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Hawai‘i Reaction to US Strike on Syria

April 13, 2018, 4:20 PM HST · Updated April 13, 5:25 PM
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa. File image courtesy Office of US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“U.S., French and British forces have struck targets in Syria as punishment for Syrian leader Bashar Assad using chemical weapons against his own people,” the US Department of Defense stated in a media advisory this afternoon.

“President Donald J. Trump announced the combined force launched precision strikes against the chemical weapons capabilities,” the news release stated.  “The strike against the capabilities is designed to stop Assad from using the banned weapons.”

Hawai‘i Reaction to US Strike on Syria:

US Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa called the use of chemical weapons a “heinous violation of international law” and said it should be dealt with by the international community. However, she said, “Syria is not within the purview of the current Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

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In a statement released this afternoon, Rep. Hanabusa said, “I don’t believe the President had the authority to order this strike and escalate a long standing conflict without a clear plan. Under the War Powers Act, he should have come to Congress to seek authorization.”

US Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi), who serves as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement on the air strikes in Syria:

“Bashar al-Assad has again used chemical weapons against his own people. This is another atrocity and breach of international law, and the international community must hold him accountable.

“While today’s action was taken in concert with France and Great Britain, the President stated that ‘we are prepared for a sustained response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.’ I am deeply concerned by the President’s incoherent strategy in this critically important area of the world where there are layers of complexity and no easy answers.

“If the President is going to shift our mission in Syria, he needs to come to Congress for authorization and explain exactly what his strategy is, and how it supports U.S. national security interests and ends the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe and refugee crisis.”

Earlier today US Representative Tusli Gabbard discouraged US military action against Syria, saying it could expand and escalate conflict, and “likely result in additional civilian military casualties, more refugees, and fewer resources to invest in rebuilding American communities.”

She urged an effort toward peace and signed a bipartisan letter to President Trump urging him to “uphold the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution” by obtaining the “required authorization” from Congress before ordering a military attack against Syria.

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In the letter to President Donald Trump, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said:

“The people of Syria want peace more than anything else in the world. Attacking Syria will not bring their war-torn country any closer to peace. U.S. military action against Syria will simply escalate and prolong the war, resulting in more senseless death, destruction, and suffering.

“A U.S. military attack against Syria will certainly reinvigorate and resurrect the terrorizing forces of jihad and increase the flow of refugees into Europe and the United States.

“If you are truly concerned about the suffering of the Syrian people, then you must do all you can to bring about peace. A U.S. military attack againstSyria will expand and escalate this war, increasing their suffering and causing more death, more refugees, and fewer resources to invest in rebuilding our own communities right here at home.

“Here is the bottom line: If our desire is for peace and stability in Syria and to mitigate the suffering of the Syrian people so they can begin to rebuild their homes and communities and enable refugees who have left Syria to return home, then we should work for peace, rather than expanding and escalating the war through a military attack against Syria.

“I call upon you to resist the loud calls of war and instead wield the power of the Presidency to help bring peace to the people of Syria, their devastated country, and the region.”

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