Queens pols react to airstrikes against Assad regime

By Mark Hallum

Democrats representing Queens in Washington gave President Donald Trump’s decision to take military action against the Assad regime mixed support Friday after news surfaced of Tomahawk cruise missiles striking air base targets in Syria. The United States acted in retaliation against Syria’s use of banned chemical weapons, which killed about 70 non-combatants in the Middle Eastern country long ravaged by civil war.

While U.S. Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-Huntington) and Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) thought the actions by the administration were reasonable, U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) insisted the only solution to the conflict and repeated use of chemical weapons by Syria’s government was through non-military action.

“I support President Trump’s decisive action to launch an airstrike as an appropriate response. Syrian President Assad’s use of chemical weapons was an affront to humanity and this sends a clear message that it will not be tolerated. We now must have a long-term strategy and end-game for the Syrian crisis,” Suozzi said. “As a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees, I believe the Trump administration should now reach out to Congress so we can figure out the best way forward in a bipartisan manner.”

Crowley gave the move a stamp of approval, but also stressed the necessity of the Trump administration’s including Congress in any further action to gain its backing.

“As the leader of the free world, the U.S. should never sit on the sidelines as atrocities unfold. The decision to strike an air base in Syria after Bashir al-Assad perpetrated the deadly attack against his own people appears to be a proportional response by the Trump Administration,” Crowley said. “President Trump owes it to our men and women in uniform and the American people to explain his long-term strategy toward Syria and how it enhances American security and advances protections of human rights.”

Gillibrand said the atrocities which resulted in the deaths of women and children demanded firm action.

“However, unilateral military action by the U.S. in a Middle East conflict causes grave concern, given the lack of any Authorization for Use of Military Force from Congress and the absence of any long-term plan or strategy to address any consequences from such unilateral action,” Gillibrand said. “Furthermore, there is no ‘military only’ solution to the suffering in Syria. The American people need answers from the administration about their plan here and how they will bring coalition partners to the table for a long-term diplomatic solution.”

Highly disturbing videos and photos surfaced in the media and on social networks that detailed the suffering of the victims of the attack, and prompted a response from former Secretary of State and Trump foe Hillary Clinton, who called for military action against Assad’s airfields during a “Women in the World” summit speech Thursday.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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