RI lawmakers respond to U.S. airstrikes in Syria

By Sam Vaccaro

Email: svaccaro@abc6.com

Twitter: @VaccaroABC6

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNE) – Rhode Island Congressional Delegates released a series of statements Friday and Saturday in response to the coalition airstrikes targeting possible Syrian chemical weapons facilities launched Friday night.

U.S. Senator Jack Reed released a statement Friday saying that “The use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and a violation of international law.  Their use is not something to ignore.” Reed said, “We need more information to determine the scope and effectiveness of this action.  There are also significant and complicated questions with respect to the legal justification for tonight’s strikes.”

Congressman David Cicilline also voiced concerns regarding President Trump’s legal justification of the U.S. airstrikes.

Cicilline said in a statement Friday, “The President is required under the Constitution to come to Congress to seek authorization for the use of military force. Tonight, the President ordered sustained military strikes against the Assad regime without the required approval. This is not just reckless, it’s also illegal. I’ve been pushing for a thorough debate on the proper use of military force since I came to Congress, and I will continue to do so.”

Congressman Jim Langevin also released a statement Saturday, saying “The world banned chemical weapons because of their horrific nature. The recent attack perpetrated by the Assad regime on its own people is another tragic reminder of the untold suffering chemicals weapons cause, and I condemn in the strongest possible terms anyone who would use them. The use of these weapons strikes at the heart of the rules-based international order, and it demands a response.”

Langevin said he hopes the strikes could prevent the Assad government from committing any further attacks against the Syrian people. Langevin said, “I hope these strikes achieve their goal and that the Syrian leadership understands that the international community will not ignore the use of chemical weapons.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse similarly condemned Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people. Whitehouse said, “Given the information we have, this joint strike seems to satisfy the test for responding:  it is limited, the goal is clear, and it does not commit us to deeper involvement or American boots on the ground.  The administration needs to swiftly clarify its goals and authorities for our involvement in Syria.”

The United Nations Security Council is set to meet Saturday for discussion following the airstrikes.

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