Illegal. Immoral. Dangerous. Why Congress needs to say No!

Israel/Palestine
on 26 Comments

If I was really optimistic, I’d say that President Obama is hoping that Congress will follow the example of the British parliament – and vote against his proposed military strike on Syria. It would let him off the hook – he could avoid an illegal, dangerous, immoral military assault and say it’s Congress’ fault.

But unfortunately I don’t think that much optimism is called for. Obama’s speech – not least his dismissal of any time pressure, announcing that his commanders have reassured him that their preparations to fire on command is not time-bound – gives opponents of greater U.S. intervention in Syria a week or more to mobilize, to build opposition in Congress and in the public, and to continue fighting against this new danger. As the President accurately described it, “some things are more important than partisan politics.”  For war opponents in Congress, especially President Obama’s progressive supporters, keeping that in mind is going to be difficult but crucial.

Obama said he will “seek Congressional authorization” for a military strike on Syria.  He said he believes U.S. policy is “stronger” if the president and Congress are united, but he made clear his belief that he “has the authority to strike without” Congressional support. That’s the bottom line.  The first question shouted by the press as he left the White House Rose Garden was “will you still attack if Congress votes no?”  He didn’t answer.

There is little question that the Obama administration was blindsided by the British parliament’s vote against the prime minister’s proposal to endorse war. They were prepared to go to war without United Nations authorization, but were counting on the UK as the core partner in a new iteration of a Bush-style “coalition of the willing.” Then NATO made clear it would not participate, and the Arab League refused to endorse a military strike. France may stay in Obama’s corner, but that won’t be enough.

And Congress was getting restive, with more than 200 members signing one or another letter demanding that the White House consult with them.  Too many pesky journalists were reprinting Obama’s own words from 2007, when then-candidate Obama told the Boston Globe that “the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

All of that led to the drive towards war slowing a bit. But it didn’t stop. And that’s a problem. Because whatever Congress may decide, a U.S. military strike against Syria will still be illegal, immoral and dangerous, even reckless in the region and around the world. Congress needs to say NO.

ILLEGAL

However frustrated U.S. presidents may be with the UN Security Council’s occasional refusal to give in to their pressure, the law is clear. The United Nations Charter, the fundamental core of international law, may be vague about a lot of things.  But it is unequivocal about when military force is legal, and when it isn’t. Only two things make an act of war legal: immediate self-defense, which clearly is not the case for the U.S.  The horrific reality of chemical weapons devastated Syrian, not American lives. This is not self-defense. The other is if the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorizes the use of force in response to a threat to international peace and security. That’s the authorization President Obama knows he cannot get – certainly Russia and China would veto, but right now a British veto would certainly be a possibility if Cameron wanted to respond to his public. And it’s not at all clear a U.S. resolution to use force would even get the nine necessary votes of the 15 Council members. The U.S. is thoroughly isolated internationally.

The problem for President Obama is he still is determined to use military force, despite the requirements of international law. He says he doesn’t need that authority – that maybe he’ll use the 1999 Kosovo precedent to “go around” the Security Council. The problem, of course, is that the 1999 U.S.-NATO assault on Serbia and Kosovo was illegal – faced with a sure Russian veto, Bill Clinton simply announced he would not ask for Council permission. Instead, he would get permission from the NATO high command.  But aside from the hammer-and-nail problem (if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail; if you’re NATO military leaders looking for re-legitimation, everything looks like it needs a military solution), nothing in international law allows NATO to substitute for the Security Council.  The Charter was specifically designed to make it difficult to get authorization for military force – its whole raison d’etre is to stand against the scourge of war.  So any new decision to go to use military force without Council authority means that use of force is illegal.

Right now, in Syria, that means that members of Congress have the chance to prevent another illegal U.S. war. If Congress should approve it, likely for political or partisan reasons that have nothing to do with Syria, their vote would mean direct complicity in an illegal and immoral war.

