President Trump authorized a military strike on a Syrian government airbase. This strike was provoked by a Syrian chemical weapons attack that killed civilians. US warships launched 59 missiles at the airbase and killed six individuals. President Trump pursued the strike without consulting and receiving approval from Congress. Traditionally, Presidents are only allowed to issue strikes independently if the U.S. is directly threatened. In the past, Presidents Obama and Bush have used their license to attack the Islamic state and Al-Qaeda respectively. The difference between their actions and President Trump’s is that the Syrian government has not been held responsible for any U.S. attacks on citizens or targets.

Ellis students and faculty took a survey and shared their opinion about President Trump’s action and their knowledge of the events. Here are the results:

  1. Out of  23 people, 17 said that President Trump attacked Syria because they used chemical weapons to kill Syrian civilians, 2 people said that Syria used chemical weapons to kill U.S. civilians, and 2 people said that the U.S. intercepted communication between Russia and Syria.
  2. Out of 21 people, 5 said that President Trump’s attack was legal, 8 said that it was illegal, and 8 reported that they did not know.
  3. Individual responses include the following statements:
    • “There shouldn’t be chemical weapons so I’m glad President Trump proceeded.”
    • “It was the wrong move in every sense of the word. I feel like with everything going on with Russia and Syria it was completely wrong and ill planned. He is just honestly a hot mess and so is his presidency.”
    • “I think the attack was understandable but very impulsive and idiotic. He broke international law by attacking another country without consent of that country and the attack was not in the means of defense. He did not consult congress and wasted away millions of American money just for a slap on the wrist against Syria.”

 

Overall, this strike has opened up a conversation about the legality of President Trump’s actions, including the President’s foreign powers and his authority to issue an attack under international law.