Rep. McCaul sounds off on US airstrikes on Syria

Syria attack reaction

The day after the United States launched roughly 60 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base, lawmakers have spoken out on the attack. 

While some commended President Trump for taking action, others criticized the President for doing so without Congressional approval.

"This is a horrific attack on a civilian hospital, and Assad has been able to get away with this for too long," explained Representative Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee. 

McCaul was referencing the reported use of chemical warfare by Syrian forces earlier this week, which killed 83 people - many of whom were women and children. 

"I think an authorization of use military force is appropriate here. I think Congress should play a role in this under the Constitution, so I think you'll see that moving forward," said McCaul.

The move represents a striking policy reversal for the Trump administration, who voiced they were initially not interested in regime change in Syria. 

"I think in this case he had to act quickly because you had an emergency situation where children were killed with sarin gas in a civilian hospital. I applaud him for taking action. I think we finally have an opportunity to resolve this civil war conflict that has driven so much conflict in the Middle East," said McCaul. 

"I think it is a politically easy strike to do, because everyone saw those pictures. Assad looks like the bad guy on the world stage. And he is a bad guy, he’s a barbaric thug. So very few people are going to stand up and defend him," added Dr. Paul Miller, the Associate Director at the Clements Center for National Security at the University of Texas. 

Dr. Miller said he did not believe the attack would make much of a difference in the ongoing conflict in Syria. 

Moving forward, he'd like to hear a laid-out strategy for how the US plans on handling the war in the region. 

"I think for six years now, since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, we've never had a coherent goal laid out.  What does America want to accomplish in Syria and Iraq?" Miller rhetorically asked. 

One of the key justifications laid out by President Trump behind the need for an attack revolved around the reported use of chemical warfare on civilians, which is highly condemned in the international community.  Many politicians refer to this as the "red-line" - but Miller said it's morally arbitrary within the greater fighting. 

"Bashar al-Assad killed 500,000 of his own people - women and children and civilians - over the past six years. The United States did nothing. Now when he kills 83 (people) with a chemical weapon, that's apparently the line they're willing to enforce. So the message we're communicating is - it's okay to kill your civilians, as long as you don't do it with chemical weapons," said Miller, who added the US can expand their refugee services should they want to assist those in need. 

As for the threat to US national security, Miller believed there are greater issues, namely Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula, that deserved more of the United States attention.

In response to the attacks, the Syrian government described the United States actions as "irresponsible," with Russia commenting it was "a clear act of aggression." 

The Kremlin, which has been a strong supporter of the Assad regime in the past, has forces in Syria. However, Miller added he did not believe Russia would view the US actions as an attack on them. 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment