Sen. Bernie Sanders / US Sentate & Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / US House of Representatives & The Campaign for Peace and Democracy – 2017-04-10 01:39:41
In a world of vicious dictators, Syria’s Bashar Assad tops the list as a dictator who has killed hundreds of thousands…
No Airstrikes Without Congressional Approval
Bernie Sanders / Bernie Sanders’ Facebook Page
(April 8, 2017) — In a world of vicious dictators, Syria’s Bashar Assad tops the list as a dictator who has killed hundreds of thousands of his own citizens to protect his own power and wealth. His regime’s use of chemical weapons against the men, women and children of his country, in violation of all international conventions and moral standards, makes him a war criminal.
As the most powerful nation on earth, the United States must work with the international community to bring peace and stability to Syria, where over 400,000 people have been killed and over 6 million displaced. The horror of Syriaâ€™s civil war is almost unimaginable.
If there’s anything we should’ve learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in which the lives of thousands of brave American men and women and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians have been lost and trillions of dollars spent, it’s that it’s easier to get into a war than get out of one.
Iâ€™m deeply concerned that these strikes could lead to the United States once again being dragged back into the quagmire of long-term military engagement in the Middle East. If the last 15 years have shown anything, it’s that such engagements are disastrous for American security, for the American economy and for the American people.
The Trump administration must explain to the American people exactly what this military escalation in Syria is intended to achieve, and how it fits into the broader goal of a political solution, which is the only way Syria’s devastating civil war ends. Congress has a responsibility to weigh in on these issues. As the Constitution requires, the president must come to Congress to authorize any further use of force against the Assad regime.
Further, the US must work with all parties to reinforce longstanding international norms against the use of chemical weapons, to hold Russia and Syria to the 2013 deal to destroy these weapons and to see that violators are made accountable.
ACTION ALERT: Protest Trump’s Illegal Airstrike
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard / US House of Representatives
(April 8, 2017) –What President Trump did was illegal. Not only did he lack the Congressional authorization to launch a military strike against Syria — by launching missiles before the United Nations could collect evidence from the site of this week’s chemical attacks in Syria, the White House has jeopardized the legitimacy of future attacks on chemical assets or the regime airbases used to deliver them.
Recent history has shown us where poor judgment and a lack of evidence or intelligence can lead in times of crisis. Add your name to my petition to stop illegal airstrikes and compel President Trump to abide by the US Constitution and work with Congress, and our allies in the United Nations.
If President Assad is indeed guilty of this horrible chemical attack on innocent civilians, I will be the first to call for his prosecution, conviction and sentencing by the International Criminal Court. But the successful prosecution and conviction of war criminals in the International Criminal Court hinges on the UN’s ability to collect evidence.
President Trump’s unilateral airstrikes inhibits our ability to gather the facts needed to present a legal case against the culprits responsible for the horrific chemical attacks.
The fact is, Trump’s reckless escalation of the regime change war to overthrow the Syrian government will make things worse for the Syrian people, not better. Have we learned nothing from our invasions of Iraq and Libya?
The overthrow of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, brutal dictators who attacked their own people, has resulted in hundreds of thousands more civilians killed, millions more refugees, trillions of dollars wasted, and the strengthening of al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorist organizations.
We risk the same outcome in Syria if we overthrow the Syrian government. Additionally, this attack on Syria brings the United States and Russia closer to a direct military confrontation.
There is a reason our Constitution is written to require Congressional approval to declare war on an another country — so the people of our country have a voice and so our nation isn’t heedlessly thrown into war without a clear goal, strategy and endgame.
The stakes of war are too high to allow one individual to unilaterally and rashly make such a grave decision for our entire country.
The chemical attack in Syria is abhorrent and deserves a thorough investigation and prosecution according to international law. Yet we cannot allow this attack to be a rationale to throw aside our Constitution and further escalate the counterproductive regime change war that has already resulted in the deaths of over 400,000 Syrians and created the worst refugee crisis in modern history.
