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US Labor Against the War

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Please read and take action to prevent
U.S. involvement in another war.
Mr. President:
Just Say No!
the President today.  

Tell him to reject military intervention in Syria, which will only escalate the crisis and bog the U.S. down in another mideast quagmire - one that could engulf the entire region.


Leave this message: "I oppose U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war.  I do support energetic diplomacy and continued humanitarian aid."


As this is being written, President Obama is weighing whether to launch a military attack on Syria. Hawks in the Congress and Pentagon, spurred on by significant corporate media, are waging a full court press for an immediate attack - even without Congressional authorization that is required by the Constitution, or UN sanction required by international law.

What is less well known (because the media does not report it) is that there are significant doubts about these claims about whether chemical weapons were used, and if so by whom, and there are counter-claims by the Syrian government, Russia and others.  

No one who advocates a military attack has explained how launching such an attack will bring the Syrian civil war any closer to a resolution, or even how it will spare civilians from continuing to suffer the brunt of armed conflict.  Indeed, a missile attack proposed by many of the hawks is likely to inflict even wider casualties and damage to civilian communities.

Greater heed should be paid to an important statement issued by Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary-General when these charges first surfaced, and to an appeal by Nobel Peace Laueate Mairead Maguire, both of whom make the point made by USLAW's Steering Committee in early July:

There is no military solution to the crisis in Syria.  It will require determined patient negotiations by all parties to the conflict and those negotiations will not proceed if the U.S. escalates the military conflict and becomes a party to it.

There is an understandable impulse to want to "do something" in the face of such horrific suffering as the Syrian people now experience.  But the choice is not between reaching for our missiles or doing nothing.  And as we said in July, "pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out" is not a strategy for resolving this crisis or relieving the suffering.  

Syria: UN chief ‘shocked’ by new allegations of chemical weapons use

Speaking for Ban Ki Moon, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said:

“This should also be seen in the larger and broader perspective, namely the great need for cessation of hostilities,” he said of the dramatic situation, underscoring that: “What this incident has shown is that we must contain this conflict,” especially given its regional implications, and now, the possibility of the use of chemical weapons, which is to be investigated.

.... Mr.  Ban and the Security Council reiterated that the use of chemical weapons by any side under any circumstances would violate international law, and reaffirmed the need for a “thorough investigation” of the alleged incidents, according to the spokesperson, as well as a need to cease hostilities.

 ....“Such horrific acts should be a reminder to all the parties and all who have influence on them that this terrible conflict has gone on far too long and children have suffered more than enough,” the UN agency said in a statement.

(full article)

by Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

....Arming rebels and authorizing military action by USA/NATO forces will not solve the problem facing Syria, but indeed could lead to the death of thousands of Syrians, the breaking-up of Syria, and it falling under the control of violent fundamentalist jihadist forces. It will mean the further fleeing of Syrians into surrounding countries which will themselves  become destabilised. The entire Middle East will become unstable and violence will spiral out of control.

Contrary to some foreign governments current policies of arming the rebels and pushing for military intervention, the people of Syria are calling out for peace and reconciliation and a political solution to the crisis, which continues to be enflamed by outside forces with thousands of foreign fighters funded and supported by outside countries for their own political ends....

....We all remember the fear, panic and lies spun by the British and American governments, and others that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and it was not true.   Let us learn the lesson of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya where so many millions have been killed in invasions and war, and many continue to die in violence. Violence is not the answer, let’s end this ‘war on terror’ and give nonviolence and peace a chance.

(full appeal and statement)

Less popular than Nixon during Watergate: Our potential Syria intervention!

salon.com 2013-08-26

Americans would rather get a proctology exam than have their government intervene in the Syrian civil war, we’re led to believe by a new Reuters/Ipsos poll out today, which finds that just 9 percent of Americans support military action.

"LESS POPULAR THAN..." DEVELOPMENTS OF EVENTS Follow-up report to me Any reported complete Just news photo Just video That makes the intervention less popular than communism, BP during the Gulf oil spill, less popular than Richard Nixon during Watergate, less popular than Paris — and even less popular than Congress, that most hated of American institutions.  (Comparing polls like this is not really “scientific,” but you get the general idea.)

As Syria war escalates, Americans cool to U.S.  intervention: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON | Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:32pm EDT (Reuters) - Americans strongly oppose U.S.  intervention in Syria's civil war and believe Washington should stay out of the conflict even if reports that Syria's government used deadly chemicals to attack civilians are confirmed, a Reuters/Ipsos poll says.

About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought President Barack Obama should act.

