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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he correctly used the term “mission accomplished” to describe Friday night’s missile strike in Syria.

In an earlier statement, Trump also defended the combined US, French and British strikes on three targets in Syria, saying that they were in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians in a Damascus suburb.

“The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term ‘Mission Accomplished’,” he tweeted on Sunday. “I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back. Use often!”

On Saturday, Trump said that the strikes were “perfectly executed”. “Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished,” he tweeted.

The term “mission accomplished” because controversial in America after former Republican President George W. Bush used it to declare victory in Iraq, although the war dragged on for years several years after that declaration.

Trump said on Friday that the US was “prepared to sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents”.

On Capitol Hill, Democrats blasted President Trump for circumventing Congress, calling the strikes “unconstitutional” while most Republicans applauded the move.

“Today, it’s a strike on Syria — what’s going to stop him from bombing Iran or North Korea next?” asked Senator Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Dem­o­crat., said Trump must present a more comprehensive strategy on Syria to Congress and seek lawmakers’ approval.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said the Trump “administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.”

But House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, praised the action. “The United States has taken a decisive action in coordination with our allies … Assad’s barbaric use of chemical weapons cannot go unanswered,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, also a Repub­lican, said he supports “both the action and the objective.”

“I applaud the president for taking military action against the Assad regime for its latest use of chemical weapons, and for signaling his resolve to do so again if these heinous attacks continue,” said Senator John McCain, another Republican who heads the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2018