News Release

Biden Bombing Syria: “Illegal”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle@illinois.edu
Boyle is professor of law at the University of Illinois. His most recent book is World Politics, Human Rights, and International Law.

He said today: “Biden’s bombing of Syria on Thursday is illegal — a violation of international law. It’s especially egregious since the attacks in Syria came out of Iraq, as the Iraqi government has been telling the U.S. government to leave.

“There have been reports that the U.S. government has been bombing Afghanistan. Presumably this is pretextually justified by the 2001 AUMF. It’s ridiculous to cite that at this point, but there’s some legal pretense to the effort. Attacking forces in Syria — which are allegedly backed by the Iranian government — have no plausible legal justification.

Jen Psaki, now the White House press secretary, tweeted after Trump bombed Syria in 2017: “Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country.” At the time, IPA put out a news release: “Attacking Syria ‘Impeachable.’” Boyle stated today: “There’s been a lot of clamor about the ‘rule of law’ by many Democratic Party officials over Trump’s second impeachment, but Biden’s bombing is also a violation of the War Powers Clause of the Constitution, Congress’s own War Powers Resolution and the UN Charter — so of course it is an impeachable offense. So, there’s no real fidelity to the rule of law, just partisan preference here. Biden, who was a critical backer of the illegal Iraq invasion, has predictably carried on with the wholesale military interventionism by the Obama/Biden administration.”

Boyle was legal adviser to Rep. Henry B. González and wrote the first draft of the González Impeachment Resolution in 1991. George H. W. Bush would later write in his memoirs that if the Gulf War “drags out, not only will I take the blame, but I will probably have impeachment proceedings filed against me.”

In 2017, Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, and foreign policy speechwriter, told Politico that President Obama feared impeachment if he targeted the Syrian government.