Once again, I find that the political party that most closely agrees with my own views is the Green Party. The Green Party has now come out against attacking Syria. Here is their position, in a memo released by the Green Party Shadow Cabinet (on August 28th):
The Green Shadow Cabinet is alarmed by reports that the United States is planning an imminent military attack on Syria, and implores the Obama administration to refrain from an action that at best would be illegal, unconstitutional and immoral, and at worst, would result in catastrophic consequences.
The Obama administration is claiming that it has a moral responsibility to launch a “punitive” strike against Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons, and seems anxious to go forward with targeted cruise missile attacks which would likely come from U.S. naval vessels already positioned in the area. This, despite the call of UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon for the international community to wait until their inspection is complete, and despite the lack of a UN resolution authorizing the use of military force.
The United Kingdom has submitted a resolution to the UN Security Council. It has been established since Nuremberg that attacking another country without UN approval is “the supreme international crime.” The Obama administration will be violating international law if it acts without a vote by the UN in support of military intervention.
Further, under Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, it is the Congress that determines whether the United States goes to war. James Madison claimed that the war powers clause was the most important in the Constitution because the power to take a nation to war should not be vested in one person. More than one hundred Members of Congress have written President Obama reminding him that the Congress has the constitutional authority to begin a war, not the president. We urge the Congress not to authorize war against Syria as there is no military solution to the political conflict in Syria and the unintended consequences of a military attack in that region are unpredictable.
The United States is in no position to claim moral authority with regards to using weapons condemned by the international community. The U.S. is responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocent victims through the use of weapons condemned by the rest of the world. These weapons have included the atom bomb, Agent Orange, white phosphorus, napalm, and depleted uranium. To this day, the United States refuses to sign on to treaties banning the use of landmines and cluster bombs. These particular weapons are responsible for killing and maiming well over one million civilians. In fact, the U.S. has just struck a deal to sell Saudi Arabia $640 million worth of cluster bombs.
It is clearly immoral to kill innocent people, and it makes little difference if a bullet, a chemical, or radiation killed the person. If we as a nation wish to regain some moral authority, we can begin by renouncing the use of weapons banned by the international community. We should destroy our own stockpiles of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. Further, the United States should join the International Criminal Court and live within the rule of law.
Major media outlets seem to be fanning the flames of war while failing to ask even the most basic questions about the legality, morality, or effectiveness of an attack on the sovereign nation of Syria.
If President Obama launches an attack without prior explicit authorization by Congress, he will have committed an offense worthy of impeachment. If he launches an attack without authorization from the UN, he will be guilty of war crimes.
The Green Shadow Cabinet insists in the strongest possible terms that the Obama administration refrain from military actions against Syria.
This Cabinet calls on the people of the United States to rise up in marches, rallies, pickets, and non-violent direct action where possible and necessary in order to confront the Obama administration as well as Congress and the major news media. We must stop the rush to war, and we must demand respect for the laws of this democratic republic and the treaties we have signed.
Green Party Shadow Cabinet member David Swanson has come up with 10 reasons why attacking Syria is a bad idea (and the excuses given for doing so aren't good enough). They are:
1. War is not made legal by such an excuse. It can't be found in the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the United Nations Charter, or the U.S. Constitution. It can, however, be found in U.S. war propaganda of the 2002 vintage. (Who says the federal government doesn't promote recycling?)
2. The United States itself possesses and uses internationally condemned weapons, including white phosphorus, napalm, cluster bombs, and depleted uranium. Whether you praise these actions, avoid thinking about them, or join me in condemning them, they are not a legal or moral justification for any foreign nation to bomb us, or to bomb some other nation where the U.S. military is operating. Killing people to prevent their being killed with the wrong kind of weapons is a policy that must come out of some sort of sickness. Call it Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
3. An expanded war in Syria could become regional or global with uncontrollable consequences. Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Russia, China, the United States, the Gulf states, together with the NATO states; does this sound like the sort of conflict we want? Does it sound like a conflict anyone will survive? Why in the world risk such a thing?
4. Just creating a "no fly zone" would involve bombing urban areas and unavoidably killing large numbers of people. This happened in Libya and we looked away. But it would happen on a much larger scale in Syria, given the locations of the sites to be bombed. Creating a "no fly zone" is not a matter of making an announcement, but of dropping bombs.
5. Both sides in Syria have used horrible weapons and committed horrible atrocities. Surely even those who imagine people should be killed to prevent their being killed with different weapons can see the insanity of arming both sides to protect each other side. Why is it not, then, just as insane to arm one side in a conflict that involves similar abuses by both?
6. With the United States on the side of the opposition in Syria, the United States will be blamed for the opposition's crimes. Most people in Western Asia hate al Qaeda and other terrorists. They are also coming to hate the United States and its drones, missiles, bases, night raids, lies, and hypocrisy. Imagine the levels of hatred that will be reached when al Qaeda and the United States team up to overthrow the government of Syria and create an Iraq-like hell in its place.
7. An unpopular rebellion put into power by outside force does not usually result in a stable government. In fact there is not yet on record a case of U.S. humanitarian war benefitting humanity or of nation-building actually building a nation. Why would Syria, which looks even less auspicious than most potential targets, be the exception to the rule?
8. This opposition is not interested in creating a democracy, or -- for that matter -- in taking instructions from the U.S. government. On the contrary, blowback from these allies is likely. Just as we should have learned the lesson of lies about weapons by now, our government should have learned the lesson of arming the enemy of the enemy long before this moment.
9. The precedent of another lawless act by the United States, whether arming proxies or engaging directly, sets a dangerous example to the world and to those in Washington for whom Iran is next on the list.
10. A strong majority of Americans, despite all the media's efforts thus far, opposes arming the rebels or engaging directly. Instead, a plurality supports providing humanitarian aid.