TALKING POINTS: Trump’s Reckless War in Syria

In response to a chemical weapons attack on civilians in a rebel stronghold in northern Syria — likely conducted by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad’s regime — President Trump launched dozens of cruise missiles from Navy ships in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea to attack a Syrian airbase.
Combined with Trump’s decision to reportedly send, nearly 1,000 U.S. ground troops to fight ISIS in eastern Syria, the strike on Assad’s forces represents a dangerous and reckless escalation of U.S. military involvement in Syria’s civil war.
Trump sought no input or legal authorization from Congress for his military strikes on the Assad regime, offered no clarity on what happens if the conflict escalates as it likely will, and said nothing about how his Administration will work to end the human suffering caused by a war that only days ago they officially ignored.
It is clear that the President has once again recklessly endangered America’s security while potentially making the intractable Syrian civil war even worse.
While Donald Trump has professed humanitarian motivations for his missile strikes, every other aspect of his Administration’s policy undermines those same concerns and worsens human suffering. While some in the Washington establishment are absurdly giving Trump credit for following his heart by bombing Syria, the reality he has turned his back on those very same children and their families by seeking to block Syrian refugees from coming to the United States. What’s more, he has proposed to slash aid, cut U.N. funding, undermine diplomacy and eliminate administration offices that deal with Syria and human rights.

  • You represent us and are our voice in Washington. Will you demand a vote before any further military intervention in Syria?
  • Our hearts break for the victims of Syria’s chemical weapons attacks, and the hundreds of thousands killed before them in this senseless war. How will a few more American bombs end this war and save lives? What will you do to actually end the war in Syria?
  • What is the goal of these military strikes in Syria? Regime change? What happens after Assad falls? How will this be different than Iraq or Libya?
  • America has been bombing Iraq for 26 years. We’ve been at war in Afghanistan for 16 years. When will we stop thinking that we can bomb our way to peace?
  • The human costs of the war in Syria are horrific, and we must do more to help end their suffering. Do you support fully funding humanitarian assistance? Will you welcome refugees from Syria into America instead of slamming our door on them? If we cannot do these basic acts of human decency, why should anyone believe us when we say our bombs are meant to help?
  • What will the U.S. do if its military forces are confronted by the Russians in Syria?

We are all share outrage of this chemical weapons attack, but we must reject the false choice of either bombing or doing nothing in response.

  • Assad needs to be held accountable for his war crimes. But pouring more gasoline on Syria’s civil war won’t achieve that goal.
  • The United States must work with its partners, preferably through the United Nations, and exert any and all diplomatic, economic and political pressure — like sanctioning Assad’s enablers in Russia — to help end this conflict and bring Assad to justice.
  • The U.S. can drastically increase humanitarian assistance, provide greater support to humanitarian relief efforts, and bring more Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Trump’s war in Syria has no legal authority and Congress must end its vacation and take a vote as soon as possible.

  • The authorization for the use of military force currently used to justify continued military action against al-Qaeda and its affiliates does not apply to Assad’s forces.
  • Neither Congress, nor the UN has authorized Trump’s strike on Syria.

President Trump has offered no long term strategy to end the civil war in Syria, nor has he presented any exit plan for his current military campaign.

  • Trump’s strikes in Syria risk a dangerous case of  “mission creep” with no exit plan.

The chemical attack on Syrian civilians is a tragic reminder of the U.S.’s failure to do more to alleviate their suffering.

  • If Trump really cared about the plight of Syrian children and civilians, he would rescind his executive order banning Syrian refugees from coming to the U.S. — and increase the amount we take —  and provide more humanitarian assistance to the region.