Home | About | Donate

U.S. Strikes in Syria Are an Illegal Response to Atrocity


U.S. Strikes in Syria Are an Illegal Response to Atrocity

Hina Shamsi

No one disputes that Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians is illegal, immoral, and unacceptable. But Assad’s illegality does not excuse illegality in response.


What an awful and misleading opening sentence: "No one disputes that Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians is illegal, immoral, and unacceptable. But Assad’s illegality does not excuse illegality in response."

In another forum I recommended readers refer to Middle East expert Scott Ritter's excellent commentary in today's Huffington Post, on DJT as ISIS' useful idiot.

Ritter's point is that anti-Assad ISIS rebels produced the crude chemical weapons with chlorine and white phosphorous that were exploded in Syria this past week.

US media and the Trump administration deride investigation into these very important details, but these matters should be questioned. I agree that "US Strikes in Syria are Illegal Response."


This article, the previous comment and another article elsewhere bring up some good questions for us to ponder.

¿ Were we 'played' by propagandists of one side or another? There is a history of falsehoods being presented about attacks abroad.

From another article: https://townhall.com/columnists/derekhunter/2017/04/09/can-we-stop-pretending-about-syria-n2310799
¿ Are we such hypocrites that we believe that atrocities are wrong, feel that something must be done, but are unwilling to do anything meaningful? These missile strikes on Syria are about as meaningless in the flow of this conflict as Bill Clinton's "wag the dog" missile strikes on a Sudanese aspirin plant were.
-- The honest though bitter response would be that whoever-unknown had committed an atrocity over there, but we won't intervene now in response to it.

From this article, there are laws and treaty commitments before the President can do anything military attack abroad, such circumstances as these. The President didn't meet those commitments. Do we hold him to them, take actions to punish or sanction him for not following the rules? Do we even care to try and make him obey them, under these circumstances?


Absurdity of this article is astonishing. It is not just absurdity but also moral derangement , I understand an argument of many who think Assad did not do it and it is a conspiracy in order to frame him. Let me rephrase, Assad is a dictator who is capable of any attack and most conspiracies are deranged thinking anyway , but assuming "Assad is set up" is at least logical. This article accepts and more importantly condemns any anti Assad any anti genocide action. It agrees Assad did it yet condemns reaction to this heinous act.

I do not have any illusions about the clown in chief Trump but let's be real he is doing what others told him ... others who have some sanity in reaction to the atrocities. Whether you like it or not there is some legal wiggle room for Trump to act .


Many are disputing that Assad used chemical weapons.

Conceding this point in your first sentence is a little weird when there is plenty of doubt (despite the MSM ignoring it) that Assad did this.


No, it did not. It said that the President doesn't have Constitutional authority to take military action against a government that has not attack the US apart from Congress.

I suppose if you just read the title and responded to that you might conclude it was saying what you seem to think it was saying. Did you read the article?


Someone needs to read the Constitution, It just says that Congress has the sole power to declare war. It is silent on the power of the President, other than to say they are Commander in Chief. Starting with John Adams, Presidents have started military action that fall short of a declaration of war.


This is why we need Congress to find out what Trump is up to. Was the missile attack just a message, perhaps more to North Korea than anyone else even Assad, or is the intention of regime change through military action? Congress should forget about the recess and get back into session and find out what is going on. Congress should not wait.


I wonder what your objections were about in just one post apart?

If chemical attack did happen it should have been a red line for humanity and the sure sign UN should intervene, but we all know Assad's friend Putin will veto anything.

Constitutionality of the strikes has been pushed to the limit and now it is a grey area considering the precedence. To be seen if Trump will go to congress.

My question to you . Imagine for a min that Assad did use chemical weapons, what is your course of action? Do not do anything?


Just curious Airedale. Have you called for prosecution of the individuals involved for the chemical weapons attack by the US against Iraqis in Falluja? Have you called for prosecution for war crimes against the individuals involved in providing Hussein with chemical weapons and then assisting that dictator (who the US installed) with intelligence for using those provided chemical weapons in attacks against Iranian troops ?

Can you point to any comment published on any forum, where you have called out the US for attacking Vietnamese citizens with chemical weapons?

Can you point to any comment published on any forum, where you have called out the US for its chemical weapons assault against Iraqis in the form of depleted Uranium hardened bullets and anti-tank shells?

Can you point to any comment published on any forum, where you have called out the US for its chemical weapons stockpiles?

In short, are you consistent in your opposition to the use of chemical weapons?


I am not aware of any chemical weapons used in Falujah , perhaps you added a conspiracy theory mix to your lengthy post. Let me relieve your concerns and acute pressure by stating now , so I would not need to search historical posts, I do accuse US of using agent orange, I do accuse US (Reagan administration ) of supporting Saddam's chemical attacks , I do accuse Bush in any non chemical warfare against Iraq and absolutely no need or legality in starting the war. In sort I am consistent .

Would you perhaps state the similar accusations against Assad, Iran mullahs and Putin ? They have killed thousands innocent people. Would you do nothing when Assad gases his own people ? In short do you accuse anyone but the US?


That was such a shitty opening sentence that I didn't bother to read any further. Hina Shamsi should sit down and read this article from Alternet.


Agree completely with commenters above about the opening of this piece. As a lawyer, the author should realize that there has been no real proof offered concerning the apparent deaths by chemical last week. Additionally, there are many contradictory reports concerning that incident.

Apparently anyone wishing to see their editorializing in print or on the airwaves must first obediently agree with the official narrative. This is sickeningly familiar behavior from 2001-2003, when the most blatant fucking lies were told, swallowed whole and regurgitated by almost everyone, and which led to an illegal aggressive invasion and occupation.

BTW Airedale if you're reading this, you may want to do some investigative research on the first US assault on Fallujah, where the US military perpetrated many acts that contravened international law concerning military operations and civilians, and there is much evidence that yes, US forces used banned weapons in a vicious attack of revenge. What was done to Fallujah makes Mai Lai look like a kindergarten prank, and it is a WAR CRIME that will possibly never be investigated because a nation - indeed, a world - of laws was fatally scuttled by the Bush administration. All of "official" America is now completely insane; the professional political class, the media, the military, even many that should know better after the experiences of the last 14 years. And ordinary Americans are becoming insanely despondent because we are powerless to stop the insanely powerful.


In short do you accuse anyone but the US?

That bullshit right wing rhetoric has been used against the left for decades.

It is so damn tired at this point.

Since you are pretending to not know that chemical weapons were used in Fallujah, and piling on with the "conspiracy" smear, I am absolutely confident that you really couldn't care less if US foreign policy has resulted in deaths of people from the use of chemical weapons.

In answer to your right wing rhetorical question. Yes I do absolutely denounce ANY killing of innocent people by dictators or ANYONE else.

But a right wing addled brain can't handle such consistency.

My guess is you sit in rapt attention listening to Haley at the UN spouting bullshit that the US stands for human rights in the world.

Go ahead and keep your clucking illusions.

How about US foreign policy in Latin America and South America, North Africa? Let me guess, the US according to your stunted right wing perspective informs you that the US was just trying to support Democracy in the region against the scary nuns and workers.

As to Fallujah, and your clucking conspiracy swipe.

There is video of white phosphorous being dropped over the densely populated city of Fallujah, i.e., in Rumsfeld speak, it was a "known known" that the lighting up of the battlefield using such would necessitate that HUMAN BEINGS on the ground would be impacted by that substance burning through their skin.

But of course, you will tell me that there is no such truth to that matter. Again, typical right wing screed. Oh yes, you were really bothered by Napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam. Sure, I believe you! Cluck

I notice you didn't answer in regard to the US providing chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, and then providing intelligence in attacks against Iranian troops, where such attacks included use of chemical weapons.

And is the danger from depleted Uranium in Iraq and Afghanistan just conspiratorial nonsense to you as well? Let me guess, you have no such concern. It is all one big corn-spiratorial cluckster cluck right?

What is happening in Syria is a catastrophe. Back in the day, before Syria became the big focus of the Neocons, it was AOK with right wingers like you in US foreign policy that Syria was one of the countries the CIA sent prisoners to get tortured in black sites.

I notice you didn't answer in regard to the US providing chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein, and then providing intelligence in attacks against Iranian troops, where such attacks included use of chemical weapons.

Sure you were just screaming to high heaven at that point against such collaboration between Syrian jerks and US jerks.

