U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Thursday after the U.S. bombed a Syrian airbase that any country developing “illicit” chemical or nuclear weapons should see the U.S. action against Syria as a warning.
According to press reports, two U.S. Navy warships in the Mediterranean Sea fired at least 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Al Shayrat airfield in Syria – the airbase in which the planes were launched responsible for the chemical attack on more than 80 civilians killed with nerve gas. The attack was designed to destroy Syrian aircraft, the two runways at the airbase and support facilities. Some military analysts suggested that Syrian aircraft may have prior to the attack moved to other airbases, including airbases in Iran.
President Donald Trump hinted Wednesday during a joint appearance with King Abdullah of Jordan that the chemical attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on civilians in his own county was “unacceptable.” Around 9 p.m. central U.S. time the missiles were fired at the Syrian airbase.
“Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air base in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. … It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons,” President Trump said during a brief address to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago Country Club in Florida.
Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster were in Florida with Trump, who is there to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinpeng.
Cotton, a military veteran who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued this statement after the attack was made public.
“I commend President Trump for taking swift, decisive action against Bashar al-Assad’s outlaw regime. Any country that violates arms-control agreements with the U.S., develops illicit chemical- or nuclear-weapons programs, or supports those countries that do ought to take note.”
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., supported the attack but said a strategic plan is needed for the region.
“In carrying out another chemical attack on innocent civilians, Bashar al-Assad has clearly violated international law. Limited, swift and decisive action was required to deter further brutality and show that these types of inhumane attacks will not be tolerated. Moving forward, the administration must engage with Congress to seek approval for further action. As I have said since 2013, we need a strategic plan that details U.S. military and diplomatic involvement, and outlines, most importantly, the end goal for the region and our allies”
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, a veteran and member of the Defense subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations, also said the attack was necessary.
“The latest attack with chemical weapons by Assad against his own people cannot be allowed without swift and decisive action. Our President has chosen to lead and the release of missiles against Syrian military targets sends an important message to this irresponsible dictator,” Womack noted in a statement to Talk Business & Politics.
U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, also supported Trump’s action against Syria.
“This strategic attack against Syrian military targets was an appropriate and proportionate response to Assad’s use of deadly chemical weapons. Tonight, our president has told Assad that America will no longer ignore his unspeakable acts of aggression against innocent people. Now, the United Nations must follow our lead and respond to Assad’s actions by pursuing a cease fire in Syria, creating safe zones, and holding him accountable for his war crimes.”
U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, issued this statement: “President Trump took justifiable and decisive action yesterday when he ordered a missile strike on a Syrian air strip used in this week’s chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians, including children. It is my hope that the U.S. military strikes against the Syrian regime will stop further use of chemical agents and bring an end to the reign of terror unleashed on the Syrian people by their own government.”
U.S. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., issued a joint statement prior to public knowledge that the U.S. would bomb the Syrian airbase with missiles.
“In addition to other measures, the United States should lead an international coalition to ground Assad’s air force. This capability provides Assad a strategic advantage in his brutal slaughter of innocent civilians, both through the use of chemical weapons as well as barrel bombs, which kill far more men, women and children on a daily basis,” noted the statement. “The U.S. military, together with our allies and partners, has the capability to achieve this objective quickly, precisely, decisively, and in ways that control escalation. Ultimately, the grounding of Assad’s air force can and should be part of a new comprehensive strategy to end the conflict in Syria.”