What Donald Trump did was reckless and dangerous. As the neocon hawks beat their war drums, we must drown their voices with our calls for peace.
ACTION: Add your name to my petition stating last night’s airstrikes were illegal and that President Trump must work with Congress before any unilateral escalation of war.
ACTION ALERT: Trump’s War in Syria
Win Without War / MoveOn.org
(April 8, 2017) — Donald Trump just launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles to strike Syria.  Last night, with no apparent plan for what comes next and with no legal authorization, Donald Trump unilaterally and recklessly launched a military action in Syria. This is not leadership and it will not make our country safer nor end the tragic human suffering in Syria.
Tell Congress: Immediately cancel your planned recess and debate and vote before any further military engagement by Donald Trump in Syria.
Trump cannot bomb his way to peace. If he were truly concerned about the human suffering in Syria, rather than sending a few dozen bombs, he would be leading the world in a diplomatic effort to end the war, increasing American support for humanitarian assistance, and welcoming Syrian refugees to the safety of America.
Instead he just launched an illegal and unauthorized escalation that could have devastating consequences, prolonging human suffering in Syria, and undermining American security. Things could spiral quickly in the coming hours.
We’ve been working all night to mobilize partners to sound the alarm in every corner of this nation to say NO to Donald Trump’s war in Syria.
The Constitution is crystal clear. Only Congress can authorize the type of military force the President just unleashed on Syria. Instead of heading out of town for two weeks of vacation, Congress must immediately return to Washington to debate and vote on Trumpâ€™s military escalation in Syria.
There’s no doubt that Bashar al-Assad is a brutal dictator who has slaughtered his own people and is complicit in the use of numerous war crimes. But these military strikes are no humanitarian mission. These American bombs will not end the war in Syria and they will not ultimately hold Assad accountable for his murderous brutality. But we must reject the false choice that says â€œaccountabilityâ€ can only be found at the tip of an American bomb.
The simple truth is the US cannot bomb its way to peace in Syria. If Donald Trump truly wanted to help the victims of this tragic war, he could easily reverse his plans to significantly cut federal funding that goes towards alleviating the humanitarian crisis.
And if he really believes that the deaths of small children in Syria is an “affront to humanity,” he would immediately rescind his executive order blocking those same children from finding safety from the ravages of war by coming to the United States.
Sadly, we know that those life saving measures aren’t on Donald Trumpâ€™s agenda. So, before any more American bombs fall in Syria, Congress must debate and vote on Donald Trump’s new war in Syria.
Thank you for working for peace,
Stephen, Michelle, Mariam, Amy and the Win Without War team
1. “Dozens of US Missiles Hit Air Base in Syria,” The New York Times, April 6, 2017
No to Assad’s Brutality
No to ISIS
No to US and Russian Bombing and Military Forces in Syria
For a Revival of the Arab Spring
Statement of the Campaign for Peace and Democracy
(April 8, 2017) — We are horrified by the relentless, cruel attacks of the Assad regime, aided by Moscow and Tehran, on the Syrian people. For sheer brutality the butchers in Damascus have few equals in the world today.
But we also wholeheartedly condemn US bombing and military forces in Syria, which will kill innocent people and contribute nothing towards a just solution to the Syrian conflict, while at the same time serving to deepen the reactionary US military presence in the Middle East and reinforce Assad’s rhetorical claim that he is defending the Syrian people against Western imperialism, hollow though that claim may be.
Assad claims to be the only force standing between “stability” and the victory of ISIS, but this ignores the fact that authoritarian, repressive regimes like those in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Syria are highly effective recruiting agents for ISIS and similar jihadis.
The other major recruiters for religious extremists and terrorists in the Middle East are the United States and its allies, with their bloody history of intervention and, in the case of the US, virtually carte blanche support for Israel.
And while President Trump’s missile attack on the Syrian Shayrat airbase may have been limited, such bombing has its own logic, dangerously putting US imperial prestige on the line and thus potentially triggering escalating attacks and counterattacks.
We are witnessing a set of deadly symbioses in Syria: Assad and ISIS use one another as justification for their own savageries, while the United States and its allies on the one hand, and Russia and Iran on the other, point to the very real crimes of one another to excuse interventions which in no way protect or defend the Syrian people, but rather serve their imperial (or in the case of Iran, sub-imperial) interests in the region.
The war in Syria cannot be understood apart from the broader political landscape in the Middle East. The popular revolutionary uprisings of the Arab Spring, from Tunisia, Egypt and Bahrain to Syria, Libya and Yemen, offered a glimpse of a democratic and just future for the peoples of the region. For now, they have been thwarted, and in most cases, apparently crushed by a combination of domestic reactionary forces and the support of their foreign patrons.
However, the resistance in Syria has proven amazingly resilient: as recently as March of last year courageous street protests under the slogan “The Revolution Continues” erupted in Syrian cities during the brief cessation of hostilities.
As reported in The New Statesman:
” When fighters from Jabhat al-Nusra tried to storm one of these demonstrations in the town of Maarat al-Numan, the protesters drowned them out by chanting, ‘One! One! One! The Syrian people are one!’ This is a maxim from the incipient, secular phases of the uprising, in which Syrians struggled to stem the tide of rising sectarian and ethnic tension injected by the jihadists’ engagement in the conflict.” (1)
It is truly a time of colossal, obscene double standards.
We see Donald Trump, along with most of the mainstream media and leading Republican and Democratic Party politicians, hypocritically deploring the massacre of innocent men, women and babies in Syria — while they remain coldly indifferent to the massacres and loss of human life at the hands of the US and the forces it supports in Mosul and Yemen. And meanwhile desperate refugees from Syria’s carnage are cruelly turned away from US borders.
We also see Donald Trump welcoming Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi , while brazenly dismissing any human rights concerns and continuing Obama’s policy of generous military aid, despite Sisi’s horrific record of murdering and imprisoning thousands of his opponents.
It is safe to predict, moreover, that if and when the Islamic State gains more and more supporters in Egypt in response to Sisi’s dictatorial rule, we will hear a chorus of apologists saying that unsavory as he may be, Sisi as a secularist leader is better than the barbaric jihadis, has significant popular support, and therefore has to be supported.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, the Russian government and its news agency RT deplore the heartrending destruction of neighborhoods and deaths of civilians in Mosul and Yemen and decry the callousness of the US military — while justifying Assad’s attacks on the people of Aleppo and across Syria.
In fact, Russian military involvement, including aerial support for attacks on civilian and military opponents of the regime, has actually played a significant, likely critical, role in keeping Assad’s regime in power.
We completely reject these grotesque alternatives. We urgently hope for a revival of the movements and the spirit of the Arab Spring, which offer the only possibility of breaking out of the death spiral of Middle Eastern politics.
Many will dismiss this perspective as impractical, but what is truly impractical is the idea that the great powers, each with its own imperial agenda, will bring justice or democracy.
If, against enormous odds, democratic forces are able to wrest an agreement that protects them from continuing slaughter by Assad and ISIS and leaves them in a position to struggle and fight again another day, then their decision to accept such a limited agreement should be respected.
But even such an agreement will only be won as a result of pressure from the Syrian people, not through the initiative of outside powers who, despite their differences and rivalries, share a deep hostility to a resurgence of autonomous popular forces in Syria or anywhere else.
Democratic popular forces may be weak today, but our only principled and practical course is to declare our solidarity with their struggles, try to strengthen them, and oppose all those who attempt to subvert and destroy them.
(1) The 2016 demonstration in Maarat al-Numan is described in this New Statesman article
Protests in other Syrian cities are described in these articles:
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