J Street Statement on US Strikes Against Assad Regime in Syria
CONTACT: Jessica Rosenblum, [email protected], 202.448.1600
WASHINGTON — We are horrified by the crimes against humanity committed by the Assad regime in Syria. The world cannot stand by as a leader uses chemical weapons against his own people and has the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands.
Last night’s strike was limited in scope, hitting targets tied to the gas attack outside Damascus, and the action had the support of a number of our allies.
However, a limited tactical strike does not form the basis of a strategy. Nor does the legitimacy of the target alone establish the legality of the action.
The Constitution of the United States vests war-making authority in the Congress. Congress needs to assert its responsibility in the coming weeks to ensure that before taking any further military action the President is required to obtain its consent. The administration must also place any such action within the context of a larger political and diplomatic strategy that secures international support.
At the same time, the United States can show and act on true concern for innocent Syrians by reversing the President’s inhumane policy of shutting America’s doors to Syrian refugees. According to the State Department, the United States resettled just over 3,000 Syrian refugees in all of 2017, compared to more than 15,000 in 2016. So far this year, the United States has admitted only 11. It is a moral outrage for our government to be turning these families away at the very moment we are furthering instability in their country with no clear plan to end the bloodshed.