IMMORAL

Pentagon officials have confirmed what logic tells us all: every use of military force threatens civilian lives. More than 100,000 Syrians have been killed in this civil war so far, and hundreds more were killed in what appears to be (remember, we still don’t know for sure) a chemical strike last week – U.S. cruise missile strikes won’t bring any of them back, and more important, won’t protect any Syrian civilians from further threat. To the contrary, low-ranking conscript troops and civilians are almost certain to be injured or killed. Reports out of Syria indicate military offices and more being moved into populated areas – that shouldn’t come as a surprise given the nature of the Syrian regime. But the knowledge makes those contemplating military force even more culpable.

DANGEROUS

A U.S. military strike on Syria will increase levels of violence and instability inside the country, in the region, and around the world. Inside Syria, aside from immediate casualties and damage to the already shattered country, reports are already coming in (including from al Jazeera, known for its strong support of the Syrian opposition) of thousands of Syrian refugees returning from Lebanon to “stand with their government” when the country is under attack. It could lead to greater support to the brutal regime in Damascus. In Kosovo, more Kosovars were forcibly expelled from their homes by the Serbian regime after the NATO bombing began than had happened before it started; Syrian civilians could face similar retaliation from the government.

A U.S. strike will do nothing to strengthen the secular armed opposition, still largely based in Turkey and Jordan, let alone the heroic but weakened original non-violent democratic opposition forces who have consistently opposed militarization of their struggle and outside military intervention. Those who gain will be the most extreme Islamist forces within the opposition, particularly those such as the Jubhat al-Nusra which are closest to al Qaeda. They have long seen the U.S. presence in the region as a key recruitment tool and a great local target.

There is also the danger of escalation between the U.S. and Russia, already at odds in one of the five wars currently underway in Syria. So far that has been limited to a war of words between Washington and Moscow, but with the G-20 meeting scheduled for next week in St Petersburg, President Putin may feel compelled to push back more directly, perhaps with new economic or other measures.

Crucially, a military strike without United Nations authorization undermines the urgent need for serious, tough diplomacy to end the Syrian war. The U.S. just cancelled a meeting with Russia to talk about negotiations; a couple of months ago, Russia cancelled one. They both must be pushed to meet urgently to arrange and implement an immediate ceasefire and an arms embargo on all sides in Syria.

And finally, what happens the day after?   If Syria retaliates against a U.S. missile strike – with an attack on a U.S. warship, or a U.S. base in a neighboring country, or on U.S. troops in the region, or against Israel…. do we really think the U.S. will simply stand back and say “no, this was just a one-time surgical strike, we won’t respond”?  What happens when that inevitable response pushes the U.S. closer towards direct full-scale involvement in the Syrian civil war?

The word to Congress now must be – you got the vote.  That’s important. Because now you can use that vote to say NO to military action.

SO WHAT SHOULD THE U.S. DO?

First thing, stop this false dichotomy of it’s either military force or nothing.  The use of chemical weapons is a war crime, it is indeed what Secretary Kerry called a “moral obscenity.”  Whoever used such a weapon should be held accountable. So what do we do about it?

·         First, do no harm.  Don’t kill more people in the name of enforcing an international norm.

·         Recognize that international law requires international enforcement; no one country, not even the most powerful, has the right to act as unilateral cop.  Move to support international jurisdiction and enforcement, including calling for a second UN investigation to follow-up the current weapons inspection team, this one to determine who was responsible for the attack.

·         Recommend that whoever is found responsible be brought to justice in The Hague at the International Criminal Court, understanding that timing of such indictments might require adjustment to take into account ceasefire negotiations in Syria.

·         President Obama can distinguish himself powerfully from his unilateralist predecessor by announcing an immediate campaign not only to get the Senate to ratify the International Criminal Court, but to strengthen the Court and provide it with serious global enforcement capacity.

·         Move urgently towards a ceasefire and arms embargo in Syria. Russia must stop, and must push Iran to stop arming and funding the Syrian regime. The U.S. must stop, and must push Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and others to stop arming and funding the opposition, including the extremist elements. That won’t be easy – for Washington it may require telling the Saudis and Qataris that if they don’t stop, we will cancel all existing weapons contracts with those countries.  (As my colleague David Wildman has said, why don’t we demand that the Pentagon deal with arms producers the way the Dept of Agriculture deals with farmers – pay them NOT to produce weapons. And then the money can be used to retool their factories to produce solar panels instead of Tomahawk missiles, and the workers stay on the job….)

