Local Officials React To US Missile Strike On Syria

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Local officials have been responding to the U.S. military strike on Syria that was ordered by President Donald Trump.

The strike on a Syrian air base Thursday was in response to this week’s deadly chemical weapons attack the Syrian government carried out against civilians.

See the full statements from area lawmakers below:

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

“Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do. It is incumbent on the Trump administration to come up with a strategy and consult with Congress before implementing it. I salute the professionalism and skill of our Armed Forces who took action today.”

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

“The chemical attacks by the Assad regime in Syria are unconscionable atrocities and a direct violation of international law; these attacks demand a firm response from the U.S. and the world community.

“However, unilateral military action by the U.S. in a Middle East conflict causes grave concern, given the lack of any Authorization for Use of Military Force from Congress and the absence of any long-term plan or strategy to address any consequences from such unilateral action.

“Furthermore, there is no ‘military only’ solution to the suffering in Syria. The American people need answers from the Administration about their plan here and how they will bring coalition partners to the table for a long-term diplomatic solution.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

“Bashar al Assad’s most recent chemical attack on innocent Syrian civilians was a crime against humanity. Last night’s air strikes targeting the launch site of those chemical weapons sent a message to Assad and to the world that using chemical weapons to slaughter innocent civilians is a gross violation of international law that will have consequences.

“As I did when Assad first used chemical weapons against his own population in 2013, I believe this heinous act merited an international response. As Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee then, I worked with a bipartisan group of senators to authorize the use of military force for the purpose of getting rid of Assad’s chemical weapons. Evidently, Syria has violated their obligations under that agreement to fully do so.

“As we consider further response to Assad’s brutal actions, we must also look at those actors complicit in his years of carnage, including Vladimir Putin in Russia. President Trump must also be prepared to address Russia’s role in this horrific conflict as well. Unless we change Russia and Iran’s commitment to propping up Assad, the slaughter will continue.

“Lastly, this latest chemical attack should serve as a gruesome reminder to the Trump administration of the horror in this brutal conflict, which has led to the worst refugee crisis since World War II.  The United States has always been a beacon of hope for those fleeing persecution and violence, and bombs alone will not bring about a resolution.  We must also have a humane refugee policy as this humanitarian disaster continues to unfold.”

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.

“The chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens of innocent civilians, including many children, is a heinous act and a crime against humanity. The ongoing war in Syria is a tragedy of historic proportions – the loss of life there unfathomable – and the United States should always seek to, in a thoughtful and deliberate way, alleviate human suffering and prevent acts of barbarity whenever possible.

“History has shown the dire consequences of military engagement without a clear plan or strategy.  Any escalation in our engagement in the continuing conflict in Syria demands that the President put forth a clear plan for the American people and that he seek authorization for the use of military force from Congress as the Constitution requires. Escalation without the support of Congress, the American people, and our allies would create more instability and put lives at risk.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“The missile strike sent a message to the murderous Assad regime and his enablers, Russia and Iran. But it will have no real practical meaning or legal force without a strategy that is authorized by Congress, and engages regional allies and resources,” Blumenthal said.

“This strategy at a minimum must link military action to our national security interests, and set limits and goals. Striking a single air field cannot stop Assad from continuing atrocities against his own people. It risks further escalation of the war in Syria and may endanger our own forces operating against ISIL. Stronger steps involving Russia and Iran – aiders and abettors — ‎are necessary, including increased sanctions. Assad must be prosecuted for war crimes.”

“As a moral and humanitarian matter, providing refuge to Syrian victims of Assad’s atrocities is now more urgent than ever.”

U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.

“An ill-thought out military action with absolutely no overall strategy for Syria risks dragging us further into a civil war in which we cannot tip the scales. And put in the context of U.S. policies that aid the slaughter of civilians in Yemen and deny terrorized Syrians the ability to flee their dystopian existence, a solitary air strike exposes the immoral hypocrisy of this administration’s policy in the Middle East. Yes, Bashar al-Assad should pay a price for the slaughter of civilians in Syria. But the decision over the nature of that consequence is not for President Trump to make alone. The Constitution states that only Congress can authorize military activity, and President Trump should have sought congressional approval before taking action. Having failed to do so, he now must come to Congress and explain his policy in Syria and seek authorization for any continued military action.”

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