In his excellent Peace Train on Syria last week, Tom Mayer covered the current U.S. created crisis with Syria. However, one key thing has changed since last week — President Obama switched gears and asked Congress for authorization to attack Syria.
The Obama administration's playbook resembles that of previous administrations — trust us. So far, the Obama team has made a number of unsubstantiated but compelling claims. Despite only circumstantial evidence, and strong challenges to this "evidence," they say trust them.
Doesn't this sound familiar? Think back to the non-existent WMDs in Iraq or to the non-existent slaughter in Libya. There also was a claim about a slaughter in Kosovo that, surprise, proved to be false. In addition, there was the non-existent attack on an U.S. destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin that President Johnson used to take us into the Vietnam War.
It is a sad commentary that most of the mainstream media continue to simply parrot these bogus excuses for war from one president to the next.
A reputable media might question how serious the U.S. concern about the use of chemical weapons really is. After all, the U.S. used chemical weapons such as Agent Orange and napalm in Vietnam. The U.S. again used chemical weapons (white phosphorus) against Iraq in Fallujah in 2004, according to a Washington Post report. The U.S. also did not take any action against Iraq when it was our ally and used chemical weapons against the Kurds in Halabja in 1988. The U.S. again didn't take any action when Israel used chemical weapons in Gaza in its 2008-09 attack. The world clearly recognizes this hypocrisy that further undercuts U.S. credibility.
A decision to attack appears to be purely political (for Obama to save face?) and not a decision based on supporting international conventions.
Perhaps the most important but often-ignored point is that a U.S. attack would be a blatant violation of international law. If the U.S. does attack, it would be acting as a vigilante, and this action would further undermine international law. Instead of resorting to an illegal attack, the U.S. should work with Russia to bring about a negotiated settlement that would stop the killing of Syrians.
Please contact Congress at 202-224-3121 and the White House at 202-456-1111 and express your opposition to an attack. Also join the vigil at Broadway and Canyon on Saturday at 11 a.m.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" column runs every Friday in the Colorado Daily.