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Collins says US air strikes in Syria justified, King advises caution

Hassan Ammar | AP
Hassan Ammar | AP
A Syrian soldier films the damage of the Syrian Scientific Research Center which was attacked by U.S., British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians, in Barzeh, near Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 14, 2018.
BDN staff and wire reports

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s legislators are taking different approaches in the wake of U.S. air strikes in Syria.

The United States, France and Britain fired military strikes on Saturday intended to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons. Republican Sen. Susan Collins says the missile strikes were “a justified and proportional response” to Assad’s actions. She says the strikes send a message from world powers that chemical weapons are off limits.

Independent Sen. Angus King, who caucuses with the Democrats, says he agrees the international community can’t tolerate use of chemical weapons. But he adds he’s concerned that a response from the U.S. and allies that isn’t “carefully targeted and coordinated” could escalate tensions from a civil war to an international conflict.

Representatives Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, and Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, echoed King’s reservation.

“While I believe that Assad’s heinous chemical attacks on his own people should not go unpunished, I am concerned that President Trump has once again taken military action without the consent of Congress,” Pingree said in a statement.

“These military strikes were carried out strategically and in close coordination with our allies,” Poliquin said. “However, President Trump should come to Congress if he is considering further aggressive military action.”

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