• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Opposition to Iraq War May Save Syria

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.

More articles by:

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

May 22, 2019
T.J. Coles
Vicious Cycle: The Pentagon Creates Tech Giants and Then Buys their Services
Thomas Knapp
A US War on Iran Would be Evil, Stupid, and Self-Damaging
Johnny Hazard
Down in Juárez
Mark Ashwill
Albright & Powell to Speak at Major International Education Conference: What Were They Thinking?
Binoy Kampmark
The Victory of Small Visions: Morrison Retains Power in Australia
Laura Flanders
Can It Happen Here?
Dean Baker
The Money in the Trump/Kushner Middle East Peace Plan
Manuel Perez-Rocha – Jen Moore
How Mining Companies Use Excessive Legal Powers to Gamble with Latin American Lives
George Ochenski
Playing Politics With Coal Plants
Ted Rall
Why Joe Biden is the Least Electable Democrat
May 21, 2019
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Locked in a Cold War Time Warp
Roger Harris
Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire
Patrick Cockburn
Trump is Making the Same Mistakes in the Middle East the US Always Makes
Robert Hunziker
Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming
Lance Olsen
Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine
Dean Baker
Ady Barkan, the Fed and the Liberal Funder Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
Maduro Gives Trump a Lesson in Ethics and Morality
Jan Oberg
Trump’s Iran Trap
David D’Amato
What is Anarchism?
Nicky Reid
Trump’s War In Venezuela Could Be Che’s Revenge
Elliot Sperber
Springtime in New York
May 20, 2019
Richard Greeman
The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
Manuel García, Jr.
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
Robert Fisk
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, Western States are All Too Happy to Avoid Culpability for War Crimes
Tom Clifford
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf
Chandra Muzaffar
Targeting Iran
Valerie Reynoso
The Violent History of the Venezuelan Opposition
Howard Lisnoff
They’re Just About Ready to Destroy Roe v. Wade
Eileen Appelbaum
Private Equity is a Driving Force Behind Devious Surprise Billings
Binoy Kampmark
Bob Hawke: Misunderstood in Memoriam
J.P. Linstroth
End of an era for ETA?: May Basque Peace Continue
Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail