STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Biden sends letter to congressional leadership explaining justification for Syria strike

President Joe Biden sent a letter to congressional leadership Saturday exp...

Posted: Feb 27, 2021 6:46 PM

President Joe Biden sent a letter to congressional leadership Saturday explaining the reasoning behind Thursday's airstrike in Syria, which has been criticized by some Democrats in the latest fight between the executive and legislative branches over war powers.

In the letter, which fulfills an obligation of the President listed in the War Powers Resolution, Biden outlined the details of the strike -- the US military's first known action under his administration -- and said the action was "pursuant to the United States' inherent right of self-defense as reflected in Article 51 of the United Nations Charter."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that the Department of Defense briefed congressional leadership ahead of the strike. "The Administration has been briefing the Hill at the Member- and staff-level today. There will be a full classified briefing early next week at the latest," Psaki said while traveling with the President to Texas.

"At my direction, on February 25, 2021, United States forces conducted a targeted military strike against infrastructure in eastern Syria used by Iran-supported non-state militia groups," Biden wrote in the Saturday letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate.

"Those non-state militia groups were involved in recent attacks against United States and Coalition personnel in Iraq, including the February 15, 2021, attack in Erbil, Iraq, which wounded one United States service member, wounded four United States contractors, including one critically, and killed one Filipino contractor."

Biden wrote that the US "always stands ready to take necessary and proportionate action in self-defense, including when, as is the case here, the government of the state where the threat is located is unwilling or unable to prevent the use of its territory by non-state militia groups responsible for such attacks."

His administration has said the strike was in response to Iranian-backed militia groups' rocket attacks on American forces in recent weeks, and was backed by Article II of the Constitution, as well as the Charter of the United Nations.

But some Democrats said that Congress has not passed an authorization for the use of military force specifically in Syria, and previous resolutions passed in 2001 and 2002 were designed for attacking those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks and to go into war with Iraq. Congress has not declared war since 1942.

"This makes President Biden the seventh consecutive US president to order strikes in the Middle East," said California Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna. "There is absolutely no justification for a president to authorize a military strike that is not in self-defense against an imminent threat without congressional authorization."

For years, as the US struck sites in Syria and elsewhere, some members of Congress pushed to repeal a broadly interpreted 2001 AUMF and pass a more narrowly defined war powers resolution.

Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said Friday that Congress "must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously," noting that "offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances."

A National Security Council spokesperson said that the administration went through a "rigorous process to include legal review of the strikes conducted," and said "the strikes were necessary to address the threat and proportionate to the prior attacks."

St. Joseph
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 33°
Clarinda
Partly Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 30°
St. Joseph
Clear
37° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
Chillicothe/Agri
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 56° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Falls City
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 33°
A few areas of frost are possible this morning as temperatures have fallen into the mid 30s. Today temperatures will remain below average with highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s under mostly sunny skies. A few clouds will move back into the area tonight as temperatures dip down into the mid to lower 30s. Areas of frost will be possible again early Thursday morning. Conditions will stay relatively the same on Thursday with highs in the upper 50s under mostly sunny skies. Rain chances will move back into the area on Friday, mainly through the afternoon and evening keeping temperatures in the lower 50s. A few rain showers could linger through early Saturday morning before moving out of the area. Sunday looks to be a dry and mild day with temperatures remaining in the upper 50s. Temperatures will start to warm up on Monday with highs back in the low to mid 60s before a cold front moves through the area dropping temperatures back into the 50s on Tuesday.
KQTV Radar
KQTV Temperatures
KQTV Alerts

Community Events