Viewpoint

Congress must step up on Syria

President Trump ordered airstrikes in Syria. Now Congress needs to have a say.
President Trump ordered airstrikes in Syria. Now Congress needs to have a say. AP

From an editorial in the Chicago Tribune Tuesday:

Even as the smoke clears from last week’s U.S. missile strike on a Syrian air base, the future is shrouded in fog. It’s not clear what President Donald Trump’s ultimate goal will turn out to be. It’s not clear what military methods he may use to achieve his purpose. It’s not clear whether he will have public support for the course he chooses.

What is clear is that the decisions should not be his alone. The Constitution assigns to Congress, not the president, the power to declare war. Even though recent practice and modern technology have rendered that provision toothless, Congress has the right and the duty to take a role in deciding whether American lives and resources should be put in harm’s way.

For too long, presidents have monopolized these decisions because nobody else wanted them. Over and over, a looming fight has caused members of Congress – fearful of punishment from displeased voters – to go AWOL.

Trump would be well advised to request congressional authorization if he is considering additional action. Whether he requests it or not, Congress should debate and vote on whether to give it to him.

  Comments