Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called on President Joe Biden to consult Congress on Thursday’s deadly airstrikes targeting Iran-backed military groups in eastern Syria.
“The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress,” Kaine said in a Friday statement. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”
Biden waged the first military action of his presidency by ordering a strike on Syrian facilities in response to rocket attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq. The attacks left one civilian contractor dead and nine others wounded. A U.S. service member was among those injured.
At least 22 people were killed in Thursday’s airstrikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby.
State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters during a regular press briefing earlier this week that Iranian-made and -supplied rockets have been used in many such attacks but wouldn’t say if rockets from Tehran were involved in the Erbil attack, stating they will await the conclusions of Iraq’s investigation before attributing blame.
“We will respond in a way that’s calculated, on our timetable and using a mix of tools seen and unseen,” she said. “What we will not do — and what we’ve seen in the past — is lash out and risk an escalation that plays into the hands of Iran by further destabilizing Iraq.”
The UPI contributed to this report.