amb Chris Stevens was working on getting those weapons funneled to Syrian rebels – ultimately in hands of ISIS – thru Turkey) cost the lives of four brave Americans in Benghazi on 9/11/12.
The US led a coalition to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile after the last chemical weapons use. Apparently all of the money and effort was not very effective if WMD’s were used again this week.
I rhetorically ask: what is the right thing here? What should a civilized world do – and what should the leader (US) of that civilized world do – when an atrocity like this chemical weapons attack on civilians happens?
The world (outside of Russia and Syria) has reacted positively after this action by President Trump. I am thankful that we have a strong President of the United States at this time that the World is needing a strong leader here in the United States.
My college roommate- a retired Naval aviator (Tomcats and Hornets) had this to say in an email to me last night:
Not sure what the feeling “on the Hill” is today, but I can tell you….. unequivocally…. (regardless of what the “media talkin-heads” have to say) the War Fighters are elated to FINALLY have a Commander in Chief with a pair…….!
Criticize me if you will. I will continue to be a watchdog as to the Constitutionality of actions by this or any President as it relates to military actions.
I do not believe the POTUS has acted outside of the law governing actions of the CiC. I do believe Syria violated a Treaty. I do believe this was the appropriate measured response with the lives of America’s men and women taken into consideration through the use of these stand-off weapons.
But I also believe this was a game-changer with regards to our ability to launch airstrikes against ISIS now – not in a good way – since Syria’s air defense systems will not come up against US aircraft, unsure whether they are attacking ISIS or Syrian government assets.
Regardless of how you slice this, it is not a black and white issue.