To succeed in Syria, Democrats should not resist Trump policy

To succeed in Syria, Democrats should not resist Trump policy
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Following a suspected chemical weapons attack against his own civilians in the rebel-held city of Douma earlier this month, the United States and our allies have sent a clear message to Bashar Assad: The use of chemical weapons against innocent men, women and children will not be tolerated.

Acting with France and the United Kingdom, President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Fallon responds to Trump: I'll donate to pro-immigrant nonprofit in his name South Carolina GOP candidate expected to make full recovery after car accident Official: US to present North Korea with timeline, 'specific asks' MORE ordered a series of airstrikes targeting Assad’s chemical weapons facilities in an effort to prevent the future production, spread and use of such weapons. While Republicans and Democrats alike generally agreed on the need for a decisive response to the chemical weapons attack, Democrats vocally objected to the use of military force without congressional approval.

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Top party officials including House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiConservative leader on Huckabee tweet: Where did my friend go? Democrats cannot afford to play hardball on immigration reform GOP scrambles to regain fiscal credibility with House budget MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate left in limbo by Trump tweets, House delays The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Senate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration MORE (D-Ill.), and Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer: Obama 'very amenable' to helping Senate Dems in midterms The Hill's Morning Report: Can Trump close the deal with North Korea? Senate must save itself by confirming Mike Pompeo MORE (D-N.J.) accused President Trump of overstepping his authority. Pelosi contended that President Trump acted “above the law,” arguing that the president must secure a new authorization for use of military force (AUMF) from Congress before taking any further military action.

Instead of resisting President Trump’s actions in Syria on legal grounds, Democrats must try to work with the White House to formulate a comprehensive policy in Syria. Indeed, in the wake of this horrific attack, the American people want decisive action, not partisan bickering over who has the legal authority to take military action.

In fact, the majority of Americans support the military strikes carried out by the United States and our allies. According to a recent Politico/Morning Consult survey, 58 percent of U.S. adults support President Trump’s airstrikes against the Syrian government, compared to just 23 percent who opposed the strikes.

Notably, when respondents were told that chemical weapons facilities were targeted in response to the Syrian regime’s use of these weapons, support increased to 66 percent and opposition diminished to just 19 percent. While Republicans were most supportive of the strikes at 77 percent, 49 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Independents approve of the airstrikes as well.

Rather than question President Trump on legal grounds, congressional Democrats should acknowledge that the existing authorization for use of military force (AUMF) fully allowed him to carry out the recent airstrikes in Syria, precluding the need for an additional measure.

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDOJ delivers Russia probe documents to Congress Laura Ingraham: George Will is ‘sad and petty’ for urging votes against GOP Seth Rogen: I told Paul Ryan I hate his policies in front of his kids MORE (R-Wis.) noted, “With respect to the authorities, the existing AUMF gives him the authority to do what he needs to do, what he may or may not do.” Ryan continued, “It’s important for us to help lead the international community to making sure that people are held accountable for these mass atrocities.”

The multilateral nature of the operation is strongly supported by American voters as well. The Politico/Morning Consult survey also found that while 42 percent of respondents feel the United States has a duty to protect Syrian civilians from such attacks, 68 percent feel it is the responsibility of the international community as a whole.

If lawmakers are committed to effectively preventing the slaughter of citizens in Syria, they must begin with devising a long-term strategy towards Syria and the surrounding region. Instead of focusing on resisting President Trump, congressional Democrats should instead work with the him and congressional Republicans to construct a cohesive policy in Syria that Americans can unite behind.

Douglas E. Schoen (@DouglasESchoen) served as a pollster for President Clinton. A longtime political consultant, he is also a Fox News contributor and the author of 11 books, including “Putin’s Master Plan: To Destroy Europe, Divide NATO, and Restore Russian Power and Global Influence.”