Friday, August 14, 2015

Didn't Congress Refuse To Allow Obama To Bomb Syria?


Grayson and Lieu, relentless warriors for peace and justice

So Obama has authorized bombing strikes in Syria-- and they started, from Turkish airbases, this week. He's bombing a sovereign country, and not just without congressional approval. He's doing it after Congress slapped him over that in 2013. This is from a letter Alan Grayson wrote to his constituents in Florida in September 2013:
After three frenetic weeks, during which time Team Grayson was burning the midnight oil every night, it's time to take stock of what we've accomplished.

Here were the headlines in late August, just before we started our campaign against U.S. military intervention in Syria.

"Syria crisis: UK and US finalise plans for military strikes"-- The Guardian, August 27.

"Syria strike due in days, West tells opposition-- sources"-- Reuters, August 27.

"Strike Against Syria is Imminent"-- Reuters, August 27.

"Obama Will Bomb Syria"-- Politico, August 26.

"U.S. military 'ready' to attack Syria, Hagel says"-- CBS News, August 27.

And here are the headlines, now:

"Obama to explore diplomatic route on Syria,"-- Reuters, September 10.

"U.S. to Work Through U.N. on Syria Arms Proposal"-- the New York Times, September 10.

"Obama Agrees To U.N. Discussion Of Putting Syria Chemical Weapons Under International Control"-- Associated Press, September 10.

"Syria Will Sign Chemical Weapons Convention, Declare Arsenal, Foreign Ministry Says"-- Reuters, September 10.

Let's go behind the headlines, to the numbers in Congress. Bloomberg News just came out with its own count of how every single member of the U.S. House and Senate would vote on war with Syria. In the U.S. Senate, which is institutionally designed to favor war and bailouts, the war vote is losing 34-22. That's shocking-- the Senate is voting for peace?! In the U.S. House of Representatives, it's even better. House members oppose war by a 10-to-one margin. The Washington Post has it at 26 in favor, 251 against.

In other words, we are winning. Peace is winning.

How did this miracle happen?

To answer that question, look in the mirror.

You did this. Your calls and e-mails. Your pressure. The military industrial complex, the neoconservatives like Dick Cheney, the foreign policy corporate-funded think tanks in D.C., the warmongers at the State Department-- they wanted war, but you wouldn't let them. We stood up for peace.

Now, what's interesting is not just that we averted military action (so far). It's also what has happened, because we averted military action. We showed that successful diplomacy, shunted aside just a week ago as irrelevant, is actually possible.

Think about this. We are on the verge of a solution that:
Removes chemical weapons from Syria, preventing another attack and putting them out of the reach of both the Assad regime and Al Qaeda,

Does not require the use of dangerous military force by the United States,

Compels Syria to become a signer to the Chemical Weapons Convention,

Restores the role of Congress in matters of war and peace, and

Rejuvenates the United Nations as a platform for peace.
This happened only because of our work. To his credit, President Obama listened. He listened to Congress, to the voices of allies around the world asking us to pause, and most importantly, to We the People of These United States. But you spoke, President Obama listened, and now peace may bloom.

Of course, we may still go to war-- the war lobby is fierce and relentless. Even as we speak, warmongers in Congress are writing new war resolution language, thinking that if they tweak this word or that word, making it an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy war, it can pass. To that, we say, "a big, fat NO."

We have shown that Peace can be more powerful than War.

And hopefully, one day soon, we will not be arguing about where to direct our bombs. If you and I keep working together, we will be trying to figure out what to do with the fruits of peace-- the Peace Dividend.
As Grayson warned, "We may still go to war-- the war lobby is fierce and relentless. Even as we speak, warmongers in Congress are writing new war resolution language, thinking that if they tweak this word or that word, making it an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy war, it can pass."
US warplanes have carried out their first air strikes on Islamic State (Isis) targets in Syria after taking off from a Turkish base, kicking off a key new phase in the campaign against the jihadists.

..."Today, the United States began flying manned counter-Isil missions from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Strikes were conducted," Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith said, using an alternate name for the terror group.
Turkey is using this as cover to bomb the hell out of the once-dependable U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS, the Kurds. Those poor people-- betrayed by George H.W. Bush, who persuaded them to rise up against Saddam Hussein and then left them to be slaughtered-- and now by Obama, who seems to have traded them away to Erdogan's tender mercies!

Ted Lieu wasn't a Member of Congress in 2013 but he sure noticed what Obama did without coming and asking Congress to approve this new bombing campaign. "Yesterday," he wrote, just back from a fact-finding mission to the Middle East, "the United States started conducting manned airstrikes from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey against ISIL targets in Syria."
I opposed the prior use of military force in Syria and I oppose these new airstrikes. I remain concerned that the Administration has yet to put forward a comprehensive strategy for the conflict in Syria and that Congress has yet to authorize this use of force. That is why I voted in favor of an amendment earlier this year by Representatives Barbara Lee, Jim McGovern, and Walter Jones to withdraw US forces from Syria and Iraq due to the absence of congressional authorization. We should not be risking American lives and wasting taxpayer dollars by continuing to intervene militarily in a complicated war halfway across the world without adequately explaining to the American people why we are doing so.
This morning Grayson told me, "The Administration’s actions against ISIS are tactics in search of a strategy." You can find him and Ted Lieu on the same page on many things... including on this page.

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At 5:58 PM, Blogger Christian MIller said...

Let's get Congress vote to stop our war in Syria.


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