In mid January, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson unveiled the administration’s new policy with concern to Syria. In a widely covered speech at Stanford, Tillerson declared an open-ended commitment of US forces in that country. “Let us be clear,” said Tillerson, “the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge.” Asking the American people for “patience,” Tillerson also signaled a long-term commitment to regime change. While acknowledging that “some Americans are skeptical of continued involvement in Syria,” Tillerson claimed it is “vital for the U.S. to remain engaged” in Syria.
Wisconsin Democrat Mark Pocan told The Nation on Tuesday that Tillerson’s statement “flies in the face of the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution of 1973. Congress has never authorized force against Syrian, Turkish, Yemeni Houthi, Russian, Iranian, or North Korean forces. Yet, reportedly, a secret administration memo may claim the legal justification to do just that: attack Syrian, North Korean, and other forces without any congressional authorization”
And as The Washington Post reported last week, “the U.S. military is now committed to a potentially indefinite presence in Syria that is opposed by all of the main players in the country.”