ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Lawmakers are reacting after the U.S. fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria on Thursday night in retaliation for its chemical weapons attack against civilians.
It was the first direct American assault on the Syrian government and President Donald Trump's most dramatic military order since taking office.
The aggressive approach from President Trump is even receiving praise from Democratic opponents. Hillary Clinton said in a statement Thursday that a more forceful approach was necessary.
Senator Tim Kaine said Friday that he's supported more aggressive action against Syria since the first chemical attacks in 2013, when he voted for the authorization of Congress to make airstrikes on Syria as punishment.
While he applauds Trumps more aggressive stance, he's critical of Trump taking an act of war without first consulting with Congress.
"I'm glad that President Trump has woken up to the atrocities that President Bashar Assad has been committing against his people for six years," Kaine said. The latest attack on civilians has generated his outrage and that's a positive thing."
While Kaine says he applauds the president's actions, he's critical of how he went about them.
"But let's be very, very clear about this. The initiation of military action, missile strikes are an act of war, without a vote of congress is unlawful. The constitution requires that the president get an authorization from Congress prior to commencing military action," Kaine said.
A bold decision that Kaine says deserves consideration from a wider audience.
"The American public deserves that, and our troops deserve it," Kaine said.
WSLS 10 political analyst Dr. Ed Lynch said aggressive action is necessary to defeat the dictator.
"The current dictator Bashar Assad is not going to be stopped, he's not going to be deterred or affected by anything except force. That is all he understands. That is what he uses and that is what needs to be used against him to keep him from using force against innocent people," said Lynch.
While Trump campaigned on keeping the country out of wars like Syria, Lynch notes an exception.
"But he added when he was campaigning that he would use force when U.S. interests were involved. It is a U.S. vital interest that the use of chemical weapons, the use of weapons of mass destruction be punished, be punished forcefully and I think that was his rational on his use of force yesterday," continued Lynch.
Lynch went on to say that this raises some very difficult questions in Washington, D.C. for what is the next step.
"Exactly what price is America willing to pay to get Assad out of power? How many innocent lives must be taken before Assad is out of power? That question would have been much easier to answer when the civil war in Syria started years ago," said Lynch.