·         Stand against further escalation of the Syrian civil war by voting NO on any authorization for U.S. military strikes.

26 Responses

  1. HarryLaw
    September 1, 2013, 11:40 am

    The Legitimacy/legality argument was aired by the UK attorney General before the vote in parliament on the right to protect, the AG in his short opinion thought it would be legal. This conclusion from the BBC site states…”The government also seems mindful of the critical distinction in international law and relations between legality and legitimacy.

    The two are intricately linked. The military intervention to stop the attacks on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999 was legally questionable because there was no Security Council resolution permitting it. But at the same time, its legitimacy was widely acknowledged.
    So the greater the sense of legitimacy, the fewer concerns of illegality.
    The government will hope that its note will convince its critics that whatever the legality, there is moral legitimacy to intervene”.
    A quite different conclusion was advanced by Professor Michael Mandel here.. link to shoah.org.uk
    Surely if consensus is required for the legitimacy argument to be invoked, then that consensus is not there with a coalition of the willing comprising of so few nations, so if a distinction can be made between legality and legitimacy and the criteria is general consensus, its obviously not there, so any action is not only illegal, it is not legitimate either. Unless it is claimed by the US that they alone can decide whats legal or legitimate.

  2. NormanF
    September 1, 2013, 11:49 am

    Phyllis Bennis thinks a totalitarian regime can be dissuaded from slaughtering its own people by mere words.

    Had the Russians and the Chinese not vetoed comprehensive sanctions against Syria repeatedly, we would not have had to contemplate the use of military force to avert an even greater tragedy.

    Place the blame where it rightly belongs – with the backers of the Assad dictatorship. I don’t like war. But sometimes you need to counter an evil before it leads to more loss of human life.

    If 100,000 dead isn’t enough to get the Western Left to stand up and call for vigorous measures against a genocidal regime, what would be the point when they would say enough?

    Men, women and children are being killed daily and the Western Left doesn’t want to hold a murderous dictatorship accountable. That says it all.

    • Abierno
      September 1, 2013, 1:17 pm

      Norman, you do realize that the rebels 1) captured a chlorine gas factory in Aleppo and 2) were caught in a border town of Turkey with many cannisters of Sarin.
      You will remember that chlorine gas was one of the chemical weapons of choice in World War I. Given that the videos do not show the commonly occurring sequellae of sarin, consideration should be given to the possiblilty of chlorine gas, to which
      the rebels have not only access but the means of production.

    • Woody Tanaka
      September 1, 2013, 1:25 pm

      “Had the Russians and the Chinese not vetoed comprehensive sanctions against Syria repeatedly, we would not have had to contemplate the use of military force to avert an even greater tragedy.”

      And had USAipac not used its veto to prevent comprehensive sanctions against the zionist apartheid regime, the Palestinians would be liberated by now.

      “But sometimes you need to counter an evil before it leads to more loss of human life.”

      Which is exactly why the greater Tel Aviv metro area should come under attack asap.

      “Men, women and children are being killed daily and the Western Left doesn’t want to hold a murderous dictatorship accountable.”

      Cry a river, zio. You don’t give a damn when your vile state murders men, women and children who happen to be Palestinians or Arabs in surrounding states when you deem it necessary for your Great Zionist Empire. So attend to the beam in your eye before talking about anyone else.

    • eljay
      September 1, 2013, 2:52 pm

      >> I don’t like war. But sometimes you need to counter an evil before it leads to more loss of human life.

      I don’t recall seeing NormanFeee calling for war to counter the evil of Zio-supremacism, its oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist state, or its 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppession, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder.

      Funny, that.