I would like to actually KNOW who used chemical weapons in Syria. Scott Ritter would likely be quite willing to lead a team of inspectors. It could EASILY be determined if there was such a chemical signature at that airbase matching that gathered at the scene of the crime.

Have you any concern whatsoever that the terrorists that the US is supporting in Syria used such weapons?

Let me put this another way. Do you give a flying cluck that the US has been both directly and indirectly through allies arming Al Qaeda factions and indeed ISIS in its lovely realpolitik quest of regime change in Syria?

How deep does your consistency go there buddy?

Iran and the mullahs. Do you approve of the Iranians who went along with Kermit Roosevelt operating the US and British coup against Mohammad Mossadegh?

How far back does your consistency go? You are probably going to tell me that Mossadegh was a dangerous Communist, and that it was he who ordered the shooting up of Mosques i.e., you would of course align yourself with the US foreign policy propaganda of that time.

Saddam Hussein. How many bloody dictators has the US supported over the years? Quite a few huh?

Given that fact, how does ANYONE keep a straight face when posing rhetorical questions about someone else excusing dictators while you prop up the latest bloody US foreign policy position.

You are a poser.


This article reminds me why I stopped reading Commondreams. It's amazing that someone from the ACLU apparently does not believe in due process or international law. Her opening line that "nobody disagrees...." is remarkably ignorant. Three quick points: 1) Most of the world can see this incident as more likely caused by the Syrian "rebels" who are steadily losing, who have been screeching for NATO intervention for years, and who have been proven to have chemical weapons. Most educated people are aware that the serious investigations of August 2013 attack initially blamed on Syrian government turned out to be by the terrorists with Turkish support. See Hersh, Parry, WhoGhouta, MIT investigations. 2) Whatever you think, basic due process requires investigation and facts not youtube videos from "white helmets" and rantings with photos by Nikki Haley. 3) Congressional approval for act of war is required by US Constitution but attacking another country requires more than that. It's called interantional law and the Charter of the United Nations which the US is signatory to. This article is a sad reflection of the extreme bias and ignorance in the USA.


If I controlled US foreign policy we wouldn't be involved in the first place. We wouldn't have overthrown democracy in Iran in the early 50s, we wouldn't have financed Saddam's war on Iran, we wouldn't have supported Israel's wars on Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon. We wouldn't have made wars or Iraq and set up ISIS. We wouldn't have been working Sunni states to set up a civil war in Syria with imported 'rebels.'

So there wouldn't be a civil war.

It's NONE of our business. We are not the police force of the world. It is not our Empire.

Everytime we intervene we make things worse. Do you really think killing more people somehow undoes killing others?


But this is the wrong conversation. This at best was an accidental destroying of rebels' cache of weapons. More likely it was an entirely false flag operation in order to lure the US in.


I have read your highly emotional presumptuous and dismissive post with a lot of pleasure. Not because I am a right wing (I am not and I always voted for Democrats) or I condemn phosphorus attacks (it is not a banned conventional chemical weapon which you put at the same level as ricin ) or I like US policy in Middle East (acting in defense of innocent just like in Rwanda is necessary and it is not the same as Iraq war debacle) but because you see , answer and hear what you want to not what it is.

If you reread my post you will clearly see I did mention Saddam but you were so eager to ignore and condemn me so you skipped it.

Curiously you did not mention any dictators you oppose only US is an explicit villain for you the rest are all bulked together facelessly . Cheers it was fun.


That is where we disagree US did not cause Rwanda or Syrian crisis, it is naive to think dictators would behave nice.


This is the ACLU's response: Opposing the US air strikes in Syria because Trump didn't ask Congress "May I?" I am sure that he will get his authorization from Congress after-the-fact, just as GW Bush got his after invading Iraq. Opposition to the war collapsed. But the ACLU's arguments that the air strike is illegal, a contravention of international as well as national law is prefaced by the statement: "No one disputes that Bashar al-Assad's use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians is illegal, immoral and unacceptable. . ." Is not the air strike ordered by Trump the act of the world's cop enforcing international law? Gassing civilians is a war crime, a violation of international conventions. But did the Syrian government actually do it? Is this merely the latest in a series of wars for regime change justified by false allegations of "having and / or using weapons of mass destruction?"