On the Need for the President to Seek Prior Congressional Authorization for the Syrian Attacks Posted on 4/15/2018 at 11:02:34 by Bill Crawford, (14)
Among all of the “Well Done’s” from our citizenry and from our allies about the U.S., Britain and France taking out a significant portion of Syria's chemical weapons capabilities by means of some very precise targeting, there also were some complaints by Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and others because Trump did not get prior military authorization from Congress to take such action; with his relying instead upon the military action authorization bill which was passed after the 9/11 Attack back in 2001
Although I agree that the Syrian attack doesn't fall under the heading of tracking down and taking out terrorists, as called for in the original military authorization act, it does fall under the banner of taking action in support of some very specific prohibitions on the manufacture and use of chemical weapons, as laid down by the United Nations.
After doing a little research, I found that the original prohibition of such activity was stipulated in 1997 in “ The Chemical Weapons Convention”, promulgated by “The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons”. Currently 98% of the world’s countries (including Syria) have agreed to the Chemical Weapons Convention (See below site:https://www.un.org/disarmament/wmd/chemical/
The United Nations formally adopted the “Chemical Weapons Convention” in 2001 (See below site: http://undocs.org/A/RES/55/283).
It is pretty obvious that although the U.N. Security Council did not directly authorize the attack on the Syrian Chemical weapons facilities ( due to an obvious veto by Russia), that the U.S., France and England) were acting in support of published U.N. policy and regulations in this area.
With respect to President Trump's getting trying to get explicit permission from Congress to go after the Syrian Chemical capabilities instead of squeezing it in under the original Military Authorization Act of 2001 (which was specifically addressed to chasing down and eradicating terrorists), it’s doubtful that such authorization would have gotten through Congress except after long and laborious debate, and maybe not at all—this, based upon the fact that Obama tried and failed to get specific authorization to go after ISIS, and, instead had to fall back on the old 2001 authorization.
Hopefully, after the fact, and in support of some possible future anti-chemical activities required on the part of the U.S., Congress will bestir itself and pass an authorization bill specifically addressed to eradicating chemical warfare capabilities, in the spirit of the U.N. Resolutions this area.