      >> If 100,000 dead isn’t enough to get the Western Left to stand up and call for vigorous measures against a genocidal regime …

      IIRC, roughly half the casualties are victims of the insurgents / terrorists / rebels. I’m sure NormanFeee meant to suggest that the West should stand up and call for vigorous measures against both genocidal sides.

    • kalithea
      September 1, 2013, 4:01 pm

      “If 100,000 dead isn’t enough to get the Western Left to stand up and call for vigorous measures against a genocidal regime, what would be the point when they would say enough?”

      Oh please! Let’s be honest and stop with the rebel propaganda already: 100,000 on BOTH sides. One million were killed in Rwanda, countless others in Darfur, Congo and other places. Civil war is savage and cruel; and this situation IS civil war. Evil exists and will always exist, and when you use one boogeyman as a means to an end, like war; 10 more will eventually rise up around the world.

      If Israel and Saudi Arabia hadn’t stoked a brush fire in Syria; there would be no civil war to speak of! This is the result of constant meddling by foreign operatives, regime change machinations, imperial hubris and the inability of Israel to bend to justice, diplomacy and international law and constantly provoke its neighbors and meddle in their affairs out of paranoia.

      Quit blaming this on China and Russia when we all know that Israel is at the top of the GUILTY LIST, followed by Saudi Arabia and the U.S., and we wouldn’t be in this mess today if those three weren’t so hypocritical and acted on the principle of equal justice for all instead of hubris and pure self-interest! And we all know this isn’t the first time these parties brought us to the brink and further. So please put the blame squarely where it belongs.

  3. piotr
    September 1, 2013, 12:55 pm

    I think that to most members of Congress legality and morality of international actions are irrelevant and the dangers are not all that large.

    There are reasons to vote “no” even if we discard prudence and decency. For starters, there was a fresh massacre in Egypt and the Establishment has hard time figuring out if they need to support fascist seculars who ostensibly (but probably not sincerely) hate US government, or Islamic opposition that ostensibly (but probably not sincerely) had a good cooperation with Administration.

    This illustrates how dreaded the “Islamists” are. The rebels in Syria are jihadists of quite extreme kind and now Islamist-haters are supposed to support an action to their benefit. There goes your Tea party vote. Once the ball is rolling in a direction, decency and prudence may find liberal adherents and so on.

  4. Taxi
    September 1, 2013, 1:12 pm

    If Obama and our congress want to see israel bombed to sh*thouse era, then he can go ahead and bomb Syria.

    Sure israel has enough arsenal to destroy Damascus a few times over, but can it prevent or take similar hits back on its (stolen) home front?

    The answer to this question is a categorical NO!

    The only reason why this “limited attack” (an absurd term in a war zone) did not take place last week, is because of israel’s evident fear of the promised retaliatory consequences on tel aviv and “beyond and beyond and beyond”.

    When you have a warmongering israel-firsters like John Bolton advising against Obama attacking Syria, well… need I say more?

  5. HarryLaw
    September 1, 2013, 1:49 pm

    How many of the opposition forces in Syria will come over to Assad,s side in the event of a US attack, like this commander… link to english.farsnews.com

  6. Justpassingby
    September 1, 2013, 1:59 pm

    How could Obama live with himself?

    Bush attacked Iraq for Israel.
    Now Obama attack Syria for Israel

  7. MRW
    September 1, 2013, 2:04 pm

    Johnson famously said, “If we’ve lost Walter Cronkite, we’ve lost the country.”

    It is the tell of 2013 that this is now accurate: “If we’ve lost Glenn Beck, we’ve lost the country.” That happened last Tuesday. It buried the Weekly Standard letter signed by 66, 68 neocons issued the same day. Watch him.
    link to theblaze.com

    You really should watch this Glenn Beck clip.

    • Antidote
      September 2, 2013, 10:30 am

      “You really should watch this Glenn Beck clip.”

