WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, this evening made the following statement:
“Tonight’s missile strike was an appropriate response to Assad’s most recent chemical weapons attack on the Syrian people. War crimes must have consequences. I commend our servicemembers who carried out this operation, and I thank them for their courageous service.
“In the wake of this strike, we must be clear-eyed about a few facts.
“Assad will continue to murder civilians, and he has no future as a leader in Syria. At the same time, there is no military solution to this crisis, and it’s incumbent on the Administration to work toward a long-term strategy that will stop the wholesale slaughter of the Syrian people and hold accountable those who have committed war crimes. Tomahawk strikes are not a long-term strategy. My legislation, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, would crack down on the regime and its enablers in Moscow and Tehran and push parties back to the negotiating table.
“Tonight’s strike also starts the clock for Congressional action. Military force against Assad can only continue in the long term with Congressional approval. Regardless of whether this is a limited strike or part of a longer engagement, the Administration must come to Capitol Hill and consult about the best path forward.
“Lastly, I hope this crisis serves as a wake-up call to President Trump about the weight of American leadership. I am convinced that the Administration's policy shift away from removing Assad emboldened Assad to take this barbaric action. If the world’s superpower is on the sideline, butchers like Assad will act with impunity. I wish that this lesson for the new Administration had not come at such a bloody cost.”