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FCNL: Congress Needs to Stop the President's Unlawful Escalation in Syria

April 14, 2018


President Trump’s unlawful attack on Syria will not stop the death and destruction that has ravaged the country and risks an even more catastrophic widening of the war. Congress needs to immediately vote to stop further escalation of the U.S. war in Syria and insist that the Trump administration commit to a crisis-ending political settlement, which no barrage of Tomahawk missiles can secure.

As a community of faith, FCNL believes that war is not the answer in Syria. Instead, war is the problem.

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The slaughter of Syrians will continue until the United States and the international community commit to the only solution to Syria’s unending nightmare: a comprehensive diplomatic settlement.

The U.S. missile attack last year did nothing to prevent the horrifying onslaught against civilians in Douma in early April. President Trump’s latest attack will be equally ineffective in stopping more slaughter in Syria.

Congress needs to stop sitting on the sidelines as President Trump expands the dangerous U.S. war in Syria. We urge our elected representatives to immediately declare that this new round of military actions are outside of the constitutional requirement that presidents seek lawmakers permission before starting a war.

Instead of more military action, the U.S. should support the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The U.S. should use other tools rooted in the rule of law and international diplomacy to effectively uphold prohibitions on the use of chemical weapons.

FCNL offers the following recommendations to members of Congress to prevent a widening of the war and to promote a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis:

1) Congress needs to convene immediately for a debate. Members should be encouraged to vote against widening the war in Syria. Congress needs to take back its constitutional authority to decide if, when, and for how long the U.S. goes to war. All members of Congress should demand that the administration seek an Authorization for the Use of Military Force before pursuing ordering further military action, as 88 representatives have in a recent bipartisan effort. We urge members of Congress to vote against current and future escalations of U.S. military action in Syria.

2) Congress should press the Trump administration to commit to a sustained, robust diplomatic process. A diplomatic solution is the only way to end the bloodshed in Syria, and it is crucial to leverage Russian and Iranian influence on the Syrian government. As backers of the Assad regime, Russia and Iran helped convince Syria to dismantle massive chemical weapons stockpiles in 2013. The U.S. can also encourage Turkey and Gulf nations to use their influence with armed opposition groups in Syria to work for a diplomatic solution.

FCNL’s nationwide network will continue to urge Congress to press the administration to de-escalate the Syrian crisis and to take back its constitutional authority to determine when and if the United States goes to war. We also call on U.S. policymakers to welcome refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries and advance a comprehensive diplomatic solution in concert to end the bloodshed in Syria.

3) Senators need to delay the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State until the administration provides a firm commitment to seek congressional authority before any further expansion of the war. During his confirmation hearing, Pompeo said “I believe that Trump has the right to attack Syria without congressional approval,” and that Syria “deserves an increasingly severe response.” Senators should not confirm a Secretary of State who does not rule out attacks that are illegal under U.S. and international law.

Statement FCNL: Horrors in Syria Demand Diplomatic Action and De-Escalation 

FCNL urges Congress to take two important steps to end the Syrian crisis: press the Trump administration to immediately undertake robust diplomatic negotiations and vote to stop the United States from widening this devastating war.

Advocacy Resource Update: 88 Reps Tell Trump to Seek Authorization Before Further Escalation in Syria 

88 representatives signed letter to President Trump urging him to seek authorization from Congress before further U.S. military escalation in Syria

UPDATE: Thanks for all who called your reps to sign on! Eighty-eight members of Congress signed the Lofgren-Amash-Lee-Massie letter to President Trump, urging him to seek authorization before further escalation in Syria.