What’s happening in Syria

BY ED FELIEN

On April 4 the Syrian Air Force attacked an ISIS warehouse in Idlib, Syria. Trump says the Syrian Air Force used poison gas in the attack. The Syrians claim the bombs targeted an ammunition warehouse, and the warehouse contained poison gas. The Russians say there should be an impartial international investigation to determine the facts.
In retaliation for the Syrian attack, Trump ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles to attack and destroy the Syrian airbase at Shayrat, but, an hour before the attack, he called up his Russian allies and told them he was going to attack them. So they got all their people and planes out of there, which sounds like something Milo Minderbinder did when he arranged to bomb his own air base in “Catch 22” so he could corner the market on Egyptian cotton.
So, who are we fighting in Syria? Trump seemed to have declared war on everybody: the Syrian government, the Russians, the Iranians, ISIS and anyone else that gets in the way.
But Trump has no authority to declare war on anybody. Only Congress can declare war, and then only for a period of two years, U.S. Constitution: Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 11 and 12. When they find their copy of the Constitution, Congress should then go looking for their backbone.
After an even more heinous gas attack in 2013 that was actually proven to have been committed by the Syrian Air Force, Obama threatened retaliation. 98 Republicans in the House told him he could not act without congressional authorization. Donald Trump tweeted:  “President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your ‘powder’ for another (and more important) day!”
The hypocrisy and contrast between then and now is astounding.
Trump’s actions violate international law. When we signed the United Nations’ Charter we agreed to not use force against another country. It is illegal, and it is unconstitutional.
Congress has the power to stop it, but they won’t stand up to the bully.
Why did he do it?
After meeting with the King of Jordan, Trump said, “The U.S. stands with its allies and condemns this horrific attack and all other horrific attacks for that matter,” and, “Yesterday. Chemical attack. A chemical attack that was so horrific in Syria against innocent people, including women, small children and even beautiful little babies. Their deaths was an affront to humanity. These heinous actions by the Assad regime cannot be tolerated.”
“… beautiful little babies.”—Why didn’t he weep for the 27 women and children he killed in a botched Seal Team Six operation in Yemen? Or the more than 200 innocent civilians he killed in a bombing attack in Mosul?
From Mint Press:  On April 10 “U.S. airstrikes near Raqqa killed at least 21 people, mostly civilians, and while some of the strikes were near fighting between U.S.-backed troops and ISIS, at least one of the strikes appears to have been a deliberate attack on a boatload of civilians attempting to cross the Euphrates River.
The boat was carrying about 40 people, and NGOs say that at least seven bodies, six of them children, have been recovered so far, with more missing. The U.S. has dropped leaflets in the area urging civilians to flee toward the Euphrates, but apparently dropped a second leaflet warning them not to try to cross the river or they’d be attacked.”
Did he weep for the children he killed trying to cross the Euphrates?
No.  Trump doesn’t weep for anyone.  He had that beaten out of him by his old man, a leader in the Ku Klux Klan in Queens.  It was fight to the death.  Survival of the fittest.  He pecked his older brother out of the nest—fought with him, beat him, called him a loser, and drove him to drink and death.
Like so much else in his life, the bombing of Shayrat was a fraud, a distraction, a sleight of hand.  He had been getting bad publicity for the raid in Yemen and the bombing in Mosul.  The Russian connection to his campaign was getting painfully close.  What could be better to throw off the scent than to bomb the Russians and their ally, Syria?  “People will think I’m acting to avenge ‘beautiful little babies’ and that I never really liked Russians.”
But he doesn’t want any bad publicity from this, so he called up his friends and told them what he was going to do and gave them time to leave.  That way there were no casualties, just more construction jobs.
It was fake. It wasn’t fake news. It was a faked event.
But he did fly missiles into another country to bomb them in violation of international law, and he did commit an act of war without a formal declaration by Congress.  He should be prosecuted as a war criminal, and he should be impeached, but he’ll smile and beguile and pull rabbits out of a hat.  And people won’t mind so much because they’ll find it entertaining and fascinating, like watching a crazy clown at a birthday party.
And just when you thought it couldn’t get crazier, look for a Putin-Tillerson Pact, an updated version of the Stalin-Ribbentrop Pact, to come out of the secretary of state’s visit to Moscow. Trump arranged for Tillerson to go to Russia probably to firm up the Trans Afghan Pipeline, and then all this bad publicity about Russian meddling in the 2016 election came up, and he had to show he was tough on the Russians, so he bombed their air base. On Wednesday, April 12, he said, “Right now we are not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia,” then later that day he tweeted:  «Things will work out fine between the U.S.A. and Russia.”
He hopes when he announces the pipeline deal he’ll be able to say, “We’re beginning a new era of U.S. Russian cooperation—I’ve convinced Putin to get all of Assad’s chemical weapons out of Syria,” (which is what Obama did in 2013 without bombing anything) and everybody will think he’s a genius because he avoided war with Russia.
“What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Photo by Kristin Dooley
A picket outside the office of Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar brought out between 60 and 70 people to speak out against escalating U.S. wars.
The protest came just days after U.S. military strikes against a Syrian air force base.
During the picket a delegation met with representatives of Klobuchar’s staff.
The call for the event pointed to a series of U.S. military escalations in recent weeks, including sending thousands of additional U.S. troops to Iraq, Syria and Kuwait; escalating U.S. drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia; plans to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan; and the dispatch of a U.S. Navy “strike force” to Korea.
Sarah Martin of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) said, “Trump’s escalation of endless U.S. wars—including the recent outrageous bombing of Syria,  plans for increased drone strikes and more boots on the ground in Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia—will not bring peace, only increased suffering. Furthermore, the reckless threats and military maneuvers against North Korea are extremely dangerous and risk nuclear confrontation.”
The protest was sponsored by the Minnesota Peace Action Coalition and included representatives from WAMM, Anti-War Committee, Veterans for Peace and others.
Organizers are planning additional actions and educational events in the weeks ahead.

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