Muitos democratas reclamaram que o presidente não tinha uma estratégia mais ampla sobre como acabar com a guerra civil na Síria e acusaram a Casa Branca de ter usado força militar sem consultar adequadamente o Congresso. "Uma noite de ataques aéreos não é um substituto para uma estratégia clara e abrangente para a Síria", disse a líder da Minoria da Câmara, Nancy Pelosi (Partido Democrata, Califórnia), em comentários que foram ecoados por muitos democratas. Ela disse que Trump deve pedir autorização do Congresso para o uso de força militar que inclua "uma estratégia abrangente com objetivos claros que mantenham nossas forças armadas seguras e evitem danos colaterais a civis inocentes".
Os republicanos em geral aplaudiram Trump por responder vigorosamente ao suposto uso de armas químicas pelo presidente sírio, Bashar al-Assad, e por avisar a Rússia e o Irã que os EUA não tolerariam ataques com gás venenoso por parte de seu aliado, a Síria. "Estamos unidos em nossa determinação de que o uso bárbaro de armas químicas de Assad não pode ficar sem resposta", disse o presidente da Câmara, Paul Ryan (Partido Republicano, Wisconsin). "A brutalidade inconcebível de seu regime contra civis inocentes não pode ser tolerada."
A administração Trump não pediu a aprovação antecipada do Congresso para os ataques, em que mísseis foram disparados contra três alvos que, segundo o Pentágono, faziam parte da infraestrutura de armas químicas do governo Assad, uma represália por um ataque químico sírio na semana anterior. Esse foi um ponto sensível para alguns críticos, especialmente porque os ataques ocorreram em um momento em que, segundo os legisladores, uma nova autorização do Congresso para usar poder militar é necessária para atualizar a autorização de 2001 contra a Al Qaeda e outros grupos militantes. Fonte: Associated Press.
19:41 DJ Partisan Divide Defines Congressional Reaction to Syria Strikes
By Chris Gordon
WASHINGTON -- Congressional lawmakers reacted swiftly to President Donald Trump's decision to launch missiles against Syria in responses that reflected the partisan divide over foreign policy, military intervention and Mr. Trump's role as commander-in-chief.
Many Democrats complained that the president lacked a larger strategy for how to end the civil war in Syria and charged that the White House had used military force without adequately consulting Congress.
"One night of airstrikes is not a substitute for a clear, comprehensive Syria strategy," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.), in comments that were echoed by many Democrats. She said Mr. Trump must ask for congressional authorization for the use of military force that includes "a comprehensive strategy with clear objectives that keep our military safe and avoid collateral damage to innocent civilians."
Republicans generally applauded Mr. Trump for responding forcefully to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons and for putting Russia and Iran on notice that the U.S. wouldn't tolerate poison-gas attacks by their Syrian ally.
"We are united in our resolve that Assad's barbaric use of chemical weapons cannot go unanswered," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said. "His regime's unconscionable brutality against innocent civilians cannot be tolerated."
The Trump administration didn't seek advance approval from Congress for the strike, in which missiles were fired at three targets the Pentagon said were part of the Assad government's chemical-weapons infrastructure, a reprisal for a suspected Syrian chemical attack a week earlier. That was a sore point for some critics, especially since the U.S. strike took place at a time when lawmakers have argued that a new congressional authorization for using military power is needed to update the 2001 authorization targeting al Qaeda and other militant groups.
In contrast, the U.S. strike followed extensive consultations between the White House and British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, whose forces participated in the operation.
The stance of many lawmakers appeared to have shifted little since Mr. Trump's April 2017 strike on a Syrian air base, which was also intended to deter Mr. Assad from using chemical weapons.
Still, the partisan debate produced some twists. In criticizing the operation, some Democrats found themselves at odds with French and U.K. allies, who have in recent years preferred a restrained approach to military operations. And many Republican lawmakers championed the strike despite its limited nature, including the fact that experts have said it won't alter the balance of power in Syria.
The Trump administration made it clear that the goal of the one-day operation wasn't to topple Mr. Assad, and care was taken not to target Russian or Iranian forces. About 2,000 U.S. troops are in Syria working with Kurdish and Arab fighters as part of a campaign that is focused on fighting Islamic State.
To deter Mr. Assad from using chemical weapons again, Mr. Trump opened the door for further military action in remarks Friday night. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has long urged intervention in the Syria crisis, signaled he would welcome a more assertive policy.
"Assad has likely calculated a limited American strike is just the cost of doing business," Mr. Graham said. "Russia and Iran will view the limited action as the United States being content to drop a few bombs before heading for the exits. We seem to have settled on and be comfortable with being the chemical-weapons police. It's not the type of sustained, game-changing strategy that will lead to Assad, Russia or Iran changing or re-evaluating their strategy in Syria."
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), however, made it clear that a limited strike was the most he could accept. "A pinpointed, limited action to punish and hopefully deter Assad from doing this again is appropriate, but the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria," Mr. Schumer said.
While many lawmakers believe that Mr. Trump had the legal authority to conduct the attack, there were some notable critics. Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said Friday after the attack on Syria that Mr. Trump doesn't have the legal authority to mount strikes without congressional approval.
The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress, but U.S. administrations have avoided putting military action up for tough votes in recent years. The White House produced a seven-page memo with its legal justification for the 2017 strikes against the Assad regime. It has declined to make the document public.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.), the 2016 Democratic nominee for vice president, declared the strikes unconstitutional.
"President Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against the Syrian government without Congress's approval is illegal," Mr. Kaine said. "Assad must face consequences for his war crimes, but presidents cannot initiate military action when there isn't an imminent threat to American lives."
Write to Chris Gordon at email@example.com