Trump’s Threat to Attack Syria Is Not Legal: Congressman Ted Lieu

Congressman Lieu joins civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis and House Democrats during the House Democrats Sit-In on Gun Control
Congressman Lieu joins civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis and House Democrats during the House Democrats Sit-In on Gun Control

By Rakesh Raman

Congressman Ted Lieu said Tuesday the Constitution of the United States requires that Congress authorize war or the use of force before the President (Donald Trump) can attack another country.

He was reacting to a statement from the White House about President Bashar Assad “paying a heavy price” if he launches another chemical weapons attack in the midst of Syria’s ongoing civil war.

The statement said that the United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.

It added that the activities are similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017 chemical weapons attack.

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price,” said the White House statement.

However, Ted Lieu said that the White House statement, to the extent it is meant to threaten Assad with the use of force, has no legal basis.

He added that the White House admits that the US is in Syria to eliminate ISIS. But that is an entirely different rationale than attacking Assad and Syria, a country which has not attacked the US.

“Unless Congress authorizes Trump to attack Assad, any use of force other than in self-defense against the Assad regime would be unauthorized and unconstitutional,” Ted Lieu suggested.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a government’s National award-winning journalist. He had been associated with the United Nations (UN) through United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) as a digital media expert to help businesses use technology for brand marketing and business development. He also runs a free school for deserving children under his NGO – RMN Foundation.

Photo courtesy: Ted Lieu

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Rakesh Raman