FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 8, 2023
Contact: Press_Paul@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
ICYMI: Dr. Rand Paul Forces U.S. Senate Vote on War Powers Resolution Concerning U.S. Troops in Syria
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, as a continuation of his efforts to return war powers to Congress and end the American military presence in Syria, which needlessly puts our troops’ lives in danger and risks further escalation of conflict in the Middle East, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) forced the U.S. Senate to vote on his War Powers Resolution (S.J. Res. 51). His resolution directed the president to remove all U.S. Armed Forces from hostilities in and affecting Syria within 30 days of its enactment. Dr. Paul’s resolution was co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and JD Vance (R-OH).
“Keeping 900 U.S. troops in Syria does nothing to advance American security. Rather, our intervention puts those servicemembers at grave risk by providing an enticing target for Iranian-backed militias,” said Dr. Paul. “Our continued presence risks the United States getting dragged into yet another regional war in the Middle East without debate or a vote by the people’s representatives in Congress. Congress must cease abdicating its constitutional war powers to the executive branch.”
A bipartisan group of 13 Senators voted for Dr. Paul’s resolution.
Although Congress never authorized the use of military force in Syria, the Biden Administration maintains 900 troops there. These troops are vulnerable to attacks by state and non-state actors as is tragically evident by recent weeks. Since Hamas’ reprehensible October 7th attack on Israel, our troops in Syria and Iraq have been attacked at least 76 times. According to the Pentagon, a total of 59 U.S. military personnel were injured in these attacks. Of those injured, 32 were at al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria, where our soldiers suffered various injuries, including traumatic brain injuries.
In September 2014, the Obama administration initiated U.S. military operations in Syria without congressional authorization. By 2017, the Pentagon revealed that 2,000 U.S. troops were deployed to Syria. The mission outlined in Operation Inherent Resolve to degrade and destroy ISIS was achieved in 2019 when the ISIS caliphate was eradicated. Four years later, 900 U.S. troops remain in Syria, with no clear objective, no definition of victory, no exit strategy, and no authorization from Congress to engage in hostilities there.
There is wide support for Dr. Paul’s Syria War Powers Resolution:
“We owe our soldiers serving there in harm’s way a serious debate about whether their mission is, in fact, achievable. Absent a debate and authorization of such a mission, our troops should be removed. Consideration of S.J. Res. 51 is an important opportunity for the Senate to take a step towards that necessary outcome,” said Robert S. Ford, Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and Political Counselor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq.
“We should only risk the well-being of our troops in conflicts overseas that our nation deemed worthy of such an enormous sacrifice. Under our Constitution, that decision should only be made by Congress. Unfortunately, none of this has happened with regards to the endless war and occupation of Syria. We are grateful that Senator Paul is once again requiring his colleagues to do their duty and cast a vote on these life and-death matters for our troops. While this is the first vote on Syria in the Senate, it is the fourth vote in Congress in just over two years, and pressure will only continue to grow until this endless war is brought to a close,” said Erik Sperling, Executive Director of Pro-Diplomacy Advocacy Group at Just Foreign Policy.
“The United States has been fighting the same undeclared war in Iraq and Syria for decades. This is a flagrant abuse of the Constitutional separation of powers and we wholeheartedly support Sen. Paul’s effort to return us to the proper order,” said Jim Hanson, Executive Director of America Matters.
“It is a national disgrace that the Biden Administration has left our troops in Syria to serve as soft targets for those looking to punish the United States in service of an ill-defined mission that has no connection to our safety or national interest. Five years after the destruction of ISIS’s territorial caliphate and with the Department of Defense admitting that the scattered remnants of ISIS are in “survival mode,” it is past time for our troops to come home from Syria. Citizens for Renewing America is proud to support Senator Rand Paul’s War Powers Resolution mandating the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and we urge the Senate to pass this critical piece of legislation,” said Wade Miller, Executive Director of Citizens for Renewing America.
“The Biden Administration’s deployment of nearly 900 US troops in Syria, facing 76 attacks since October 7, 2023, without specific congressional authorization or clear objectives raises concerns about constitutional checks and balances. While the President holds the role of Commander-in-Chief, Congress’s authority to declare war or sanction troop placement is vital. Senator Rand Paul’s Syria War Powers Resolution (S.J. Res. 51) aims to restore this balance, preventing an unchecked concentration of power in the Executive branch. Supporting the resolution is crucial for upholding constitutional principles amid complex geopolitical challenges,” said George Landrith, President of Frontiers of Freedom Institute.
“A debate really needs to happen about ‘why are we in Syria?’ and ‘what threat to the U.S. homeland do the groups we are fighting pose?’ The U.S. has been engaged in these wars for two decades and Congress has been derelict in its duties while the executive branch has vastly expanded these wars. So Sen. Paul’s War Powers Resolution is one of the few vehicles that serves to force Congress to take a vote,” said Heather Brandon-Smith, Legislative Director for Militarism and Human Rights for the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
“The Greater Middle East is a region beset with ancient ethnic rivalries and societal challenges that Washington D.C. has tried to fix, with both unlimited money and unlimited force, and have failed repeatedly, simply because it cannot be fixed top-down with big external and governmental interventions. It is also a region where at times the concepts of order and democracy are opposed to each other, and is a region of declining geo-political importance for the U.S. Whatever local threats from terrorism that remain in the region, are not existential to the U.S., compared to, say, the unsustainable trillions of dollars of American debt. Nothing warrants an American forward presence, in Syria or beyond. Washington should therefore narrow its priorities, and focus very narrowly on free shipping and trade routes and limited over-the-horizon counter-terrorism missions, as and when necessary, and otherwise leave the region to find its natural equilibrium. There are far greater future concerns, both strategic and social, elsewhere,” said Dr. Sumantra Maitra, Senior Fellow at the Center for Renewing America and Senior Editor of the American Conservative.