原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www.ltaaa.com 翻译:多情应笑我 转载请注明出处

Critics WantLegal Rationale For Strikes On Syria. The White House Says It's Secret


As the Trumpadministration uates potential military operations against Syria, the WhiteHouse has declined to explain why it believes it has the legal authority toconduct them without authorization from Congress.


But theWhite House does have a secret seven-page memo that may make the case.


Thepresident has the authority to deploy military force in the interest ofself-defense. But outside that rationale — and the White House has not madethat case — the president's legal authority becomes murkier.


After theUnited States' missile strikes against Syria last year, a group made upprimarily of former Obama administration lawyers, "ProtectDemocracy," filed a Freedom of Information Act request to demand the legaljustification for the strikes.


When thegovernment did not comply, the organization sued.

Uncovered aspart of the subsequent litigation was the existence of a seven-page memoproduced by the White House on the day of the 2017 Syria strikes. While onepage containing background is classified, the remaining six pages featuring theWhite House's legal rationale is not.


On Monday,as the administration signaled that strikes could be imminent, ProtectDemocracy filed an update with the court asking for a speedy resolution of itslawsuit.


The Trumpadministration argues that the memo was prepared for the purpose of givingadvice to the president and says in a court filing that disclosure could"chill the open and frank expression of ideas."


The WhiteHouse did not respond to a request for comment from NPR.


Sen. TimKaine, D-Va., who has become a leading voice advocating for Congress'responsibility to approve military action, said the president should releasethe memo before any strikes.


"Withoutcongressional authorization, any military action President Trump takes in Syriathat isn't in self-defense is illegal," Kaine said in a statement onWednesday.


ContinuedKaine: "And while he's at it, he should also release the secret legal memothat reportedly justifies the airstrikes on Syria last year — which clearlyhaven't deterred Syrian leader Bashar Assad — and that the president isapparently now using as precedent for unilateral military action."


Kaine toldNPR this week that while in general he would support airstrikes against Assad,he does not believe that the president can unilaterally bomb a sovereigncountry like Syria without congressional authorization.


AnotherTrump critic, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, told NPR thatalthough he condemns the Assad regime's reported chemical attacks, there areobvious limits on Trump's authority to act.


"We'rea nation of laws, and we have a Constitution that says very clearly that it'sCongress who gets to decide who the United States can fight wars against,"Murphy said.


"Thepresident can take military action without congressional permission if the U.S.is attacked or is at risk of imminent attack — but that's not what happenedhere," he said. "If the president thinks he found a loophole thatlets him attack other countries without authorization, he needs to show thatjustification and make that case to the people."


Debate overthe privileges and responsibilities of ordering military action have doggedpresidents since the Vietnam War. In 2011, for example, Republicans complainedthat Congress hadn't been adequately consulted about the military operationsthat President Barack Obama ordered against Libya.


Later, whenconfronting the crisis Syria, Obama found himself painted into a corner afterhaving declared that the use of chemical weapons would cross a "redline." When Assad used them, Obama decided that he had the authority toorder an attack against the Syrian regime, but also decided, out of principle,to ask Congress to authorize it.


Lawmakersdid not; the measure went nowhere. The United States joined a coalition ofnations in attempting to remove Syria's chemical weapons, which ultimately didnot stop such attacks there.


At the time,Trump demanded that Obama secure the approval of Congress.