Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: CAP’s Vikram Singh on U.S. Airstrikes in Syria
Press Statement

STATEMENT: CAP’s Vikram Singh on U.S. Airstrikes in Syria

Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress Vice President for National Security and International Policy Vikram Singh issued the following statement after President Donald Trump ordered airstrikes in response to deadly chemical weapons attacks launched by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Last night President Trump launched cruise missile strikes against Syria in retaliation for the recent barbaric sarin nerve gas attacks by the Assad regime against civilians. The world must take action to prevent or deter such atrocities in Syria. U.S. military involvement should be part of a comprehensive strategy with partners and come with legal authority for the use of military force. The president has acted absent any strategy and without legal authority.

Until the latest gruesome sarin attack, the administration had been reassuring Assad and his Russian backers, even as civilians and hospitals were targeted around the country. Trump’s willingness to launch missiles to retaliate for gas attacks against children cannot be reconciled with his ban on those same victims entering the United States as refugees. He should resume welcoming civilians fleeing Syria’s war to the United States. These military strikes also come with the United States largely absent from regional diplomacy to end the war. The United States needs to work closely with its partners to protect U.S. troops serving in the region and prevent a wider escalation that could destabilize the region and undercut the anti-Islamic State campaign.

Military force alone will not bring peace to the suffering people of Syria or improve the security of the United States and its allies. As the response from Assad and his partners in Iran and Russia unfolds, the Trump administration needs to present a plan for debate in Congress and obtain congressional authorization before further U.S. military action against Syria. The United States should also publicly describe its justification under international law and seek agreement from the United Nations and regional alliances.

Related Resource:

Leveraging U.S. Power in the Middle East by the CAP Middle East Team

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.