There are those who didn't realize that the U.S. has kind of already been bombing Syria for years and now think we're more at war than we were before. Then there are those who think the strikes were justified, given that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad launched another deadly chemical attack on his own people, and the U.S.'s response was to take out Syrian military infrastructure that would otherwise facilitate further attacks.
Democratic members of the Tampa Bay area's congressional delegation — members of the entity everyone forgets is supposed to authorize such bombings — issued statements Friday that praised the action's precision while calling for Congress to convene to approve further actions.
"The Tomahawk missile strike on the Syrian air base was an important and targeted response to Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons. Russia and Iran should be held accountable as well for their support of Assad and his war on the Syrian people," said U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, a Tampa Democrat, in a written statement.
Castor's cross-bay counterpart, U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, also said the move was justified, calling the strikes "a proportional and appropriate response" against "continued atrocities committed by Bashar al-Assad against innocent men, women, and most horrifyingly, children and infants."
But while she said she thinks Thursday's actions were the right kind of response, she said the continued use of military force without first getting authorization from Congress needs to stop.
“The U.S. Constitution vests the responsibility to declare war in the Congress. Congressional leaders, the Trump Administration and Obama Administration have been derelict in following the requirements of the Constitution and law for a formal Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)," her statement continued. "The military strike on Syria and ongoing war on ISIS should prod policymakers to return to Washington and adopt a new AUMF."
Crist called on his colleagues to return to Washington, D.C. during recess to develop a "comprehensive" plan for dealing with the ongoing issue.
"Congress must also do its part and return immediately from recess to debate an Authorization for Use of Military Force to determine a comprehensive strategy for the United States and our allies. We need clear objectives to end this crisis to protect our troops and the Syrian people,“ he said.
Before acknowledging the work of U.S. service members abroad as well as at MacDill Air Force Base (home to CentCom, which directed the strike), he also called out the Trump administration for its position on Syrian refugees, who fled the country due to the threat of similar attacks by Assad.
"Assad’s sarin gas attacks on his own people are a disturbing reminder why Syrians have been fleeing the country," his statement read. "The international community, including the United States, cannot turn our backs to their suffering and need.“