      And his updated version of Aryanism (actually not that different from older versions that contributed to the Balfour declaration)

      link to wnd.com

  8. Danaa
    September 1, 2013, 2:05 pm

    I am surprised Phyllis Bennis seems to take it for granted – if obliquely – that it was assad’s forces behind this CW attack. many have pointed out that the arrows just simply don’t line up for this being the case. it’s not just that Putin would call this contention “utter nonsense’, something he wouldn’t be likely to do unless there was some evidence that this was a False Flag operation. It’s also that major questions are being raised about any number of quoted assertions by kerey et al. Such as – how many died? as it 1429 as kerey said, over 500 as cited by british sources or 335 as mentioned by MSF? Then there is analysis of those videos helpfully loaded up by the rebels which again raise more questions than they answer (link later).

    That not to mention the increasingly suspicious Israeli sources for those “intercepted’ calls. As Craig murray just wrote, it is kind of strange that the extremely capable and well-equipped GCHQ station at Troodos – one that has every bit of the capabilities mossad and/or unit 8200 do, didn’t pick up on these calls. see:

    link to craigmurray.org.uk

    And that before we even ask the Cui bono question, one the likes of Kerey and warmonger rice dismiss (why ask – just because).

    My theory is that israel and friends in SA jumped the gun. I believe it was because there was serious alarm following Dempsey’s report that America and UK have given up on Regime change and are were looking for alternatives, with Assad remaining in place, at least for a while. In addition, the battelfield victories by Assad were quite substantial in the past 6 months, and it was clear they were planning to move in on Alleppo next. I saw an article (forgot by whom) from haaretz raising alarm about Alleppo possibly falling to the Syrian government forces, going on about that just can’t be allowed to happen.

    If Israel + SA did jump the gun, the timing is extremely inconvenient for Obama to become embroiled in the contentious bombing operation. Obamacare is off to a rocky start, debt ceiling negotiations are not going well. The sequestration is likely to go into second year forcing still more cuts, and NSA is reeling from Snowden’s revelations, which have caused serious collateral damage for the entire internet model. Perhaps the idea was to do this little “operation” when congress is out on a break, do a little “Guns of August”. Quite likely, the planners of the FFO did not count on the vote in the british parliament and tended to dismiss the huge resistance to this course of action in the military – both the US and UK. More than anything they failed to read the ground swell of resistance from the republican ranks in the US, normally a segment that can be counted on to be gang-ho about any bombing anytime.

    To return to my first question, perhaps phyllis did not want to wade into the murky waters of who really was behind this operation so as not to hang her arguments on the likelihood of a FFO. It’s probably a good tactic. Still, adding the likelihood that we had another iraq WMD/Niger yellow cake operation, followed by Gulf of Tomkin style PR, makes her arguments all the more poignant and the case for the immorality/illegality of a Syrian bombing “Fun Run” all the more pointed.

  9. American
    September 1, 2013, 2:08 pm

    link to whitehouse.gov
    assessment-syrian-government-s-use-chemical-weapons-august-21

    “”Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence – but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s analysis of what took place.

    SECRET SOURCES ONCE AGAIN

    “”The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack
    We have intelligence that leads us to assess that Syrian chemical weapons personnel”

    SHOW US THE INTELLGENCE.

    “”Our intelligence sources in the Damascus area did not detect any indications in the days prior to the attack that opposition affiliates were planning to use chemical weapons””

    NAME THE INTELLIGENCE SOURCES-TELL US WHO AND WHAT THEY ARE.

    ”To conclude, there is a substantial body of information that implicates the Syrian government’s responsibility in the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21.As indicated, there is additional intelligence that remains classified because of sources and methods concerns that is being provided to Congress and international partners”

    UNCLASSIFY THE SOURCES AND METHODS

    OTHERWISE WE *ASSESS* THAT YOU’RE LYING.

  10. American
    September 1, 2013, 2:39 pm

    link to latimes.com

    WASHINGTON – Congress’ attention to any potential military action in Syria is not just about checking executive war powers, it’s also about money….

