Biden’s Airstrikes in Syria
President Joe Biden has recently been under intense criticism lately, as he bombed Syria before his 36th day as president. At this rate, if Biden were to bomb a new country every 36 days as president, he will bomb over 40 separate countries. Biden’s swiftness to bomb another country has also been heavily criticized, as he prioritized bombing another country over economic stimulus to Americans, which has been regarded by both Republicans and Democrats as necessary.
Senate Democrats were extremely unhappy with Biden’s decision, thinking it was too sudden. Typically, Presidents seek congressional approval before pursuing military interests, but Biden did not do so beforehand. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her staff were notified beforehand, and he did send Congress a letter regarding the airstrikes afterwards (as he is required to do within 48 hours after doing it). In a part of the letter, Biden wrote: “I directed this military action consistent with my responsibility to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad and in furtherance of United States national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.”
Seven precision-guided bombs were dropped on “multiple facilities”, claiming 22 lives in the process. However, the aim was to prevent further attacks, not inflict casualties.
However, President Biden announced to Congress that his Syrian airstrikes were in-line with the interests of the United States, and justified by being an act of self-defense. On February 15th, a rocket attack was reported near an airport in Northern Syria, a region controlled by the United States. The following airstrikes were taken as an act of self-defense, in order to show Iraq that endangering America comes at a cost. The original rocket attack on the airport ended with one civilian casualty. However, Biden’s airstrikes killed 22. The pentagon reported it as “proportionate” and “defensive”.
The Syrian government condemned the airstrikes, calling it “cowardly American aggression”. The (international) lawfulness of Biden’s airstrikes is being questioned by many Americans and Syrians.
Many Americans, including Democrats and Republicans, are divided over whether or not Biden’s response was ethical and justified as an act of defense. Self-defense is justified in the constitution, so whether or not his actions are considered defensive or offensive will determine the legitimacy of his actions. With rising tensions between the United States and the Middle East, the conflicts only become blurrier.