Foreign Policy Organizations Reject White House Legal Justification for Air Strikes


WASHINGTON, DC — In response to the strikes on the Iraq-Syria border last night, four organizations — Concerned Veterans for America, Demand Progress, Just Foreign Policy, and Quincy Institute– issued the following statement:

“Last night, the Department of Defense announced that President Biden directed U.S. military forces to conduct airstrikes against targets on the Iraq-Syria border, with two of those targets being in Syria’s territory — a country where there is no Congressional authorization for use of military force. As with the administration’s February 25th airstrike against the same groups in Syria, the President claimed inherent Article II authorities as the sole legal justification. 

After the February strike, we joined 24 organizations in sending a letter to Congress rebuking the administration’s misuse of Article II authorities and warning of the deeply troubling precedent it would set for future strikes. Unfortunately the administration continues to expand this dangerous precedent.

Furthermore, the administration claimed these strikes were meant to be de-escalatory. Yet in response to yesterday’s bombing, one of the targeted groups has threatened “open war with the American occupation.” The back-and-forth attacks between US armed forces and these militia groups make it clear that these strikes are not simply defending against an imminent threat — as required by the Constitution —  but are part of an active and escalating hostility which demands congressional approval under the War Powers Resolution of 1973. 

Although the House recently voted to repeal the outdated 2002 Iraq AUMF, and has its eyes set on repealing and replacing the 2001 AUMF, this claim of virtually unchecked Article II authority threatens to render any such effort nearly meaningless. Congress must pass a War Powers Resolution to make clear that these repeated strikes are without authorization, and therefore illegal and unconstitutional.”