WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today issued the following statement after U.S. forces launched airstrikes in response to the Syrian government’s use of nerve gas against its civilian population in Douma.
“The images of chemical weapons attacks on innocent civilians in Syria – including children – are incredibly sad and disturbing. The international community must condemn such horrific actions and not allow them to take place. Assad must be held accountable for his egregious human rights violations and the gassing of his own people—a crime against international law and humanity as well as an act of unspeakable cowardice.
“Now we need to see from the administration an updated, clear strategy that carefully considers the next appropriate military and diplomatic steps while avoiding an extended military conflict. Any U.S. military action in the region must be wary of dragging our armed forces into a protracted and broader conflict in the region, especially as our military faces challenges impacting U.S. interests around the globe. Particularly during these fraught times, I'm thinking of our servicemembers both at home and abroad.
"Going forward, Congress must be involved in decisions about further action and must vote to authorize military force. Congress can examine the best long-term strategy to stabilize the region, protect lives, and pressure Assad’s Russian and Iranian backers to acknowledge the serious nature of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons use and violation of international norms."