Dem: 'Half measures' like strikes 'just prolong the misery for the Syrian people'

Dem: 'Half measures' like strikes 'just prolong the misery for the Syrian people'
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDem senator ties Kavanaugh confirmation vote to Trump-Putin controversy Full interview: Chris Murphy speaks out on the Trump-Putin meeting and what it means Dem senator: NATO has become 'functionally obsolete' under Trump MORE (D-Conn.) said on Saturday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE’s decision to send missile strikes against Syrian chemical weapons facilities are not enough and will only prolong the suffering of the Syrian people.

“These half measures, like last night's strike, may make the U.S. feel better because we aren't completely absent from the fight against [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, but they just prolong the misery for the Syrian people,” Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement.

In a joint missile strike, the U.S., U.K. and France launched a total 105 weapons against three chemical weapons facilities in Syria on Friday night. The strikes are a retaliation against Assad's forces using chemical weapons against civilians this week.

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Murphy said the conflict in Syria has gone on as long as it has because the U.S. has provided rebel forces with “just enough effort to keep the conflict going” but hasn’t committed the resources needed to bring down Assad.

He added that one of the cruelest aspects of the bombings was that they continue a Trump policy that creates humanitarian nightmares abroad while preventing refugees from entering the U.S.

“That is unconscionable, and if President Trump really cares about the suffering of the Syrian people, he wouldn't bomb them – he would rescue them, with a robust refugee program and massive humanitarian relief,” Murphy said.

Prior to the chemical attack in Syria, Trump signaled plans to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. While the U.S. does accept refugees from the ongoing civil war in Syria, Trump's proposed travel ban would stop their entry indefinitely.

Murphy also argued, as have many Democrats, that the strikes were illegal because Trump does not have the authorization to carry out military action against Syria and reminded Trump that he once said former President Obama couldn’t strike Syria without congressional permission.

Murphy warned that the strike could set a precedent that might allow Trump to launch an attack against North Korea without congressional authorization.

“Last night's attack may make America feel better because Assad deserved it, and more,” Murphy said. “But the strike is constitutionally illegal and strategically counterproductive, and I oppose it.”