President Donald Trump’s administration over the weekend carried out its second military strike on the Syrian government without even asking for permission from Congress.
Congress has the sole constitutional authority to declare war, but most US military action since 2001 has been covered by a sweeping Authorization of Use of Military Force that covers actions against terror organizations linked to the 9/11 attacks.
But the US attacked Syria’s actual government, not a terror group, on Friday, which legal experts say stretches the framework of the law.
Few congressional checks remain on Trump’s ability to start wars, and a congressman told Business Insider the legislature is “derelict in its duty” for allowing this.
President Donald Trump’s administration over the weekend carried out its second military strike on the Syrian government without asking for permission from Congress, and it could indicate the legislature has lost its ability to stop the president from going to war.
The US constitution, in Article I, Section 8, clearly states that the power to declare war lies with Congress, but since 2001, successive US presidents have used military force in conflicts around the world with increasingly tenuous legality.
Today, most US military activity falls under a broad congressional Authorization of Military Force that passed in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that allows the US to “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
This has essentially become a carte blanche for the US president to fight terrorism wherever it rears its head.
But on Friday night, and one year previous in April 2017, the Trump administration attacked Syria’s actual government.
At Harvard’s Lawfare blog, law professors Jack Goldsmith and Oona A. Hathaway both summed up all of the Trump administration’s possible arguments for the legality of the Syria strikes in an article named “Bad Legal Arguments for the Syria Airstrikes.”
The article concludes that the US’s stated legal justification, that Article II of the constitution allows the US to protect itself from attacks, falls short, and that other legal arguments are a stretch at best.
California Rep. John Garamendi, a House Democrat on the Armed Services Committee who spoke with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis hours before the strike, told Business Insider the strikes were probably illegal.
“The bottom line is I do not believe he …read more
Source:: Business Insider