The U.S. military launched airstrikes against government forces in Syria today.
Under the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution, Congress has the sole authority to decide when U.S. military force will be used if the U.S. has not been attacked. Congress never authorized Trump to attack Syria, which has not attacked the U.S.
Rep. Ted Lieu [D-CA] stated: "If true, this is FRICKIN ILLEGAL. Trump does not have Congressional authorization to attack Syria, a country that has not attacked US."
In January, Obama deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said part of why Obama didn't attack Syria unilaterally - without Congress' approval - was fear of impeachment. "[W]e had no domestic legal basis. We actually had Congress warning us against taking action without congressional authorization, which we interpreted as the president could face impeachment," Rhodes said. "They laid down markers that this would not be constitutional. If we got drawn into a conflict in Syria without congressional authorization, without international authorization, without international support, you can see very clearly how that could have completely derailed this entire presidency."
On April 6, President Trump attacked Syria without Congressional authorization, violating the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. On April 8, he said he would take additional action as he deemed necessary. He has not yet agreed to seek Congressional authorization before further military action.
Representative Zoe Lofgren [CA-19] is circulating a bipartisan letter to President Trump, demanding that he seek Congressional authorization before further military action in Syria. The Lofgren letter echoes a bipartisan 2013 letter led by then-Republican Representative Scott Rigell to then-President Obama, pressing him to come to Congress before U.S. military action in Syria. 
Urge your Representative to support the Lofgren letter by signing our petition at MoveOn.
On April 10, 55 Members of the House sent a bipartisan letter to President Trump and Attorney General Sessions demanding that President Trump seek authorization from Congress before escalating militarily in Yemen. Rep. Mark Pocan said, “Administration officials have proposed the U.S. participate directly in an attack on Yemen's major port. Such an attack could push the country into full-blown famine...this letter is a first step in reasserting our Constitutional check on presidential powers. I am committed to pursuing all tools at our disposal to ensure President Trump abides by our Constitution before possibly plunging our country into another senseless conflict.” Rep. Ted Lieu said, “President Trump does not have the authority to send U.S. forces to battle the Houthis in Yemen, period."
Press your representatives to pledge to invoke the War Powers Resolution when they return from recess to explicitly prohibit military escalation in Syria and Yemen by signing our petition on MoveOn.
On April 6, President Trump attacked Syria without congressional authorization. Many Members of Congress have said that President Trump did not have authority for this attack and that the President must seek authorization from Congress before any further military action.
Following Nixon's unauthorized escalations of the Vietnam War, the Congressional Framers of the War Powers Resolution knew that it was likely that future Presidents would try to use military force without Congressional authorization. That's why they put multiple mechanisms in the WPR to help future Congresses defend their war powers.
One of those mechanisms was the requirement that the President report in writing to Congress within 48 hours of using military force without a declaration of war, stating: "(A) the circumstances necessitating the introduction of United States Armed Forces; (B) the constitutional and legislative authority under which such introduction took place; and (C) the estimated scope and duration of the hostilities or involvement."
On April 7, Reps. Peter DeFazio [OR-], Mark Pocan [WI-2], Barbara Lee [CA-13], and James McGovern [MA-2] sent a letter to Trump reminding him that under the War Powers Resolution, he has 48 hours to report to Congress on his unauthorized strike.
Add your voice to those of DeFazio, Pocan, Lee and McGovern by signing our petition at MoveOn.
President Trump has attacked Syria without Congressional authorization, violating the U.S. Constitution. Congress must assert its war powers, invoking the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.
Congress must insist that no further attacks take place without Congressional authorization and that U.S. forces be withdrawn from unauthorized conflict. Congress must invoke the War Powers Resolution to debate and vote on a privileged resolution for the withdrawal of U.S. forces if President Trump refuses to remove U.S. forces from the conflict.
Urge your representatives to invoke the War Powers Resolution to withdraw U.S. forces from unauthorized conflict by signing our petition at MoveOn.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has introduced a bipartisan bill to block additional U.S. forces from being sent into Syria. H.R. 1473 prohibits the Department of Defense from funding any attempt by the administration to expand our presence in Syria by putting U.S. combat boots on the ground. Under the bill, the Pentagon would be prohibited from using funds to send troops to Syria for ground combat operations, award a contract to a private security firm for ground activity or otherwise establish or maintain a presence of U.S. troops or a private security contractor in Syria. The bill would allow for exceptions to “protect, rescue or remove” U.S. personnel.
