In an interview with Yahoo News, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine Wednesday criticized US strikes on Syrian government forces. He described the downing of Syrian drones “completely illegal.” The military action taken against Syrian regime facilities was totally unlawful, he said.

US strikes against Syrian targets

At least, there were four recorded incidences of US military strikes against Syrian government forces of which include the recent shooting down of a Syrian warplane by a US destroyer jet and the cruise missile strike in April, which the US said was carried out in retaliation for the Assad regime use of chemical weapons.

However, the Pentagon argues that the United States has the constitutional authority in carrying out its strikes. It cited the 2001 Authorization Act, which was enacted by Congress after the 9/11 terrorists attack. The act authorized the war in Afghanistan and international commitment to wipe out al-Qaida. The administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama made reference to that legislation as the constitutional backing for the global fight against terrorism and extremism.

Kaine's criticism

But Kaine, who is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, disagreed in totality with the Trump’s administration stance.

The 2001 AUWF specifically states that the United States can take action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 bombing.

No one has come forward to say Syria was culpable. Nobody has proofs that they are connected to al-Qaida. They are fighting against al-Qaida in Syria, which is a total unlawful use of power, Sen. Kaine countered.

Political cowardice responsible

Kaine, who was the running mate of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, also said “political cowardice” was responsible for congressional inability to debate and put a vote to give a constitutional backing to the three-year war on ISIS or Islamic State, in countries like Syria and elsewhere.

He added that in his view “political cowardice” of not wanting to be noted for supporting the war was responsible.

There were a series of attempt to pressure Congress to debate and possibly vote and authorize the raging war on the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, but such efforts failed largely due to politics.

The fate of Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries, which she voted in favor of the 2002 AUMF against Iraq, and Republicans preference to criticize Obama’s handling of the war were partly responsible for the inability of Congress to consider the AUMF legislation.