January 18, 2018

Cardin Reacts to Tillerson Announcement on Syria: Trump Administration Lacks Authority to keep U.S. Military Forces in Syria

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced a new policy toward Syria that includes an indefinite U.S. troop deployment:

“I am extremely disappointed that the Trump Administration announced a significant change in U.S. policy – the commitment of U.S. forces for an indefinite period of time in Syria – without first consulting Congress.   Secretary Tillerson’s speech at the Hoover Institution continues this Administration’s irresponsible and reckless approach to the use of military force. 

“The Trump Administration lacks the authority to keep U.S. military forces in Syria after the defeat of ISIS.  The State and Defense Departments must immediately consult with the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which retains jurisdiction over the use of military force.

“Last week the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Syria policy and received testimony from Acting Assistant Secretary David Satterfield.  At no point during the hearing was the Committee informed of Secretary Tillerson’s imminent policy announcement. 

“During the hearing I expressed concerns that the Administration was likely to argue that our forces must remain in Syria after ISIS is defeated to ensure that ISIS cannot return.  My concerns have been validated.  We are on the precipice of committing U.S. forces to another forever war.”

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