Urge your Rep. to co-sponsor H.R. 1473 by signing our petition at MoveOn.
“I strongly object to the White House’s decision to unilaterally place U.S. boots on the ground in Syria," Rep. Lee said. "The Constitution is clear: Congress must debate, vote and authorize the use of military force in matters of war and peace." Twenty Members of the House have co-sponsored the bill.
Urge your Rep. to co-sponsor H.R. 1473 by signing and sharing our petition.
The Trump Administration is considering deploying U.S. ground troops to Syria, something that the Obama Administration opposed, along with most Democrats and war-skeptic Republicans. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said, "It would be a really rotten, no good, bad idea to have ground troops in Syria." Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said, "Sending combat troops into Syria would make the unforced errors of the first four weeks look like child's play." California Representative Ted Lieu said, "As Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, I want to say that sending ground troops to Syria is a VERY BAD IDEA."
Urge Congressional candidates Jon Ossoff & Karen Handel to publicly oppose the deployment of ground troops to Syria by signing our petition at MoveOn.
CNN has reported that the Defense Department "might propose that the US send conventional ground combat forces into northern Syria for the first time," and that the move would "significantly alter US military operations in Syria if approved and could put troops on the ground within weeks." CNN says "one goal of their presence would be to help reassure Turkey that Kurdish forces are not posing a threat to Ankara's interests." "Reassuring Turkey" a terrible reason to deploy U.S. troops to danger in Syria.
Urge your Reps. to say sending ground troops to Syria is a terrible idea by signing our petition at MoveOn.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says, "It would be a really rotten, no good, bad idea to have ground troops in Syria." Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy says, "Sending combat troops into Syria would make the unforced errors of the first four weeks look like child's play." California Representative Ted Lieu says, "As Member of House Foreign Affairs Committee, I want to say that sending ground troops to Syria is a VERY BAD IDEA."
Urge your Senators and Representative to join Chris Murphy, Rand Paul, and Ted Lieu in denouncing the idea of sending U.S. ground troops to Syria by signing and sharing our petition.
The Washington Post reports that Washington's bipartisan foreign policy elite is united in their passion for a new war in Syria, and is looking forward eagerly to Obama's departure from office, because they see the Obama Administration as the key obstacle to their plans for a new war in Syria.
Reality-based comments like this from Obama Administration officials drive the bipartisan foreign policy elite up the wall:
“You can’t pretend you can go to war against Assad and not go to war against the Russians,” said a senior administration official who is involved in Middle East policy and was granted anonymity to discuss internal White House deliberations.
New York Representative Eliot Engel, who voted for the Iraq war and opposed the Iran nuclear deal is trying to promote a new war in Syria and undermine U.S. diplomacy with a bill that calls for the U.S. to impose a "no fly zone" against Russian and Syrian planes. Engel's bill also attacks the Iran nuclear deal by re-imposing sanctions on Iran that were lifted in the deal.
Call your Representative now at (202) 224-3121. When you reach a staffer or leave a message, you can say something like:
"I urge you to oppose Engel's bill HR 5732. This bill promotes a new war in Syria, undermines U.S. diplomacy, and undermines the Iran nuclear deal."
Now that Hillary Clinton is the "presumptive Democratic nominee," some inside-the-Beltway supporters of Clinton who want more war are being more open about their pro-war agenda. Michele Floury, the former Defense Department official whom Defense One calls "the woman expected to run the Pentagon under Hillary Clinton," this week advocated for "sending more American troops into combat against ISIS and the Assad regime than the Obama administration has been willing to commit." Floury said she would "direct U.S. troops to push President Bashar al-Assad's forces out of southern Syria and would send more American boots to fight the Islamic State in the region."
It's not a done deal that Flournoy will be Secretary of Defense; at the very least, we should have a public debate over whether a Secretary of Defense who advocates for more war is the kind of Secretary of Defense that we want to have. As the Democratic primaries and caucuses have just shown, in order to have a real debate, we need to have an alternative candidate.