Local Politicians React to Syrian Missile Strikes

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KMOX) – Syria is decrying a U.S. missile strike on a government-controlled air base where U.S. officials say the Syrian military launched a deadly chemical attack earlier this week.

Syria called the operation “an aggression” that killed at least six people. Rebels welcomed the U.S. attack.

The U.S. strike drew quick reactions from the friends and foes of the Syrian government. They also appeared to cause a deeper dent in already strained U.S.-Russian relations.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia has “failed” in its responsibility to deliver on a 2013 commitment to secure Syria’s chemical weapons. Tillerson briefed reporters shortly after the U.S. launched cruise missiles against a Syrian air base in retaliation for a gruesome chemical weapons attack.

Some local lawmakers are reacting to the attacks.

Missouri Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill tweets: “I’m supportive of these strikes – against a source of barbaric chemical weapons attacks on civilians – I just hope it wasn’t an impulsive reaction, but rather part of a broader plan and strategy.”

Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin says in a tweet, “My preliminary briefing by the White House indicated this was a measured response to the Syrian nerve gas atrocity. Any further action will require close scrutiny by Congress and any escalation beyond airstrikes or missile strikes will require engaging the American people in that decision.”

Fellow Illinois Democrat Senator Tammy Duckworth issued a statement reading in part, “Last night’s cruise missile strike sends a clear and measured message to Bashar al-Assad that his horrific, unacceptable and illegal use of chemical weapons against innocent civilians will not go unanswered by the United States of America…We as a nation must begin an in-depth discussion on behalf of our men and women in uniform regarding our role in this conflict…the President owes it to our troops who are now in greater danger to clearly and unequivocally outline the long-term strategic end state he is seeking to achieve in Syria and the region.”

Illinois Republican Congressman John Shimkus – who four years ago wrote an op-ed urging former President Barak Obama not to attack Syria, saying “my gut tells me it makes matters worse, not better” – doesn’t believe anyone could question the need for action.

“The question is what signals does that send? A lot of people are saying it will be positive signals. I guess time will tell,” he says.

Shimkus says much has changed in Syria since 2013, with more Russian and American troops on the ground. He question, where was the international outrage?

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