More Americans would back intervention if it is established that chemical weapons have been used, but even that support has dipped in recent days - just as Syria's civil war has escalated and the images of hundreds of civilians allegedly killed by chemicals appeared on television screens and the Internet.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, taken August 19-23, found that 25 percent of Americans would support U.S.  intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it.  That represented a decline in backing for U.S.  action since August 13, when Reuters/Ipsos tracking polls found that 30.2 percent of Americans supported intervention in Syria if chemicals had been used, while 41.6 percent did not.

Taken together, the polls suggest that so far, the growing crisis in Syria, and the emotionally wrenching pictures from an alleged chemical attack in a Damascus suburb this week, may actually be hardening many Americans' resolve not to get involved in another conflict in the Middle East.

Your donations make it possible for USLAW to keep you informed, issue action alerts like this, organize solidarity support for Iraqi unions, conduct campaigns like Jobs-Not-Wars, build the New Priorities Network, and bring the issue of economic conversion and just transition to the rest of the labor movement.

US readies possible missile strike against Syria

Published time: August 24, 2013 00:08 
Edited time: August 25, 2013 10:13

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey is expected to present options for such a strike at a White House meeting on Saturday, CBS News reported on Friday. Despite President Obama cautioning against intervention in Syria, the Pentagon is making “initial preparations” for a cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces, according to a new report. 

.... Meanwhile, a defense official, cited by Reuters, said on Friday the US Navy was expanding its Mediterranean presence with a fourth cruise-missile ship, the USS Mahan. Though the source stressed to Reuters the Navy did not have orders to prepare for military operations against Syria. 

.... President Barack Obama is under renewed pressure to take action following the emergence of footage of what appears to be the aftermath of a toxic agent attack in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday. The forces of President Bashar Assad were assaulting a rebel stronghold in the district at the time, but deny responsibility. Moscow, which has maintained close ties with the regime, called the incident a rebel “provocation” possibly designed to derail upcoming Geneva peace talks.   

Though the Pentagon will present plans for potential action on Saturday, as CBS reported, President Obama has final say on any further developments. 

Questioned on the continuing upheaval in Syria and Egypt during a CNN interview Friday, Obama 

said the United States should be wary of “being drawn into very expensive, difficult, costly interventions that actually breed more resentment in the region.” 

Obama went on to express reservations for becoming involved in the 30-month Syrian conflict due to a lack of international consensus. 

"If the US goes in and attacks another country without a UN mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it, [and] do we have the coalition to make it work?” said Obama. 

Despite his cautious tone, Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice said via Twitter, “What is Bashar al Assad hiding? The world is demanding an independent investigation of Wednesday’s apparent CW attack. Immediately.”

Adding to the rhetoric in Washington, Sen. John McCain said that if the administration was to “let this go on,” it was “writing a blank check to other brutal dictators around the world if they want to use chemical weapons."  

The top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee also spoke out in support of a strike in Syria, writing to Obama of the need to respond to the latest alleged outrage.

"If we, in concert with our allies, do not respond to Assad's murderous uses of weapons of mass destruction, malevolent countries and bad actors around the world will see a green light where one was never intended," Rep. Eliot Engel wrote on Friday.

Engel has been a proponent of a more aggressive approach to Assad’s government.

"And, we can do this with no boots on the ground, from stand-off distances," he added in the letter. "I know that your Administration is wrestling with these very complex issues, but I believe that we, as Americans, have a moral obligation to step in without delay and stop the slaughter." 

Obama insisted to CNN that while the United States remains “the one indispensable nation” in international diplomacy, he suggested that perhaps this was one conflict where the world should not look to Washington for a definitive answer.

"The notion that the US can somehow solve what is a sectarian complex problem inside of Syria sometimes is overstated," said the president.

The White House later released a statement confirming Obama’s words, and emphasizing that the US has no plans to put “boots on the ground.” 

Want to know more?  

The USLAW website has a wealth of information about this and other hotspots, like Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and, of course, Iraq.

Chuck Hagel: Syria Intervention Only Possible With International Support
President Obama: Don't Strike Syria Without Congressional Approval
Firing missiles at enemies usually doesn’t produce a declaration of war
Competing claims on chemical weapons use in Syria
Evidence Indicates that Syrian Government Did Not Launch a Chemical Weapon Attack Against Its People
'Ball of fire in Middle East': Tehran, Damascus warn US against Syria strike
US moves warships closer to Syria after chemical attack
Important Doubts About the Syrian Chemical Attack
New Allegations of Chemical Weapons Use in Syria Based on US Political Motives, not Facts
Non-violent Syrian Opposition Group Denies Claim of Assad Chemical Weapon Use
Christians, other minorities in Syria fear 'ethnic cleansing'

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