A Run-Down on the Trump-Syria Situation

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On April 13th, 2018, the United States and it’s allied forces ordered a missile strike on Syrian areas that were associated with Syria’s Dictator Bashar al-Assad’s military power, in response to when Assad ordered a chemical strike on his own people on April 7th. This strike destroyed several Syrian military targets including chemical weapons that were responsible for innocent Syrian deaths.

The United States launched approx. 58 missile strikes that destroyed an estimated 20% of Syria’s air force. Kamran Bokhari, a representative of the Center of the Global Policy in Washington, stated “this was not geared towards weakening Assad’s power, but much rather a symbolic strike.” Syria claims the strike failed to achieve its mission and violated international law. There were no reported casualties or damage to civilian areas.

There have been several responses and reactions from both within our nation and outside of it. Many have praised Trump for taking initiative on Assad’s attack on his own citizens, but many argue that the war in Syria is not ours to fight. There are arguments on both sides, with some arguing that Syrian citizens needed this in order to feel safer from Assad’s regime with many arguing for our troops not to waste any expenses than they need to on the Middle East. However, several have criticized him for not having the attack approved before Congress. Trump did not consult Congress before launching the attack on Syria and his attack did not fall within the rules of initiating a strike on a foreign power under Article II of the Constitution.

Many argue that the power in Article II, which grants the president executive power over the military, gives the president to make choices like this without Congress’ approval. However, many have criticized it and say that it demands Congress’ approval before any move is made. Past presidents have been on both sides of the spectrum, with many consulting other branches of the government, and other moving forward without many other parties’ word. The golden rule for this power, is that the president is allowed to bypass the necessity of approval if the United States is in immediate threat and the choice made is of self-defense. Several critics, political scientists, and citizens have argued that the attack on Syria was not one of self-defense, but rather defending Syria itself. They also claim we have no immediate duty to have any involvement in the affairs of the Middle East.

In September 2017, Trump set a travel ban on Syria and has yet to remove it. Despite the criticisms behind the Syria attacks, Trump has tweeted that the mission was a “complete success.” He also backs his decision, when interviewed by the website Breitbart, by saying “nobody else is going to do it, anywhere around the world… It’s the policy of the United States to prevent the use of mass weapons of destruction.”

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