Letter to Rodney Davis on missile strikes

Sent April 13, 2017

Rep. Davis,

We write in response to your statement regarding the April 6 military strike against Syria. In expressing support for the strike, you said, “The swift action by President Trump and our military sent a clear message to the world that America will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons. I hope Assad hears this message loud and clear.”

Those of us signing this letter have a variety of opinions on when and how best to use our military power in the world. We have a variety of opinions on last week’s actions in Syria and how best to address Bashar al-Assad terrorizing and killing innocent people. We recognize that it represents a massive challenge years in the making and don’t presume to offer an easy solution.

Despite those differences, we do agree on one key thing: Congress must carefully and aggressively exercise its authority to approve, monitor, and fund America’s military action.

Specifically, we call on you and your colleagues to develop, debate, and pass a new Authorization for Use of Military Force pertaining to the Trump administration’s actions and plans in Syria and the Middle East. Alternatively, we expect you to call out this action as exceeding his presidential powers. Donald Trump has proven disinterested in world events, incapable of considering issues deeply, and willing to ignore the law and democratic norms. His character is particularly dangerous in his role as Commander-in-Chief.

Congress has a very specific role in matters such as these, which has been abdicated in recent years. The previous Authorization for Use of Military Force — addressing Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups across international borders — has been stretched beyond all meaning. It has been used 37 times in 14 countries by two presidents over more than 15 years. Assad is a dictator murdering his own people with chemical weapons. That’s a monstrous act, but it is not covered by the 2001 authorization.

A new AUMF must be created. Otherwise, these military actions are unconstitutional and must stop. Now is the time for Congress to assert itself, debate the issue, and take a stand. The president is much too impulsive to be given carte blanche.

We have our differences amongst ourselves. We have our differences with you. But we must all agree that Congress should stay a relevant player in how we exert our military strength and how Donald Trump’s worst tendencies are checked.

It will be tough, but it is your job.

John Alsop, Champaign
Theodore Arnold, Champaign
Nate Atkinson, Champaign
Debby Auble, Champaign
Deborah Baker, Monticello
Bill Bell, Champaign
Dianna Black, Urbana
Philipp Blume, Champaign
Linda Braden, Champaign
Michele Brown, Champaign
Matthew Burack, Champaign
Christine Canfield, Urbana
Hsiao-Ching Chen, Champaign
Lori Choquette, Urbana
Marlise Dahl, Monticello
Katherine Denmead, Champaign
Tyler Denmead, Champaign
Mary Kay Doedtman, Springfield
Christy Ann Elamma, Bement
Jodi Fan, Mahomet
Ryan Flanagan, Urbana
Sheree Flannigan, Monticello
Jody Groff, Champaign
Sharon Haworth, Urbana
Jessica Henderson, Urbana
Amy Heggemeyer, Champaign
Dieter Huston, Mahomet
Linda Huth, Urbana
Lois Kain, Urbana
Andrew Kerins, Champaign
Katherine Kline Decatur
David Krooks, Champaign
J. Michael Lillich, Champaign
Suzanne Linder, Champaign
Samantha Lindgren, Champaign
Maribel Lucero, Urbana
Katie Madigan, Urbana
Jack Maples, Urbana
Wendy Mathewson, Urbana
Gayle Matteson, Hillsboro
Cara Maurizi, Urbana
Julia Maxwell, Springfield
Rebecca McBride, Seymour
Michael McKelvey, Champaign
Erin McKenna, Urbana
Rosemary McLeese, Monticello
Douglas Miller, Urbana
Georgette Moore, Champaign
Diana Mosher, Champaign
Kay Mulhall, Savoy
Elizabeth Murphy, Champaign
Susan Mynatt, Savoy
Lara Orr, Urbana
Lyn Petrie, Urbana
Michelle Perry, Urbana
Elisabeth Pollock, Urbana
Kelly Pollard, Litchfield
Ann Prisland, Champaign
Margaret O’Brien, Urbana
Anne Odom, Champaign
Allison O’Dwyer Urbana
Joe Omo-Osagie, Urbana
Ann Quackenbush, Champaign
Maeve Reilly, Champaign
Michelle Rodrigues, Urbana
Connie Roux, Savoy
Alexander Scheeline, Champaign
John Schneider, Champaign
Melissa Schoeplein, Urbana
Mary Severinghaus, Mahomet
Kathy Shannon, Champaign
Betsy Smith, Urbana
Casey Smith, Urbana
Tim Stephens, Urbana
Ruth Stoltzfus, Urbana
Henry Szujewski, Champaign
Kathryn Tessin, Urbana
Trenna Thomas, Champaign
Diane Tipps, Champaign
Nathan Tolbert, Champaign
Renée Trilling, Champaign
Pamela Van Wyk, Champaign
Joan Volkmann, Urbana
David White, Bement
Jane G. White, Bement
Rebecca Wilting, Urbana
Kate Winkler, Champaign
Matt Winters, Urbana