PEACE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER STATEMENT ON PROPOSED SYRIA ATTACK
What the president is proposing is an act of war, and illegal since international law says only the UN can intervene militarily. If the US accepts that the use of chemical weapons is a violation of international law, any response by the US also has to stay within a legal framework. Instead of further escalating the conflict by an illegal war, we urge the government to use all available means to press for a thorough investigation through the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Additionally, we oppose any military attack on Syria because:
- It will not help end the civil war, but only make it more deadly – even the refugee crisis has grown worse in recent weeks because of the fear of US bombs. And it is sure to make the brutal dictator Assad seem like a hero. A US military attack will make it much harder to pursue negotiations toward a ceasefire and thus only prolong the civil war. We should listen to members of the Syrian opposition who oppose US military intervention.
- There are non-violent ways to help the refugees and stop the violence: We should pressure Russia and Iran to stop supplying Assad with more deadly weapons, and we should pressure Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf dictators to stop supplying the rebels with more deadly weapons. We should support the efforts of joint United Nations/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to start a political process. And we can increase our aid for the refugees.
- The US has no moral standing to act without the UN in this: the US used chemical warfare itself by using depleted uranium and white phosphorus on Falluja, Reagan defended Saddam Hussein when he used poison gas on Iranian troops in 1984, and Iraqi towns in 1988, and Vietnam is still recovering from napalm and Agent Orange. The US and the UK are both producers and sellers of these very chemical weapons. The US continues to refuse to sign the ban on landmines, and is even now selling 641 million worth of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia.
- There is enormous danger that bombs will cause dispersal of the terrible chemical weapons and make them even harder to identify and control. This happened in the 1991 US attack on Iraq and US soldiers and Iraqis are still suffering the effects.
- In addition, we like most people in the US, want to see our resources going to rebuilding our country and fixing our massive environmental and social problems.