IN Focus: President launches airstrikes in Syria

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Several Indiana lawmakers weighed in after the U.S. launched airstrikes targeting the Assad regime in Syria.

The U.S. launched nearly 60 missiles at a Syrian airbase, killing at least six people. President Donald Trump said the airstrikes were in retaliation for a chemical attack earlier this week that killed at least 86 people, including 28 children.

Warships fired the Tomahawk missiles from the Mediterranean Sea, marking significant U.S. military action in a civil war that has raged on for years.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, (D-Indiana) said he supports the airstrikes and urged President Trump to consult with Congress on future action.

“I do support the airstrikes that took place. I think it was important that we send a message. That we tell Assad in no certain terms that these kinds of actions will not be permitted. These kinds of actions, we won’t stand by. But I also think the president needs to come to Congress to get [us to] sign-off on these,” Donnelly said in an interview with FOX59.


Other Hoosier lawmakers voiced their support for the strikes, including Rep. Luke Messer, (R-IN-6):

”Tonight America sent a strong message to the world. We will no longer stand by as Assad and his supports commit war crimes and atrocities against innocent civilians. I commend President Trump for taking decision action, and thank the men and women who helped carry out this strike.”

Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN-5) also weighed in:

“The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people is despicable. The President is right to respond decisively. We can no longer turn our backs on Assad’s continued abuse of the Syrian people. He must be removed from power.”

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN-4) issued the following statement:

“Given the horrific chemical attack launched on civilians, including women and children, by the Assad regime in Syria, I stand behind President Trump’s decision to strike and make clear such atrocities are unacceptable. We were decisive and showed our leadership again on the world stage. America needs that. The world needs that.”

Rep. Larry Bucshon, (R-IN-8):

The U.S. made clear tonight that the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Syria will not be tolerated.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2):

The Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons to attack innocent civilians demanded a decisive response. Tonight’s U.S. military airstrikes on targets in Syria send a clear message that America will not stand for such atrocities.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN-3), who introduced legislation for a new war authorization that names ISIS, al Qaeda, the Taliban and other regimes, said the strikes show why “Congress should debate” a new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) introduced companion legislation in the Senate. He issued this statement on Friday:

“The international community has looked the other way for too long and has failed to act as Assad and Putin have deliberately and barbarically murdered innocent men, women, and children in Syria, and I applaud the Trump administration’s decision to take action. Our men and women in uniform conducted yesterday’s strikes with professionalism and precision, and I join all Americans in expressing our gratitude to our service members. After attending a briefing today with General Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I am confident that the President will continue to receive sound advice from his impressive national security team. Following these strikes, the administration should submit to Congress without delay a comprehensive, whole-of-government strategy—working with our international partners. Our national security interests require that this strategy seeks to eliminate ISIS’s remaining safe haven in Syria, end the Syrian regime’s war on its own people, address the humanitarian crisis, and begin a political process that includes the departure of Assad and the establishment of an inclusive Syrian government. Simultaneously, Congress finally should fulfill its Constitutional responsibility to consider and pass an appropriately crafted authorization for use of military force.”

Congressman André Carson (D-IN-7), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued the following statement:

“This week’s horrific chemical weapons attack was just the latest in a series of war crimes perpetrated by Bashar al-Assad and his regime. After years of civil war, in which Assad killed and displaced millions of his own citizens, it is abundantly clear that he cannot remain the leader of Syria. Despite the outcry from the international community, Russia continues to support Assad and participate in the ongoing murder of innocent men, women, and children.

Last night’s strike in Syria was a proportional and appropriate response to this atrocity, which I am hopeful will prevent future chemical attacks. As a Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I will be monitoring the outcome of this strike closely. I will also remain firm in my assertion that any future actions in Syria, including ongoing deployment of ground troops, must be authorized by Congress. I support the adoption of an Authorization for the Use of Military Force which sets parameters for future engagements, to protect our men and women in uniform and avoid another prolonged war in the Middle East.

While I support these strikes, I am deeply concerned by the response from Russia. Throughout much of this conflict, the United States and Russia have engaged in limited coordination of air operations to avoid missteps that could lead to escalation. Russia’s decision to end this coordination significantly increases the risk of direct engagement between American and Russian pilots. Reports that Russian warships are headed to the Mediterranean further complicate matters. I encourage President Trump and our military leaders to be as deliberate and cautious as possible to avoid degrading the situation further.”

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