FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

What is Wrong With Trump’s Attack on Syria?

Trump may have acted with insufficient evidence as to whether the chemical weapons attack was actually the responsibility of Assad and the Syrian government.  Would Syrian president Assad be foolish enough to launch a chemical attack against civilians, when a military response from the US would be possible, even likely?  Peter Ford, a former UK ambassador to Syria, speaking on BBC Radio, said, “It doesn’t make sense that Assad would do it.  Let’s not leave our brains outside the door when we examine evidence. It would be totally self-defeating as shown by the results…Assad is not mad.”

Critics of the US military response have suggested as a possible scenario for the chemical release in Idlib province that the Syrian government attack may have been a conventional bombing that exploded stored weapons in the possession of the Syrian rebels, which may have included chemical weapons.

Trump did not seek and obtain Congressional authorization for his act of war in attacking a Syrian Air Force base.  Thus, the attack was illegal under US law.  It is not the president’s prerogative to initiate attacks against sovereign nations without Congressional authorization.  By acting without such Congressional authorization, Trump has placed himself and the presidency above the rule of law.

Trump did not seek and obtain authorization for his attack against Syria from the United Nations Security Council, as is required under international law.  By failing to do so the US has put itself outside the boundaries of the UN Charter, which is also a part of US law, as well as other international law to which the US is bound.

Trump has further undermined US relations with Russia, and has harmed the chances of the US and Russia working cooperatively in resolving the Syrian conflict.  Increased tensions between the US and Russia in Syria make conflict between these two nuclear powers more likely.

Trump has demonstrated to the world that in matters of war, as with tweeting, he is impulsive, shoots from the hip and is not constrained by US or international law.  These characteristics are not generally accepted by other world leaders as being preferred qualities in a US president.

Trump’s impulsivity in ordering the attack sets a dangerous standard for someone in charge of the US nuclear arsenal.  It demonstrates the extreme dangers of allowing a single individual to exercise control over a country’s nuclear arsenal.

Despite the illegality and inherent dangers of his military response, Trump seems to be getting a favorable response from the US media.  Nearly all US mainstream media seems to have accepted the assumption that Assad was foolish enough to have launched a chemical attack, and have not questioned Assad’s responsibility for the chemical attack.  It appears that neither the US government nor media have conducted a thorough investigation of responsibility for the chemical attack, which should have been done prior to a military response.

Referring to Trump’s ordering the missile strikes against Syria the evening before, a fawning Fareed Zakaria stated, “I think Donald Trump became president of the United States last night.  I think this was actually a big moment.”  Given Trump’s narcissism, this is the kind of positive response that is likely to keep him returning to impulsive and illegal uses of military force.

For his violations of US and international law in attacking Syria with 59 cruise missiles, it is highly likely that Trump will also be rewarded by the American people with an upward bump in his current ground-level job-approval rating.  Too many Americans tend to like their presidents to be fast on the draw and follow the pattern of Ready, Fire, Aim.

More articles by:

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org). 

September 20, 2018
Michael Hudson
Wasting the Lehman Crisis: What Was Not Saved Was the Economy
John Pilger
Hold the Front Page, the Reporters are Missing
Kenn Orphan
The Power of the Anthropocene
Paul Cox – Stan Cox
Puerto Rico’s Unnatural Disaster Rolls on Into Year Two
Rajan Menon
Yemen’s Descent Into Hell: a Saudi-American War of Terror
Russell Mokhiber
Nick Brana Says Dems Will Again Deny Sanders Presidential Nomination
Nicholas Levis
Three Lessons of Occupy Wall Street, With a Fair Dose of Memory
Steve Martinot
The Constitutionality of Homeless Encampments
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
The Aftershocks of the Economic Collapse Are Still Being Felt
Jesse Jackson
By Enforcing Climate Change Denial, Trump Puts Us All in Peril
George Wuerthner
Coyote Killing is Counter Productive
Mel Gurtov
On Dealing with China
Dean Baker
How to Reduce Corruption in Medicine: Remove the Money
September 19, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
When Bernie Sold Out His Hero, Anti-Authoritarians Paid
Lawrence Davidson
Political Fragmentation on the Homefront
George Ochenski
How’s That “Chinese Hoax” Treating You, Mr. President?
Cesar Chelala
The Afghan Morass
Chris Wright
Three Cheers for the Decline of the Middle Class
Howard Lisnoff
The Beat Goes On Against Protest in Saudi Arabia
Nomi Prins 
The Donald in Wonderland: Down the Financial Rabbit Hole With Trump
Jack Rasmus
On the 10th Anniversary of Lehman Brothers 2008: Can ‘IT’ Happen Again?
Richard Schuberth
Make Them Suffer Too
Geoff Beckman
Kavanaugh in Extremis
Jonathan Engel
Rather Than Mining in Irreplaceable Wilderness, Why Can’t We Mine Landfills?
Binoy Kampmark
Needled Strawberries: Food Terrorism Down Under
Michael McCaffrey
A Curious Case of Mysterious Attacks, Microwave Weapons and Media Manipulation
Elliot Sperber
Eating the Constitution
September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail