Green Party: President Obama’s pause in the drive to attack Syria is good news, but anti-war pressure on White House must continue
WASHINGTON, DC — Green Party leaders said that President Obama’s decision for a temporary pause in the rush to win congressional authorization and launch an air strike against Syria was good news and a monumental achievement by the American people. Greens now urge the President to call off the attack permanently and instead support nonviolent efforts to end the strife in Syria.
President Obama announced the pause during his address to the nation on Sept. 10. It allows the pursuit of Russia’s proposal for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons to international monitors — a plan Syrian President Assad says he supports (“Failing To Convince on War, US Agrees to Follow Russia’s Path To UN,” Common Dreams, Sept. 10,http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/09/10).
The Green Party opposes any resumption of threats to attack Syria and supports a halt to U.S. arms shipments and training for Syrian rebels. Party leaders reiterated the call for a nonviolent resolution, with diplomacy, participation in the upcoming U.N.-backed Geneva II Middle East peace conference, cooperation with the International Criminal Court, and an across-the-board arms embargo.
“While this decision to respect the Russian proposal is encouraging, we’re not out of the woods by a longshot. We urge Americans to keep the heat on President Obama to avoid future military action against Syria. In the absence of continued public pressure, it wouldn’t be surprising to see inspections and the talks with Russia and other members of the U.N. Security Council used as a pretext for a later attack,” said Steve Welzer, Green candidate for Governor of New Jersey.
Greens noted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s warning at a congressional hearing: “For this diplomatic option to have a chance at succeeding, the threat of a U.S. military action, the credible, real threat of U.S. military action, must continue.” In fact, such action would be illegal, and the threat of attack gives President Assad reason to maintain arms to defend against that threat. Pressure should be brought on all Syrian factions to come to the peace table and for all foreign parties to stop arming them.
Green Party members participated in recent protest rallies across the country in opposition to the planned attack and military aid for Syrian rebel groups and encouraged members and friends to contact their members of Congress to urge nay votes on the resolution granting the President license to order an attack.
The Green Party listed several reasons for Americans to maintain their vociferous opposition to an attack on Syria:
• The danger remains that new developments in Syria might be used as an excuse by the White House to end the pause and order an attack. President Obama has tried to “legalize” illegal military action against Syria by seeking approval Congress, while also insisting that he holds executive power to order an attack without legislative authorization, which would violate the U.S. Constitution.
• Authorization from Congress, if passed, won’t change the fact that a unilateral attack on Syria would violate international law, which prohibits military action except in cases of self-defense.
• The Obama Administration insists that the Assad government has used chemical weapons, but admits that the allegations are based on “common sense” rather than confirmed evidence (http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/09/08/dennis_mcdonough_white_house_says_common_sense_test_links_assad_to_chemical.html). Meanwhile, the evidence has been challenged repeatedly, perhaps most significantly by veteran intelligence officials (http://www.popularresistance.org/veteran-intelligence-professionals-for-sanity-warn-obama-on-syrian-intel/). The White House is in danger of repeating the Bush Administration’s public deception based on manipulated intelligence to justify a military attack that led to civil war and mass death, injury, and destruction in Iraq.
Greens said that President Obama’s explicit descriptions, in his Sept. 10 address, of civilian deaths caused by such weapons are not proof that the Assad regime had ordered their use. See also “Obama should seek legal prosecution, not illegal war” by Kevin Zeese, Attorney General in the Green Shadow Cabinet, Sept. 4 (http://greenshadowcabinet.us/statements/obama-should-seek-legal-prosecution-not-illegal-war) and “US, the Biggest User of Chemical Weapons in History Asserts ‘Right To Protect’ Syria” by Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, Sept. 4 (http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/us-biggest-user-chemical-weapons-history-asserts-right-protect-syria).
• The Obama Administration hasn’t been able to explain the purpose for the attack, beyond a vaguely defined desire to “punish” President Assad. The attack will likely result in numerous civilian casualties in Damascus, which might not impress a brutal regime that has already killed thousands of civilians. A bombing assault by the U.S. might have very dire unforeseen regional or even global consequences, inflaming deeper Middle Eastern rage against the U.S. and damaging relations with Russia and other countries.
• Plans by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for an aggressive pro-war lobbying effort on Capitol Hill (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-and-defense/1.545661) confirm suspicions that one of the unstated purposes of the threats against Syria has been assistance for Israel’s strategic military objectives. Other unstated reasons for military action include Syria’s refusal to participate in international banking deregulation (“Making the World Safe for Banksters: Syria in the Cross-hairs” by Ellen Hodgson Brown,http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article36123.htm) and a global dispute over the direction of a natural gas pipeline from the South Pars/North Dome reserves (Syria and Iran have sided with Russia against Europe and the U.S.; see “Peak oil, climate change and pipeline geopolitics driving Syria conflict” by Nafeez Ahmed, May 13,http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/13/1).
“Green Party opposes threats of U.S. intervention in Syria and Obama’s ‘blank check’ abuse of military power”
Green Party press release, August 29, 2013
“U.S. War on Syria? Green Shadow Cabinet mobilizes against White House Cabinet”
Ben Manski, Chief of Staff, Green Shadow Cabinet, September 3, 2013
“Syria Alert: Pledge Peace to Congress”
Green Shadow Cabinet, September 6, 2013
“The Path from 9/11 to Syria”
By Mark A. Dunlea (Green Party of New York), Green Papers, September 9, 2013
“Green Party urges no U.S. interference in Syria, calls on Obama to press Israel to end air strikes”
Green Party of the United States, May 9, 2013
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