Commentary: WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), First Vice Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Peace and Security Taskforce Chair Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and CPC Member Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) released the following statements today after President Trump deployed an additional 400 troops into Syria without Congressional debate or authorization.
“Donald Trump’s deployment of 400 additional troops into Syria without a clear objective is reckless to say the least – it’s a step towards yet another full-fledged ground war,” Rep. Grijalva said. “We do not have a strategy to liberate the Syrian people from ISIS or from Assad. It is irresponsible for this administration to send our troops into conflict that is so convoluted that we don’t know who we’re supporting, or what their objectives actually are. We already have 500 troops in Syria that President Obama deployed, and that’s 500 too many. Donald Trump is doing exactly what he does best with regards to Syria – he’s taking a bad situation and making it much, much worse.”
“Today’s revelation that about 400 additional forces, including Marines, are being sent to Syria is concerning and signals mission creep,” Rep. Ellison said. “After years of war and hundreds of thousands of civilians killed, it is clear that increased U.S. military action will not solve the crisis in Syria. Diplomatic solutions are more likely to bring peace to the region and must be explored. American soldiers and their families cannot afford being involved in another prolonged conflict, and this decision is likely to send us down that road.”
“President Trump is recklessly deploying ground troops in Syria, betraying voters who believed his promise that ‘every decision’ on foreign policy would benefit American workers and American families,” said Rep. Pocan. “His deployment of American service members is a dangerous misuse of a 15-year-old congressional authorization designed to pursue those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. I have long believed that the constitutional power of Congress to declare war was designed in order to avoid actions like this ill-considered deployment. It is past time for the President to develop a coherent strategy against ISIS with the input and approval of Congress.”
"For fifteen years, the U.S. has been engaged in an ever-expanding war in the Middle East. President Trump's deployment of ground troops in Syria is the latest front in the endless war,” Rep. Lee said. “In 2001, I was the lone member of Congress to vote against handing President Bush a blank check for war. More than fifteen years later, this Authorization for the Use of Military Force is still being used to justify military actions around the globe, including this new deployment into Syria.”
“I strongly object to the White House's decision to unilaterally place U.S. boots on the ground in Syria without a Congressional debate, vote, or specific authorization. President Trump's action today shows the consequences of allowing military escalation to persist without Congressional oversight,” Rep. Lee continued. “We simply cannot allow this blank check to remain on the books.”
“The deployment of conventional U.S. ground troops to fight in Syria is a highly disturbing escalation of our military entanglement in a faraway country,” Rep. Lieu said. “While President Trump says stuff that makes you think he may be isolationist, his actions in Syria resemble those of a war monger. Putting our nation’s men and women in harm’s way to help assault a city in a faraway place is mission creep. It is also violates the current Authorization for Use of Military Force. When Congress passed the post-9/11 AUMF to fight Al Qaeda terrorists, it never had the intention of authorizing ground forces to help take over a city in the middle of Syria's civil war in 2017.”
“Today’s news also underscores the troubling fact that the President has yet to articulate a strategy or endgame for Syria,” Rep. Lieu continued.“Americans are left wondering how long our service members will be deployed in a conflict zone, what will happen if they come into conflict with Russian forces operating in the region, what our Administration plans to do with Raqqa after retaking the city, and how this all fits in with our national interests. The President owes it to the American people to speak to these questions. As a veteran and a Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I will continue to demand answers.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.