Hawaii Congressional leaders condemn military strike on Syria

(Image: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard)
(Image: U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Members of Hawaii's Congressional delegation are criticizing the Trump administration's decision to launch a military attack on Syrian forces, calling it short-sighted.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said the strike could further escalate conflict in the region.

"The Assad regime's use of chemical weapons is abhorrent, but a military response is not the answer. The president has failed to articulate a strategy to end the Syrian civil war.  A one-off strike may satisfy our desire to hold Assad accountable, but it risks deeper escalation without any sense of direction or objective," Schatz said.

Others, though, are applauding the president's decision.

But U.S. Sen. John McCain. R-Arizona, called the air strike "a credible first step" for the president and an appropriate response to a chemical attack in Syria that's been blamed on the Assad regime.

"I salute the skill and professionalism of the U.S. Armed Forces who carried out tonight's strikes in Syria. Unlike the previous administration, President Trump confronted a pivotal moment in Syria and took action. For that, he deserves the support of the American people," McCain said, in a statement on his Facebook page.

The leader of Hawaii's Muslim Association agreed that America's attack was warranted.

"I think any human being that targets innocent civilians, let it be Assad, let it be anybody, has got to go," Hakim Ouansafi said.

The White House said it told more than two dozen members of Congress about the airstrike before the missiles were launched.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, called the attack wrongheaded.

"It angers and saddens me that President Trump has taken the advice of war hawks and escalated our illegal regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government. This escalation is short-sighted and will lead to more dead civilians, more refugees, the strengthening of al-Qaeda and other terrorists, and a possible nuclear war between the United States and Russia," Gabbard said, in a statement.

Gabbard also said the Trump Administration acted "recklessly" in making the decision to launch an air strike.

Prior to the attack, Gabbard said that if the International Criminal Court finds the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack, she would "be the first to call for his prosecution and execution."

In January, Gabbard made an unannounced trip to Syria to get a first hand look at the conditions in the region.

U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, D-Hawaii, also criticized the president's decision to launch airstrikes in Syria, saying Congress and the American people deserve a clearer understanding of his strategies.

"While the U.S. cannot ignore the internationally banned use of chemical weapons, the president's failure to seek Congressional approval is unlawful and I expect that in the days and weeks ahead, President Trump will work in close  coordination with Congress to clarify his administration's plan to address the civil war in Syria, restore stability in the region and protect the innocent lives of those living in the war-torn state," Hanabusa said, in a statement.  

U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, agreed, saying President Trump should present a "coherent strategy for addressing the ongoing situation in Syria, including our own responsibility in confronting the humanitarian catastrophe and refugee crisis."

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