Speak out NOW Against a US Attack on Syria!

Speak out NOW Against a US Attack on Syria!

President Barack Obama’s announcement that he will seek congressional authorization for military action in Syria is an acknowledgment that he is hearing the voices of opposition to this new war.

Congressional leaders from both parties will schedule votes to authorize the use of military force in Syria early in the week of September 9. In the next week members of Congress will be listening intently to the voices of their constituents as they consider how to vote on the proposed authorization for the use of military force.

One week to stop a war

What your senators and representatives hear from you in the next week could help determine whether the U.S. embarks on a new war or whether the country returns to the diplomacy and international cooperation that will ultimately bring those who have used chemical weapons and committed crimes against humanity to justice.

Add your voice to stop another illegal war under the cover of “humanitarian intervention.” Urge your representatives to vote NO on the authorization for the use of military force.

*Write a letter to your local newspaper. Pass this on to your friends via email. Sign on line petitions against military action. http://act.credoaction.com/sign/dont_bomb_syria/?referring_akid=a124347635.6095158.5s2t5O&source=conf_email Let your community know that US military force is not the answer. Be sure to mention the names of your representatives by name.

*Call your congressional representatives:

Sen. Brian Schatz 808-523-2061, 202-224-3934

Sen Mazie Hirono 808-522-8970, 202-224-6361

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard 808-541-1986, 202-225-4906

Rep Colleen Hanabusa 808-541-2570, 202-225-2726

* Email your congressional representatives:

They will accept your email and respond only if you send it through their official websites. You will need to input your contact information first and then your message. Use the links below to access the website, then select “Contact” for the email form.

Sen. Brian Schatz http://www.schatz.senate.gov/

Sen Mazie Hirono http://www.hirono.senate.gov/

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard http://gabbard.house.gov/

Rep. Collen Hanabusa http: hanabusa.house.gov/

Some talking points:

1. What’s needed in Syria is humanitarian aid of food, medicine and shelter, along with international efforts for a cease fire, not bombs and cruise missiles to escalate the violence.

2. In Egypt, more than 1000 unarmed protesters have been killed by the military coup leaders there. Is the US calling for cruise missile strikes in Egypt, or even cutting off U.S. military aid?

3. What is taking place in the U.S. now over Syria is a sequel to the illegal attack on Iraq in 2003.

4. President Obama has no legal constitutional authority to attack another country where there is no imminent threat to the U.S. Congress has not declared war on Syria, nor has the United Nations Security Council authorized the use of force.

5. The end result will be more innocent people killed, another country further destroyed. How many more countries will the U.S. turn to rubble? Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, etc.

6. Put the $1.3 million being spent for every cruise missile, into food, medicine, shelter, schools, health care, job creation, and other unmet human needs.

7. US military intervention in Syria risks further escalation of the war and the possibility of spreading and intensifying the war in neighboring counties.

8. President Obama campaigned on ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and reducing American involvement in those wars. An attack on Syria would be a reversal of his policy to roll back our military involvement.

Read the full Briefing Paper at http://wslfweb.org/docs/wslfsyriabrief1.pdf

Crisis in Syria


Briefing Paper
September 2013

The Rush to Bomb Syria: Undermining International Law and Risking Wider War


Once again, the President of the United States is leading a rush towards war without regard for the United Nations Charter and the international legal regime intended to control prohibited weapons and to respond to threats to peace and security. Even before United Nations inspectors were on the ground in Syria to determine whether a chemical weapons attack had occurred, the U.S. and its allies began moving ships into attack position in a manner that, in the context of public statements by the leaders of the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, constituted an undeniable military threat to Syria.

Since World War I, use of chemical weapons has been viewed almost universally as monstrous, and as a violation of treaty-based and customary standards of international humanitarian law. If they were used in Syria by any party, that action should be condemned, and all states should cooperate in identifying the perpetrators and in pursuing their apprehension and prosecution by all legal means. There is no provision of international law, however, that allows ad hoc coalitions of countries to determine for themselves who they believe the guilty parties to be, and to punish them by acts of war against the territory of a sovereign state. The United Nations Charter allows unilateral military action only where a country is under attack or imminent threat of attack. None of the countries proposing the use of force against Syria can make any claim that Syria has attacked them, or that they are under imminent threat of attack. International treaties outlawing chemical weapons and prohibiting their use provide no special exception for such ad hoc use of military force. To the contrary, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the most comprehensive instrument concerning chemical weapons, provides for investigation of alleged violations by specialist bodies constituted by the Convention and recourse to the United Nations to authorize any use of force.

In this instance, it is especially important that transparent, credible procedures be followed for investigation of the allegations of chemical weapons use and a determination of the responsible party or parties, as well as for actions to prevent further use and to punish those culpable.

Key Findings and Recommendations

● Chemical weapons are viewed almost universally as abhorrent, and their use as a crime. All states should cooperate in identifying the perpetrators of the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria and in pursuing their apprehension and prosecution.

● Under the current circumstances there is no basis in the United Nations Charter, the Chemical Weapons Convention, or other international law for the United States to launch strikes against
Syria absent authorization by the UN Security Council or, if the Council is deadlocked, the UN General Assembly under its Uniting for Peace procedure.

● International law provides no exception for the ad hoc use of force by states in cases involving the actual or possible use of prohibited weapons, such as chemical weapons, by states with which they are not at war. Standing alone, the allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government do not provide a legal basis for military action by any non-party to the conflict.

● Unilateral punitive strikes justified as a defense of the global norm against chemical weapons are unlikely to actually protect Syrians or others against use of chemical weapons and other attacks, may do little to reinforce the norm or even undermine it, and could lead to a significant increase in the level of violence throughout the region.

● There are viable international ways and means to respond to the apparent use of chemical weapons in Syria that should be vigorously pursued before the use of force is considered.

● The U.S. should present its evidence regarding use of chemical weapons in Syria to the Security Council. The Security Council should condemn any use of chemical weapons, forbid further use of chemical weapons, expand the scope of the UN investigation to include the issue of responsibility for attacks, refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court for further investigation and adjudication, and call for convening of a peace conference.

● If the Security Council remains unable to act, the General Assembly should assume responsibility under the Uniting for Peace procedure.

● The U.S.-Russian effort to hold a conference to bring the Syrian conflict to an end should be reinvigorated. The U.S., Russia, and other powers that provide direct or indirect military and logistical support to the warring parties in Syria should use all available means, including cessation of support, to bring about an immediate cease-fire and a negotiated peace.

● The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), the most comprehensive instrument concerning chemical weapons, provides for investigation of alleged violations by specialist bodies constituted by the Convention, collective measures by states parties in response to activities prohibited by the Convention, recourse to the UN General Assembly and Security Council in cases of particular gravity, and referral of disputes to the International Court of Justice. Almost all states, 189, are party to the CWC. Syria is among the handful that are not. The agreement governing the relationship between the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, however, makes provision for instances where chemical weapons are used by actors other that CWC parties. Pursuant to CWC procedures, the Executive Council or the Conference of States Parties of the CWC should convene a special meeting to consider the situation in Syria and recommend appropriate responses by states parties and the United Nations.
● For U.S. elected officials, saying no to the easy, violent options offered by a national security and military industrial complex too long ascendant would be the hard choice, the courageous choice, and the right choice.