Politics

Rep. Brad Sherman says he supports US missile strike on Syrian airbase

File: Rep. Brad Sherman.
File: Rep. Brad Sherman.
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Thursday night, President Donald Trump ordered a missile strike on a Syrian airbase. The move came in retaliation to this week's gruesome chemical weapons attack against civilians, including children.

Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman, who is on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and represents the San Fernando Valley, spoke to KPCC's Alex Cohen about Trump's most dramatic military order since becoming president.

The San Fernando Valley representative said he supports Trump's limited action, adding that President Barack Obama accomplished a lot in Syria, despite not using military action following a similar use of chemical weapons.

Interview highlights

Reaction to the Strike:

This is not going to solve the Syria problem, the refugees or the death of half a million people. But it is an important defense of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It demonstrates to the world that these weapons are going to cause the users more harm than success.

On Obama:

I also supported President Obama's efforts, which — while they didn't involve military action — removed 95 percent perhaps of [President] Assad's sarin gas and other chemical weapons.  Had that not been done first, we would have seen an awful lot more die from chemical weapons.

On congressional authorization:

The War Powers Act does a good job of laying out what can the president do without congressional approval and when the president need congressional approval. Obama overstepped the bounds when it comes to Libya and under-asserted his authority with regard to Syria.

I think there was a miscommunication in 2013 between the president and the country, the president and Congress. This was a president who had bombed Libya for several months without congressional authorization and then he asked for congressional authorization for what we all thought would be one or two days of retaliation against Assad. The very act of asking for authorization made people think that what he had in mind was far greater than what he had in mind then and far greater than what Trump seems to have in mind now.