    ”The concerns of deficit hawks could make it difficult for Boehner to round up the votes for extra defense-related spending. Liberal Democrats, already uneasy about military action, may not be inclined to lend their backing, especially after Democratic priorities, including funding for school lunches and other services for the poor, have been slashed under the Republican-controlled House majority……

    ”The Pentagon has already been stung by the steep budget cuts, known as sequester, that Congress put in place this year. House Republicans have been trying to undo the defense cuts by shifting them to other domestic programs, but Democrats and the White House reject that approach.”

    ”When lawmakers return to Washington on Sept. 9, their immediate task will be to pass legislation to fund the government by Sept. 30 or risk a federal shutdown. After that, they will need to raise the federal debt limit by mid-October so the Treasury Department can continue paying the nation’s accumulated bills.”

    ”The officials on Thursday’s conference call, which included Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, acknowledged that such a funding request probably would be needed, according to aides familiar with the private briefing.”>>>>

    This should be congress’s the deal—- they can screw the American people AGAIN…or they can tell Obama they will refuse to submit a budget in Sept and shut the US government down if he bombs Syria.
    Shut the US down, shut it down, shut it down shut it down.

  11. kalithea
    September 1, 2013, 3:42 pm

    To everyone who visits here:

    Call your representatives!!! Ask everyone you know to call! Organize and take to the streets!

    Stop this CARTE BLANCHE RESOLUTION for WAR!!! For once as Americans, doooooooo something! This is waaaaay worse than Iraq – get your butts off your couches and fight this for God’s sakes!!!

    link to moonofalabama.org

    And I can’t repeat it enough – STOP THIS RESOLUTION FOR WAR.

    Obama is out of his mind!

  12. kalithea
    September 1, 2013, 4:22 pm

    Everyone answer this question for me: Which of these pairs are THE MOST DESTABILIZING FORCES IN THE M.E. REGION: a) China and Russia, b) Saudi Arabia and Iran or c) ISSSSSSSSSSSSSRAEL AND THE U.S.?????????????

    So spare me the the bit about IF ONLY…China and Russia hadn’t vetoed the Resolutions against Syria. IF ONLY, IF ONLY the U.S. and Israel would respect International Law themselves, FIRST!

  13. kalithea
    September 1, 2013, 5:03 pm

    More than any other previous resolution, even the Resolution to invade Iraq, this Resolution will expose every latent hypocrite in Congress and the true colors of every member of Congress will finally emerge. Let me put it this way: Get ready, cause you’re going to witness a whole lot of RED staining the blue side of the aisle – be prepared for the ULTIMATE WAKE UP CALL. And maybe, then maybe, Americans will fight like crazy for a THIRD PARTY, rather than resign themselves to this sub-Democracy à la–the Zionist template!

    Ask yourselves this: Did you ever imagine, in your wildest dreams, Candidate now Prez Obama inviting “Bomb-bomb-bomb Iran McCain” to lunch to get him to Lobby for a Resolution for War?

    This is how off-his-rocker Obama is! But he’s not the only Democrat you don’t really know – GET READY!

    • just
      September 1, 2013, 5:53 pm

      I hope that AIPAC’s influence on Congress is thoroughly exposed by this debate.

      “All of that led to the drive towards war slowing a bit. But it didn’t stop. And that’s a problem. Because whatever Congress may decide, a U.S. military strike against Syria will still be illegal, immoral and dangerous, even reckless in the region and around the world. Congress needs to say NO.”

      Illegal, immoral and dangerous– when will we apologize for all the terrible things we have done in this world of ours? To even contemplate bombing an already suffering Syria and her people makes my blood run cold.

      Thank you, Phyllis.

  14. gingershot
    September 1, 2013, 5:30 pm

    Israel’s SLAMDUNK phone intercept of a ‘Panicked Syrian Commander’ PROVING that the Syrian Regime used Sarin gas:

    Everyone will notice that NO ONE has proffered the transcripts of this planetary-wide reported ‘intercepted panicked call’. Gee – I WONDER WHY

    =====================================================
    Panicked Senior Syrian Commander: ‘HEY! What was that? Did Anyone Shoot Off a Chemical Weapon near Damascus!!”

    Syrian Chemical Weapons Commander: NO SIR – it wasn’t us! Maybe it was Al Nusrah again.

