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Before Going To War Again, Can We Step Back, Calm Down, And Think?

Yesterday, Secretary of State John Kerry made it very plain that the United States intends to enter the Syrian civil war. He didn’t put it that way, of course. He talked vaguely about “consequences” and “our response”, but the responses being discussed in Washington D.C. do not include nonviolent options. Journalists may talk about a “surgical strike”, but there’s a threshold that will be crossed with any attack: Our nation will commit an act of warfare, no matter how surgical we might like to think that act will be.

At times like this, when the White House is eager to go to war, good citizens will think twice about the justifications they’re being given for yet another entry into war in the Middle East.

Exaggeration Doesn’t Help

For one thing, we need to question the Obama Administration’s hyperbole. Secretary Kerry declared yesterday that “President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons,” but we all know, if we take a minute to collect our minds, that chemical weapons are not really the world’s most heinous weapons. The world’s most heinous weapons are still contained in the military arsenal of the United States of America, which claims the right to use them, regardless of how nasty they are. The United States of America invented them, and then allowed the technology to produce them to proliferate around the world.

I’m talking, of course, about nuclear weapons. It’s difficult to hear the same nation that dropped nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to get preachy about other nations using weapons of mass destruction. Chemical weapons are awful, and should not be used, but there are worse things.

President Obama Doesn’t Have The Legal Power To Take Us Into War

Another thing for us to keep in mind: The President of the United States does not have the constitutional power to declare war, and has severely restricted power to engage in acts of warfare. The War Powers Resolution specifically states the circumstances in which a President of the United States may engage in an act of warfare without an explicit declaration of war or statutory authorization from Congress: “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

There is no national emergency. The United States has not been attacked by the Syrian government. The territories, possessions, and armed forces of the United States have not been attacked by the Syrian government.

Republican Congressman Justin Amash has publicly reminded President Obama that he needs to get congressional approval before taking action. Another Republican U.S. Representative, Chris Gibson, has also warned Obama not to go to war against the government of Syria, saying, “rather than being solely concerned with U.N. approval, the President must come first to our own Congress for authorization, and I urge him to do so. Finally, I understand the impulse to take action in Syria. However, I hope the President carefully considers this matter and resists the call from some to use military force in Syria.”

Democrats in Congress seem to be unwilling to challenge their own party’s President on this matter. The Congressional Progressive Caucus has been silent. Does the members of the caucus now regard military action as a “progressive” method of government?

So far, the legitimate concerns of these members of Congress are being ignored. It may well be that the majority in Congress want to bring the United States into war. If so, let Congress come back from its vacation, and pass a resolution declaring war, or give Barack Obama explicit authorization for a punitive military attack against the government of Syria.

The United States of America is supposed to be a nation of laws. Supporters of American involvement in the Syrian civil war may regard the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution as an inconvenience, but when it comes to going to war, the United States of America would benefit from more legal inconvenience, not less.

Show Us The Evidence

Ten years ago, the United States of America went to war in Iraq, on the basis of “evidence” that President Bush said he had, showing that Iraq had dangerous chemical weapons. Now, we’re being asked again to trust that the President has such evidence. This trust has not been earned.

The American people should be able to see for themselves whatever evidence President Obama has seen. We should be able to have a full public debate, based on facts, not assertions.

Listen To The Will Of The People

Most members of Congress seem eager for the U.S. military to start fighting in the civil war in Syria. Most American voters are opposed to American involvement in the war. In an opinion poll taken by Reuters and Ipsos after the release of news of a chemical weapons attack in Syria, only 9 percent of Americans polled said they support U.S. military involvement. Even when a chemical weapons attack was specifically cited by the pollsters, support for U.S. entry into the civil war rose only to 25 percent. 60 percent of those polled expressed outright opposition to American military action.

3 comments to Before Going To War Again, Can We Step Back, Calm Down, And Think?

  • J Clifford

    Dear America: Your government is thinking of getting America involved in yet another war in the Middle East, and you’re busy talking about Miley Cyrus instead. The next time you feel like complaining that your government doesn’t represent you, think about that.

  • Tom

    Oh bullshit, J Clifford – it’s just like it was with Bush. We complain to our Congress, we petition the president NOT to do this (like we are doing with the Keystone pipeline) and other countries are weighing in too – but AS USUAL they don’t pay us any mind. We’re just the sheeple now, marks to be exploited, with no power (vote? don’t make me choke on that old canard), no real representation and it’s getting worse by the day.

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/world-opinion-condemns-war-against-syria.html

    Majorities In UK, Germany, US and Elsewhere Oppose Strike

    Everyone knows that the American public is overwhelmingly opposed to war against Syria.

    But Americans are not alone.

    A new poll by The Sun shows that Brits oppose a missile strike against Syria by a factor of 2-to-1.

    A new poll in Germany shows that 69% of the German people were against a military strike on Syria.

    A Pew poll from May – after the previous chemical weapon attack – found:

    Eight-in-ten Germans (82%) opposed such assistance, as did more than two-thirds of the French (69%) and a majority of the British (57%). Even the Turks (65%), who share a border with Syria and now house 300,000 refugees from the civil war, oppose military aid to the rebels.

    Publics in the Middle East are even less supportive of the West getting involved. In five of the six countries that were surveyed in March in the region – Lebanon (80%), Turkey (68%), Tunisia (60%), Egypt (59%) and the Palestinian territories (63%) – publics opposed Americans or Europeans supplying the Syrian rebels with weapons.

    Unfortunately, governments tend to do what they want and ignore the wishes of their people … all over the world. So – without massive protest – the Syrian War will be launched soon.

    (me now) So why are these governments just going ahead with their plans? Because it’s MONEY!! It’s all corporate all the time now (just like the example of the farm in your latest thread – they can get away with animal abuse, GM feed, use “downer cows” and if anyone complains – oh, they’re a terrorist and can be prosecuted under the Ag-gag rules being implemented all over the place.

    Face it, the America you keep believing in is GONE and probably won’t return (because it CAN’T now, there’s no way to fix it from within). It was a fairy tale to begin with (read Howard Zinn and others) and now the curtain has fallen and we see who we’re ruled by in all their splendor – cretinous psychopaths.

  • Tom

    as to why it’s getting worse all the time

    http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/the-leveraged-buyout-of-america.html

    Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts. They are systematically buying up or gaining control of the essential lifelines of the economy. How have they pulled this off, and where have they gotten the money?

    In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke dated June 27, 2013, US Representative Alan Grayson and three co-signers expressed concern about the expansion of large banks into what have traditionally been non-financial commercial spheres. Specifically:

    [W]e are concerned about how large banks have recently expanded their businesses into such fields as electric power production, oil refining and distribution, owning and operating of public assets such as ports and airports, and even uranium mining.

    After listing some disturbing examples, they observed:

    According to legal scholar Saule Omarova, over the past five years, there has been a “quiet transformation of U.S. financial holding companies.” These financial services companies have become global merchants that seek to extract rent from any commercial or financial business activity within their reach. They have used legal authority in Graham-Leach-Bliley to subvert the “foundational principle of separation of banking from commerce”. . . .

    It seems like there is a significant macro-economic risk in having a massive entity like, say JP Morgan, both issuing credit cards and mortgages, managing municipal bond offerings, selling gasoline and electric power, running large oil tankers, trading derivatives, and owning and operating airports, in multiple countries.

    A “macro” risk indeed – not just to our economy but to our democracy and our individual and national sovereignty. Giant banks are buying up our country’s infrastructure – the power and supply chains that are vital to the economy. Aren’t there rules against that? And where are the banks getting the money?
    (there’s lots more to read)

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