Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

"Make no mistake, this was an illegal act of war, launched in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law. Congress should immediately cancel its planned recess and debate and vote before any further military engagement by Donald Trump in Syria." (Photo: Alisdare Hickson/flickr/cc)

"Illegal Act of War": Trump's Unilateral Attack on Syria Condemned

'So now will Trump lift his callous ban on Syrian refugees fleeing this slaughter? Or does he offer only force, not compassion?'

Peace groups and activists around the world on Friday condemned President Donald Trump's missile strikes on Syria, calling the move reckless, illegal, and hypocritical.

In the U.S., a coalition of organizations—including CREDO, MoveOn.org, Peace Action, and Win Without War—warned that Trump's move was "not leadership" and "will not make our country safer nor end the tragic human suffering in Syria."

"Make no mistake, this was an illegal act of war, launched in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law. Congress should immediately cancel its planned recess and debate and vote before any further military engagement by Donald Trump in Syria," the groups stated.

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who cast the sole dissenting vote the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001, tweeted Thursday, "This is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session [and] hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) likewise tweeted, "Syria chemical attacks were horrendous. Yet our response can't violate Constitution, which requires Congress' approval for military force."

Protests are also planned in the U.S. and Canada.

In the U.K., Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said unilateral strikes could worsen the conflict in the region and called for renewed peace talks.

"Unilateral military action without legal authorization or independent verification risks intensifying a multi-sided conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people," he said Friday.

The U.K.-based group Stop the War Coalition, which Corbyn used to chair, called for an emergency protest Friday evening, calling the airstrikes "xenophobic and reactionary."

"As well as deepening the tragedy of the Syrian people, this utterly irresponsible act threatens to widen the war and lead the West into military confrontation with Russia," the group said, additionally slamming Prime Minister Theresa May for her support of the strikes.

"​It is shameful that​ Theresa May​ has rushed to support this act by the most xenophobic and reactionary U.S. president in history," the coalition said.

The group's protest is scheduled to take place from 5-7pm local time at 10 Downing Street.

Left Unity, a member of the European Left, stated Friday, "Actions such as these will not contribute to a political settlement or bring an end to the conflict in Syria and the tragic events taking place there. It can only make the situation worse. We call on the U.S. to cease attacks on Syria and to engage in international dialogue with the neighboring states and the international community."

Many also contrasted Trump's numerous attempts to ban Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. with his claim that he felt compelled to act after learning that Syrian children were killed in chemical attacks earlier this week.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), tweeted, "So now will Trump lift his callous ban on Syrian refugees fleeing this slaughter? Or does he offer only force, not compassion?"


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

ACLU Warns Ruling by Trump-Appointed Judge Gives Feds 'Green Light' to Attack Protesters

"Not only is this decision a stunning rejection of our constitutional values and protesters' First Amendment rights, but it effectively places federal officials above the law."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Sinema Op-Ed Defending Senate Filibuster Slammed as 'Delusional'

Rep. Mondaire Jones said Sinema is effectively arguing that "we should let Republicans destroy democracy now because at some indeterminate time in the future they may try again."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Progressives Say 'Do What the People Want and Tax the Rich' to Pay for Infrastructure

"It is obvious that if we're going to address the needs of working families in this country, we need revenue," says Sen. Bernie Sanders, "and one way that we get that revenue is by demanding that the wealthiest people, the largest corporations are paying their fair share."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·


Doctors Without Borders Calls on BioNTech to Share Vaccine Tech With World

"The faster companies share the know-how, the faster we can put an end to this pandemic."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


Over 30,000 US Veterans of Post-9/11 Wars Have Killed Themselves Since 2001

"As we come closer to the twentieth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we must reflect on the mental health cost of the Global War on Terror."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·