    Panicked Senior Syrian Commander: ‘OK OK – Thank Gd! Let me catch my breath’
    ===================================================

    I want to see the Arabic transcripts and translation from UN Arabic translators. I don’t trust the Israelis anymore than I would trust Netanyahu himself

    The Israelis and her Neocons lied us into the Iraq War with the Niger Uranium Forgeries, and Netanyahu has been trying to lie the US into a war with Iran for the last 10 years, with the now ‘debunked ‘Smoking Iranian Laptop’ proffered by Mossad to the UN, Mossad agents posing as CIA to Jundallah terrorists as they sent them on missions to assassinate Iranian scientists, etc etc etc

  15. DICKERSON3870
    September 1, 2013, 7:04 pm

    RE: “Right now, in Syria, that means that members of Congress have the chance to prevent another illegal U.S. war.” ~ Phyllis Bennis

    TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! ! TAKE ACTION! ! !

    ● FROM RootsAction.org:
    To email Obama, your senators and representative, expressing opposition to an attack on Syria, click HERE.

    ● FROM ROBERT NAIMAN:
    If you think Congress should debate and vote before any war with Syria, you can join 25,000 people at MoveOn in telling Congress by clicking HERE

  16. just
    September 2, 2013, 8:07 am

    “(Reuters) – Syria has asked the United Nations to prevent “any aggression” against Syria following a call over the weekend by U.S. President Barack Obama for punitive strikes against the Syrian military for last month’s chemical weapons attack.”

    and

    “In a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, Syrian U.N. envoy Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari called on “the U.N. Secretary General to shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria”, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

    He called on the Security Council to “maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy”.

    Ja’afari said the United States should “play its role, as a peace sponsor and as a partner to Russia in the preparation for the international conference on Syria and not as a state that uses force against whoever opposes its policies”.

    Syria denies using chemical weapons and accuses rebel groups, who have been fighting for more than two years to topple Assad, of using the banned weapons. At least 100,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which started in March 2011 with protests against four decades of Assad family rule.”

    link to uk.reuters.com

    I hope that Ban Ki- moon refuses to be our lapdog.

  17. eljay
    September 2, 2013, 9:29 am

    In a letter to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and President of the Security Council Maria Cristina Perceval, Syrian U.N. envoy Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari called on “the U.N. Secretary General to shoulder his responsibilities for preventing any aggression on Syria and pushing forward reaching a political solution to the crisis in Syria”, state news agency SANA said on Monday.

    He called on the Security Council to “maintain its role as a safety valve to prevent the absurd use of force out of the frame of international legitimacy”.

    Well done.

  18. yrn
    September 2, 2013, 10:35 am

    “We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the millions of Syrians who have been struggling for dignity and freedom since March 2011. We call on people of the world to pressure the Syrian regime to end its oppression of and war on the Syrian people. We demand that Bashar al-Asad leave immediately without excuses so that Syria can begin a speedy recovery towards a democratic future.”
    Since March 2011, Asad’s regime has steadily escalated its violence against the Syrian people, launching Scud missiles, using weapons banned by the Geneva Convention such as cluster bombs and incendiary munitions, and using aerial bombardment. The regime has detained and tortured tens of thousands of people and committed untold massacres. It has refused political settlements that do not include Asad in power, and it has polarized the society through strategic acts of violence and by sowing seeds of division.”

    Ilan Pappe (University of Exeter, United Kingdom)

    Etienne Balibar (Columbia University, United States/ France)

    Nigel Gibson (Emerson college, United States/ Britain)

    Norman Finkelstein (American researcher and writer, United Sates)

    Adam Shapiro (Activist, United States)

    And Many More
    link to europe-solidaire.org

    MMmmmm I wonder what they say now…… and what those in MW has today about this Documents and those who signed it.

  19. RepresentativePress
    September 2, 2013, 11:06 am

    Great points. Given what we know, it looks like we should be calling for a vote for impeachment if we want to be serious about stopping an attack. Impeach Obama for Syria War Plan NOW!

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