Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Good For Trump on Syria Strike and MOAB

There has been some anxiety on the right about President Donald Trump's surprise bombing of Syria and then using the Mother of All Bombs ("MOAB" on Isis strongholds in Afghanistan.

I was relieved to see an American president acting like an American president again. Trump said he'd bomb the sh** out of Isis, and he kept his promised.

The Syrians lied to the Obama administration. As recent horrific pictures showed, the Assad regime did not get rid of its chemical weapons. That was a blatant, repeated lie to among others, America's secretary of state. We have a national security interest in countries not lying to our government about their possession of chemical weapons.

The pictures of the children dying from exposure to chemical gas called for a response on a visceral level. The lies to our government about the destruction of chemical weapons also called for a response. The two wrongs dovetailed into something that Trump was right to address forcefully.

I take seriously Sen. Rand Paul's concerns about the U.S. waging unconstitutional wars. There is no reason for Congress to fail to decline war in instances like Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars. Certainly those conflicts dragged on long enough that there was plenty of time.

But the strikes in Syria and the MOAB bombing in Afghanistan were in and out -- not protracted wars. A Congressional Declaration of War would have destroyed any element of surprise. And I think the bombings are also distinguishable because we did not send in troops.

Without analyzing precedents on the war powers act, these limited bombings strike me as constitutional.

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