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Conservatives Question Possible Syria Strike

Prominent conservative commentators Pat Buchanan and Michael Savage have both come out strongly against a U.S. military strike against Syria and they think President Donald Trump made a mistake by threatening Russia earlier this week.

Zoe Papadakis reported for our friends at NewsMax that before and while welcoming Buchanan to his show Rand Paul tweet"The Savage Nation," Savage made his opposition to military action clear and said Trump’s recent tweets showed “the war mongers have grabbed the steering wheel of this administration.”

Buchanan agreed and, according to Papadakis, said Trump put himself in a box by firing off a tweet on Wednesday attacking Russian-backed Syrian President Bashar al Assad for his regime’s most recent alleged chemical weapons attacks on civilians and warning that missiles were coming.

After Russia warned that US military action would have serious consequences, Trump tweeted on Thursday that he had never stipulated a timeframe when an attack on Syria would take place.

“Could be very soon or not so soon at all,” he tweeted.

Buchanan later doubled down on his criticism of the President saying, Trump now had two choices: either he launches the attack that would drag the U.S. deeper into Syria’s civil war, or be mocked for being full of talk but no action – a trait Trump accused Barack Obama of on Sunday, saying the former president failed to strike Syria on his watch after a chemical attack.

He added that Trump had been elected by the American people to keep the country out of the middle eastern wars, and now there is a “real possibility we are in a war with Syria.”

Before the program ended Buchanan told Savage that Trump was acting unconstitutionally by threatening attacks on Syria, a country that has not attacked or threatened the U.S.

The American Conservative's Daniel Larison wrote in "The Risks of Escalation from an Illegal Attack on Syria” that:

The U.S. has a poor track record of understanding how our adversaries see the world, so a brief thought experiment may be helpful. Imagine if the positions were reversed and Russia was the one threatening to attack an American ally that was in the midst of a civil war that included a Russian-backed insurgency. Wouldn’t the U.S. respond to an attack on an ally even if our own forces weren’t hit? We ought to assume that Russia will treat an attack on Syria the same way, and even if they don’t it isn’t worth taking the chance that they might. Punishing Assad is not worth the possibility of provoking war with Russia or Iran, much less both at the same time.

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill, Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) warned President Trump not to take further military action in Syria without congressional approval.

Lee, who has consistently called for an end to the war in Afghanistan, worries that U.S. involvement in Syria could lead to another seemingly-endless foreign war.

“As news reports continue to indicate impending U.S. military action against the Assad regime in Syria, I again implore President Trump to consult with Congress before engaging our armed forces,” Lee wrote on Twitter according to The Daily Caller’s Autumn Price.

Rand Paul who has regularly expressed concerns over military intervention in Syria was even more blunt: “Promising war by tweet, insults not only the Constitution but every soldier who puts their life on the line,” Paul tweeted, referring to Trump’s Tuesday tweet singling out Russia for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Senator Paul later used the opportunity presented by Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo’s Thursday confirmation hearing to challenge Pompeo on whether President Trump can authorize strikes on Syria without approval from Congress.

Fox News reported that Pompeo said that he believes the president has the authority to sign off on another attack on Bashar al-Assad's forces.

He said that power of the president has not been disputed by Democrats or Republicans for an "extended" period of time Fox reported.

Senator Paul disputed that, arguing the Constitution gives that power to Congress, not the executive branch.

"Actually, it's disputed mostly by our founding fathers," Senator Paul countered, adding he objects to the idea that a president can "go to war when he wants, where he wants."

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