(RightWing.org) – President Joe Biden has officially notified Congress that US forces have carried out strikes on pro-Iranian terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. The attacks were a response to last week’s drone attack that murdered three US service personnel in Jordan. Although Biden had the authority to order the retaliation, he was required to give the legislature a formal notification it had been carried out.
On February 3 Biden sent a letter to House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) and Senate President pro tempore Patty Murray (D-WA) to inform them that American forces had “conducted discrete strikes against facilities in Syria and Iraq used by the IRGC and affiliated militia groups.” He was referring to a major series of air and missile strikes that hit 85 targets late on February 2. The targets were all linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and militias it controls, one of which carried out the January 28 attack that killed three US soldiers at an outpost in Jordan. At least another 34 troops were injured in the attack.
Biden cited his role as commander-in-chief as authorization for ordering the attacks; this gives him the right to order military action overseas. However, under the 1973 War Powers Resolution, he’s required to notify Congress within 48 hours of an operation taking place. Since the resolution was passed in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, presidents have reported strikes or other operations to Congress over 130 times.
Some legislators have criticized Biden for ordering strikes without letting Congress know before the attacks took place. When US and UK forces hit Houthi rebel targets on January 11, far-left congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) claimed it was an “unacceptable violation of the Constitution” that he had launched the attacks without getting congressional authorization first. Other Democrats, and even some Republicans, also argued that the president can’t order any military operations without telling Congress first. However, the War Powers Resolution seems quite clear that he can.