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Americans Don't Want A War in Syria—And They're Working Hard to Prevent One

A few days ago it looked like the United States would be bombing Syria by now. The more pressure we can put on the Obama administration, the better.

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Associated Press is reporting that President Obama provided no evidence to support the administration’s claim that the chemical weapons came from Assad.  In fact, AP reports lots of doubts in the intelligence community, writing: “U.S. officials used the phrase ‘not a slam dunk’ to describe the intelligence picture — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showing Iraq had weapons of mass destruction was a ‘slam dunk’ — intelligence that turned out to be wrong.” The Iraq War disaster, based on false claims of WMD’s, is close enough in the memory of the media and the public that people are doubting the claims of Biden, Kerry, Power and Rice.

In addition, people who turn off the corporate media and think about the situation realize that the claim that Assad used chemical weapons makes no sense from Assad’s point of view.  He has been defeating the rebel forces. Why would he take an action that would give the U.S. an excuse to enter the war? What was the strategic value of using chemical weapons against a small group of rebels that could have been defeated with conventional weapons? Who benefits from the chemical attack? Certainly not Assad.

Then there are the actions of the various parties after the chemical attack was made public.  Assad provided access to UN inspectors within a day of being asked and, along with many, urged the US and UK to wait for the results of their investigation.    Gareth Porter indicates that the US tried to derail the UN investigation and wanted to attack quickly before the results of their examination.  Further, Syria has now asked the UN to investigate three new chemical attacks that it claims were made by US-allied rebel forces. Syria’s claims gain further legitimacy when it is remembered that the last time the US accused Assad of using chemical weapons, the UN investigators pointed their finger at the rebels, not Assad.

Americans have been lied into wars so often that many are skeptical of administration claims. In fact some dare to ask the terrible question: is the US drive for immediate war on Syria an effort to cover up a war crime by US-allied rebels?

War on Syria would be illegal without Congressional and UN approval

Domestic and international law on war is quite clear.  In fact, both President Obama and Vice President Biden are on record – prior to holding their current offices – stating the law clearly.  When he was running for president, Obama told the Boston Globe:

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.

“As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.

“As for the specific question about bombing suspected nuclear sites, I recently introduced S.J. Res. 23, which states in part that “any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress.” 

Vice President Biden, in a 2007 campaign event in Iowa, went further, not only stating clearly that the president does not have unilateral power to conduct military attacks but threatening impeachment of President Bush if he did so: “I made it clear to the president, if he takes this nation to war in Iran, without congressional approval — I will make it my business to impeach him.”

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