Ronnie Dugger / Reader Supported News – 2017-04-11 01:00:32
Trump’s Illegal Act of War Against Syria
Ronnie Dugger / Reader Supported News
(April 9, 2017) — Let’s be clear.
Thursday, in our names, President Trump committed an act of war firing 59 Tomahawk missiles into Syria without authority from Congress and therefore without authority from us, the American people.
Under the Constitution only Congress can declare war. Trump did not ask Congress for war or for authority to use our military forces against Syria.
By no stretch of sophistry does George W. Bush’s 2001 authorization from Congress to use our military force against Al Qaeda and associated terrorists have any defensible connection 16 years later to Trump’s bombing Syria during its civil war, which so far has killed 400,000 people.
Trump called his bombing “retaliation,” but in the atrocity he gave as his reason, Syrians, not Americans, were gassed, 85 dying, more than 500 sickened. As Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Friday, “the United States was not attacked.” Because of that and since there is no declaration of war or statutory authority for Trump’s act of war, he has also violated the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
Trump ordered what he did as a military dictator, which he is not. His commanding generals, whose own rules of war require them to refuse to obey an illegal order, obeyed his illegal order illegally.
If their crime of aggression now metastasizes into a multinational war, even World War III, all of that will be on all of us as an American war of aggression prohibited under international law since the end of World War II at Nuremberg.
With Congress, as scheduled, recessing the day after these bombings for two weeks, at the least members of Congress ought to demand publicly from their home areas that Trump and his generals confer with and obey Congress before committing any further acts of war on Syria.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said Friday that Trump “must come to Congress to authorize any further use of force against the Assad regime.” Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the House, asked Speaker Paul Ryan to call members back into session to “debate any decision to place our men and women in uniform in harm’s way.”
Of course now Trump must stand ready to protect or withdraw our thousand or so troops in Syria if they come under attack after his bombing, and in the same meanwhile, Mr. President, if you do not call a special session on this, then until you consult with and hear from Congress, in respect for the people of the United States, stand back.
War criminal Assad’s hideous, brutal war crime, again exploding the weapon of mass murder, sarin poison gas, upon his own people, should be prosecuted by both the International Criminal Court and, at our country’s initiative, the United Nations. Let Russia use their UN veto to protect Assad’s mass murders if they dare.
Did Trump’s act of war while warning Syria’s war ally Russia in advance constitute what he dramatized Thursday night, or was his fear of being impeached over collusion with Russia a major or controlling motivation?
There is much more that should be asked and said, because Trump’s high crime Thursday ordering an act of war is impeachable, as are:
â€¢ his nakedly selfish refusal to place his assets in a blind trust as required by the Constitution;
â€¢ his presidential libels from the White House uttered against President Obama and other citizens;
â€¢ his violation of his constitutional duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed by his executive orders directing his subordinates to undercut or disregard a large number of our laws in force;
â€¢ his calling out on national and world TV while a candidate that he welcomed it if Russia had hacked Hillary Clinton’s missing emails, and urging them to make them public if they had them, along with whatever else he and/or his agents may have been doing to help Russia suborn, in his favor, the U.S. election he was in —
â€¢ and alas, whatever other high crimes and misdemeanors he may commit if and as his elephantine ego and what we might understand to be his mental moral illness continue to cause him to put himself first, ahead of the country he is the president of.
At this moment, though, fellow citizens, I believe we need to stop, think carefully about Trump, our lethal and obedient military, our nuclear weapons, our country, the world, and confer with our own emotions and values, and then we should refuse, refuse, to once again “rally around the president” and be manipulated into waging another aggression just a dozen years since we let George W. Bush lie us into invading Iraq and a still raging bloody war that we and the whole world so bitterly regret.
Ronnie Dugger, author of presidential biographies of Lyndon Johnson and Ronald Reagan, books about Hiroshima and universities, and articles in The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, Harper’s, The Atlantic, and many other periodicals, received the George Polk career award in journalism in 2012. Living now in Austin, he is writing a book about nuclear ethics and nuclear war. firstname.lastname@example.org
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