FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Opposition to Iraq War May Save Syria

by DAVIS SWANSON

Evidence of “weapons of mass destruction” is “no slam dunk,” U.S. officials are saying this time around, reversing the claim made about Iraq by then-CIA director George Tenet.

Opposition to a U.S.-led attack on Syria is growing rapidly in Europe and the United States, drawing its strength from public awareness that the case made for attacking Iraq had holes in it.

A majority in the United States, still very much aware of Iraq war deceptions, opposes arming the “rebel” force in Syria, so heavily dominated by foreign fighters and al Qaeda.  And a majority opposes U.S. military action in Syria.

But that public opinion is only just beginning to get expressed as activism.  With Republicans more willing to actively oppose a war this time, and some section of Democrats still opposed, there’s actually potential to build a larger antiwar movement than that of 2003-2006.

Thus far, however, what’s discouraging an attack on Syria is the public uproar that was created back then over the disastrous attack on Iraq.

The nation of Iraq was destroyed.  Millions of refugees still can’t safely return.  As with every other humanitarian war thus far, humanity suffered, and the suffering will last for ages.  While the damage done to the United States itself doesn’t compare with the damage done to Iraq, it has been severe enough to make many a near-sighted potential war supporter cautious.

The problem with attacking Iraq was not that the vast stockpiles of weapons were fictional.  Had every claim been true, the war would have remained illegal, immoral, and catastrophic.

Were it true that the Syrian government really chose the moment of the U.N. inspectors’ arrival to use chemical weapons, launching a U.S. war on Syria would still hurt the people of Syria — who are overwhelmingly opposed to it, regardless of their level of support for their government.

A regional or even global war could result.  The U.S. military is planning for such scenarios, as if preparing for the apocalypse while igniting it makes the action less insane.

A war of supposed humanitarian philanthropy should consider the value to humanity of the rule of law.  Launching a war in violation of the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the United Nations Charter, and the U.S. Constitution hurts the rule of law.

A war of beneficial generosity should consider other possible medicines that lack the deadly side-effects of war.  For example, the United States could easily stop supporting and arming abusive dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, and Egypt, not to mention the horrors inflicted on Palestine by Israel.

A so-called good and noble war against the evil of chemical weapons should probably be launched by a nation that doesn’t itself use chemical weapons.  Yet, the United States used white phosphorous and napalm as weapons in Iraq, not to mention such internationally sanctioned weapons as depleted uranium and cluster bombs — weapons the United States also sells to other governments regardless of their human rights records (including a big shipment of cluster bombs now headed to Saudi Arabia).

A humanitarian and just war should perhaps show equal concern for those humans killed with any kind of weapon.  Bombing Syria would inevitably kill significant numbers of people.  Isn’t that a problem even if they’re killed with the “right” kind of weapons?

Both sides in the war in Syria have killed large numbers of people.  We have heard as many serious accounts of the rebels using chemical weapons as the government.  Should indisputable facts establish that both sides have used those forbidden weapons, surely the proper response will not be to bomb both sides.

By joining in this war, on the side of an armed opposition dominated by people with no concern for democracy or human rights, the United States will make itself more hated in the region than its previous military actions already have.  While this war has nothing to do with defending the United States, it will in fact endanger it.

Here’s what should be done instead: Pressure Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states and Turkey to stop arming one side, while pressuring Russia and Iran to stop arming the other.  Insist on a cease-fire.  Support U.N. inspections of the evidence of crimes by both sides.  Provide humanitarian aid to Syria, Syrian refugees (now fleeing in greater numbers as the U.S. threatens to attack), and others suffering in the region.  Support nonviolent democracy movements.

And why stop there? End the occupation of Afghanistan, which we think of as “ending” but which is still twice as large as when President Obama was elected.  Stop arming brutal dictatorships and calling the weapons “aid.”  Close Guantanamo and other lawless prison sites.  Halt U.S. drone and other missile strikes worldwide.  Bring U.S. troops home from 175 nations.  Spend 10% of the U.S. military budget providing the world with clean drinking water, food, and assistance in sustainable agriculture and energy.

Our options are not to do nothing or to bomb Syria into the sort of disaster created in Iraq.  There is an alternative that benefits Syrians, makes us safer, and costs less in money, lives, and morality.

David Swanson is author of War is a Lie. He lives in Virginia.

David Swanson wants you to declare peace at http://WorldBeyondWar.org  His new book isWar No More: The Case for Abolition.

More articles by:
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail