What to do instead of sending Tomahawk missiles:
1. Ascertain who was responsible for the horrifying chemical weapons attack. The U.S. should fully support the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ ongoing investigation of the chemical weapons attack and work with the international community to bring the perpetrators to justice.
2. Reject the false choice that says “accountability” can only be found at the tip of an American bomb.
3. Use international law: Prosecution for violations of international law on chemical weapons belong in the International Criminal Court. The US must support this structure! And, military action without an international mandate violates international law.
4. Abide by our Constitution: Congress must debate and vote before US military escalation. As President Obama did in 2013, President Trump must turn the decision to Congress.
5. Support refugees & civilians! The U.S. must promptly resume resettlement of Syrian refugees and increase humanitarian aid to the region. Caring for Syrian children MUST welcome and support refugee children!
6. Recognize there is no military solution. DON’T ESCALATE the war — US involvement is a provocation for ISIS recruitment and escalation. Instead, STABILIZE by supporting asylum & increasing aid for refugees & civilians and investing in multi-party diplomatic talks. The Trump administration must immediately meet with Russia, Iran, and the Gulf States to revive international negotiations that will lead to a diplomatic solution.
7. Consider President Trump’s track record on human rights as a mountain-size grain of salt in hearing his justification for these missiles and any further escalation. Why would we start following or trusting now?
8. Don’t fall silent! In this country, wars and lead-ups to war have very often been used to silence critique and dissent. In the 11 weeks of Trump’s presidency, grassroots voices have been loud and persistent and have won some significant victories. We must not let war silence our critical thinking and our speaking out!
One great resource is Phyllis Bennis at the Institute for Policy Studies: “Trump, Syria, and Chemical Weapons: What We Know, What We Don’t, and the Dangers Ahead: Further military engagement by the U.S. is not the way to end the horrific carnage in Syria,” which concludes:
But we know two crucial things, things that were true then, and remain true today. We know that using chemical weapons—of any sort, in any war, against any target—is a crime. And we know there must ultimately be accountability for those who use it, regardless of who they are. That will take time.
In the meantime we know another truth: that a US military escalation against Syria (because we must not forget that US Special Forces and US bombers are already fighting there) will not help the victims of this heinous chemical attack, it will not bring the devastating war in Syria to a quicker end, it will not bring back the dead children. It will not defeat ISIS or end terrorism, it will create more terrorists. It will almost certainly cause more casualties, more injuries, and more dead. Maybe dead children. There is still no military solution. This is what we know.
I also recommend reading The Atlantic’s “Seven Lessons From Trump’s Syria Strike: The attack raises a series of questions about the president’s approach to America’s political processes and institutions.”
Check out the FCNL statement: FCNL Calls on Congress to Stop Unlawful Escalation in Syria
Yesterday, Donald Trump unilaterally and recklessly launched a military action in Syria with no apparent plan for what comes next and with no legal authorization. This is not leadership and it will not make our country safer nor end the tragic human suffering in Syria.
Make no mistake, this was an illegal act of war, launched in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law. Congress should immediately cancel its planned recess and debate and vote before any further military engagement by Donald Trump in Syria.
Our organizations recently committed to resist Donald Trump and his dramatic escalation of American war in the Middle East, and today we reaffirm that commitment.
Trump cannot bomb his way to peace. If he were truly concerned about the human suffering in Syria, rather than sending a few dozen bombs, he would be leading the world in a diplomatic effort to end the war, increasing American support for humanitarian assistance, and welcoming Syrian refugees to the safety of America.