MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Questions Obama's Airstrikes: 'Is It Legal?'

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Questions Obama's Airstrikes: 'Is It Legal?'

On Tuesday morning’s early morning coverage of U.S. air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow expressed her skepticism on a number of different levels as to whether or not this action was proper given strategic and legal concerns.

Among her questions, Maddow wondered what sort of reactions to the strikes might come, whether or not it would be effective, if they were putting civilians in harm’s way and if the strikes were legal.

Partial transcript as follows:

“So, number one — will it work?” she said. “Number two — who is involved and how will the world react? Number three — is how will Syria react? Because the Syrian government has substantial air defense system, a very substantial air defense system. They have their own considerable air force as well. When Syria said they would see air strikes by us or anybody else as an act of aggression against them as a nation, did they mean that they would shoot at our planes? Is this now a war with Syria in addition to being a war inside Syria?”

“And beyond those questions, I’ve got two more. Because the U.S. telegraphed in advance this attack would be coming, has ISIS integrated itself into civilian areas so attacks on them will also harm Syrian civilians?” Maddow continued. “How isolatable are they, and did that problem get worse over the last two weeks after the U.S. directly telegraphed we’d be doing this but before we started it? While I’m on a, roll, here’s more. Not to put too fine a point on it, but is this legal? The administration says its basis for waging this new air war against ISIS is the authorization for using military force that the U.S. Congress pass inside the immediate aftermath of 9/11.”

“That authorization for the use of military force authorized force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, which were 13 years ago, long before ISIS or anything like ISIS was a twinkling in any terrorist’s eye,” she added. “In terms of this fight against ISIS, the U.S. Congress has not authorized anything in Syria, let alone in Iraq. Is it legal for the U.S. military to be doing this right now? Is it legal for the president to have ordered this? And is Congress really going to sit and its hands and stay on vacation for the next two months now that the U.S. has started a new air war in the Middle East?”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor