In the park today I saw a teenager watching two little kids, one of whom apparently stole a piece of candy from the other. The teenager rushed up to the two of them, reprimanded one of them, and stole both of their bicycles. I felt like it was my turn to step in at that point, and I confronted the bicycle thief. “Excuse me,” I said, “what makes you think you can commit a larger crime just because you witnessed a smaller one? Who do you think you are?” He stared at me for a while, and replied: “the U.S. military.”
There is no crime larger than war. There is no way to legalize it. The Kellogg-Briand Pact bans it, and the United Nations Charter bans it with narrow exceptions that have not remotely been met by any of the U.S. wars of the past 17 years. A small crime cannot justify a larger one. In 2002-2003 Iraq could have had all the weapons the warmongers were lying about. Or it could have not had them. It didn’t make the slightest difference legally, morally, or otherwise in justifying a war.
Now, Syria could have used chemical weapons. Or it could not have. The question is not uninteresting or amoral or unimportant or boring, but it is completely and utterly irrelevant to the question of war.
So, yes, it’s fun to point out how often they’ve lied and how they lack any proof of their claims and so forth. But do so with the understanding that you’re being played, you’re being manipulated into conceding that if they ever can make a case that some crime has been committed, that will justify them in killing large numbers of people and risking global apocalypse.
It won’t. The problem is not that Trump wants to start a war before the inspectors can determine whether a war is merited. War cannot be merited. There is no such thing as mass murder getting justified by someone else committing murder with the wrong type of murder weapon. This is ludicrous nonsense.
What if Iraqis really had taken babies out of incubators in Kuwait? What if the Vietnamese really had shot back at the invaders in the Gulf of Tonkin? What if the Spanish really had strip-searched a woman or blown up the U.S.S. Maine? Once the media has got you debating some such question as if it’s an application for a license to kill and kill and kill and kill, you’ve failed at the task of spotting the war lie. The lie is not the answer. The lie is the question.
Imagine if whenever 12 people were killed with a bomb or guns the “International Community” had to kill the nearest 20,000 people with poison gas. Why is the reverse so acceptable? It shouldn’t be. It isn’t legal or moral or decent or popular enough for the warmongers to let us have a public vote before they do it.
Trump’s threat of war — the threat itself — is a violation of the UN Charter, which Congress pretends does not exist, but which the U.S. Constitution makes the Supreme Law of the Land along with every other treaty that the United States is party to.
But those Congress members telling Trump he cannot commit the crime of continuing and escalating one of his many wars without Congress, are obliged to act — and not by “authorizing” the crime. Rather, they are obliged to prevent it — and not to wait and punish it after the fact. The tool available to them is impeachment and removal from office. The list of impeachable offenses is not exactly lacking.
There are some people I know of who have not been falling for the media manipulation. They are people who’ve read War Is A Lie.
Statement on Syria from World BEYOND War Director David Swanson
“Donald Trump has just committed a murderous immoral criminal action and sought to depict it as law enforcement,” said David Swanson, the director of World BEYOND War, a non-profit global organization opposed to all warfare. “Congress has sat on its hands, failed to cut off funding, and failed to move on impeachment. It is to be hoped that those Congress members who said such an attack on Syria would be impeachable will at least find the decency now to act after the fact.”
“Trump may have acted just in time to prevent any reports from inspectors weakening his propaganda,” said Swanson. “This is a disturbing replay of the 2003 attack on Iraq, which Trump supported at the time, condemned on the campaign trail, and has now imitated. But it is critical for us to reject the nearly universal pretense that proof of use by Syria of chemical weapons, just like proof of WMD possession by Iraq, would somehow constitute legal or moral grounds for committing additional criminal actions –potentially far more serious actions that risk confrontation between nuclear armed governments.
“While the New York Times tells us that Trump has acted to ‘punish’ Assad, using what Trump calls ‘precision strikes,’ such strikes have a long history of being anything but precise, and the people dying have a habit of not being their nation’s leader. No court has authorized Trump to punish anyone, of course, and the claims of Secretary of So-Called Defense Mattis that attacking Syria is ‘defensive’ can hardly pass the laugh test with even the most war-prone lawyers.
“This criminal action is a blatant violation of the UN Charter and of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, both of which Congress, likewise, prefers to ignore in order to focus on its own supposed power to authorize such crimes. And yet the same Congress will not stand up and defend that power, but rolls over on Yemen so pitifully that Trump could expect no consequences from Capitol Hill for his latest outrage. If an AUMF could legalize this action, the fact remains that there isn’t one that even remotely claims to do so.
“Trump takes us for fearful children when he resorts to the tired propaganda of calling a foreign leader an ‘animal’ and a ‘monster,’ and pretending that war made against a country is somehow actually made against only an individual. In reality, of course, the bombs always kill people depicted (sometimes accurately) as having suffered under the rule of the ‘monster.’
“The fact is that Syria, its opponents, the United States, Russia, and other parties active in Syria for years now have killed many thousands of people using murderous weapons of war. That a relatively small number of people may have been killed with chemical weapons (weapons in the possession of multiple parties in this war) is no more or less murderous than the ongoing mass-murder by respectable bullets and bombs. The use by the United States in recent wars of white phosphorous, napalm, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and other notorious weapons is no more grounds for some foreign self-appointed global savior to bomb Washington, than any events in Syria are grounds for Trump’s latest flaunting of his apparent impunity.
“Trump mocks all of humanity with his claim to be praying for peace while imposing war. Will humanity continue to roll over and take it? Will the United Nations begin to do its job? Will the people and parliaments of Britain and France rise to the occasion? Will the people of the United States pursue strategic and escalating nonviolent action arising out of this weekend’s events? We shall see.”
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include Curing Exceptionalism: What’s wrong with how we think about the United States? What can we do about it? (2018) and War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Support David’s work.
[DS added the video reports.]
Trump’s Attack on Syria Violates International Law
TheRealNews on Apr 12, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a military strike on the Syrian government after Salafi-jihadist rebels alleged a chemical attack in Douma, but human rights expert Alfred de Zayas says this is illegal under international law.
US Military Presence in Syria and Support for Rebels Is Illegal
TheRealNews on Apr 14, 2018
UN independent expert and law professor Alfred de Zayas says the American military presence and the United States’ support for rebels in Syria violate international law.
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