Local Political Analyst Comments on U.S. Airstrike in Syria

Apr 7, 2017

The Trump Administration launched missiles at an airbase in Syria, the area believed to have released a chemical attack earlier this week.
John Jackson with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute said what Trump did was *not* legal - because he acted without the approval of Congress.

"Well, he clearly didn't have legal standing and justification in either American law or International law. But presidents typically, in modern times, don't observe the niceties, don't follow the War Powers Act. Certainly he won't be the first to have done that."
 But, he says President Trump did what President Obama tried to do.
"Obama asked the Congress to act in 2013 under similar circumstance and the Congress overwhelmingly, with all Republicans supporting, failed to give Obama the authority to go bomb somebody. They conveniently forget that now."

And while there are many questions about President Trump's decision to act without Congress' approval, the real question, according to Jackson, is what's next?
"Because typically, none of the things we're willing to do has changed (Syrian President) Assad's behavior. So what are you going to do to escalate the pain on President Assad when he fails to comply with what we want him to do based on this one missile strike?"

Southern Illinois Congressman John Shimkus says he didn't like how President Trump bypassed Congress before Thursday's Tomahawk missile strike.

Shimkus says he cautioned President Barack Obama about military intervention there in 2013. The Collinsville republican says he'd like to see other members of the international community step up and take a stronger position.

Shimkus says he's disappointed Russia didn't enforce a 2013 agreement to remove all chemical weapons from Syria.

Shimkus says he hopes President Trump comes to Congress before any possible actions in the future.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi supports the airstrike but wants Congress to immediately return to debate whether they should authorize Trump to take military action against Syria.

The House departed Thursday for a more than two-week spring break, but Pelosi wants lawmakers to "debate any decision to place our men and women in uniform in harm's way."

Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan's office says he has no plans yet to reconvene the House.