[pjw] NEWS: US strikes Syrian government targets... what's next?

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Thu Apr 6 22:27:54 EDT 2017

Supporters of peace and justice

If you haven't heard already, the US launched cruise missiles at a Syrian 
airbase today.

There is no doubt that if someone used chemical weapons to attack and kill 
people, that is a crime that needs to be addressed. There is also little 
doubt in my mind that the US striking out at Syrian Government targets 
before any investigation has been done, before the UN authorized any 
action, and before the US Congress authorized action, is only going to 
make matters worse. Worse for the people of Syria caught in the 
cross-fire-- especially if that cross-fire includes the US and Russia 
fighting one another over their land, which is a possibility. And worse 
for our already defunct democracy, which has let thousands of airstrikes, 
drone strikes and special forces operations be carried out under the 
ostensible umbrella of a war authorization passed in the days after 9/11, 
over 15 years ago.

Obviously we don't agree with Sen. Rand Paul all the time but in this case 
he criticized President Trump for taking military action without 

However, it's kind of moot in the general atmosphere where:

  " Aircraft from the Air Force, other branches of the U.S. military and
    coalition nations released more than 7,000 weapons against the Islamic
    State in January and February  the most of any two-month stretch since
    Operation Inherent Resolve began more than two and a half years ago."
Air Force Times, March 20

It's telling how the justification for this has repeatedly been linked to 
Trump's emotional response to seeing the war dead. Did he have the same 
reaction to seeing the Iraqis killed by US sanctions and Depleted 
Uranium-tipped bombs? Those civilians mangled by drone strikes he, 
President Obama and President Bush all ordered? If people lash out at 
others who commit atrocities by bombing those countries, the world will be 
aflame (well, more aflame) in no time.

Regardless, we encourage you to contact the President and congress and say 
"don't fan the flames of violence with more violence." I personally will 
head down to the PPRC Friday Rally tomorrow night April 7 with signs 
saying "No US War on Syria." Though not an officially cosponsored event by 
PJW I think the sentiment will be welcome.

CNN story on the airstrikes is below.

dan h
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

Trump launches military strike against Syria
    By [10]Barbara Starr and [11]Jeremy Diamond, CNN
    Updated 10:12 PM ET, Thu April 6, 2017

    (CNN)The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian
    government target in retaliation for their chemical weapons attack on
    civilians earlier in the week.

    On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched between 50-60
    Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian government airbase where the
    warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks were based, US
    officials said.

    "Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the air field in
    Syria from where the chemical attack was launched," Trump said during
    short remarks to reporters at Mar-a-Lago. "It is in this vital national
    security of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use
    of deadly chemical weapons."

    He added: "There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical
    weapons, violated its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention
    and ignored the urging of the UN Security Council. Years of previous
    attempts at changing Assad's behavior have all failed and failed very

    A US defense official said the strike was targeted on runway, aircraft
    and fuel points. The missiles were launched from warships in the
    Eastern Mediterranean.

    Strikes are over "until another decision is made," the official said.
    The strikes are the first direct military action the US has taken
    against the leadership of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the
    country's six-year civil war and represent a substantial escalation of
    the US' military campaign in the region, which could be interpreted by
    the Syrian government as an act of war.

    Trump was very affected by the images of dead children among the
    civilian casualties in the Syrian chemical weapons attack and felt
    compelled to act, a senior administration official said.

    The US began launching airstrikes in Syria in September 2014 under
    President Barack Obama as part of its coalition campaign against ISIS,
    but has only targeted the terrorist group and not Syrian government

    Trump met with his national security team before his dinner with
    Chinese President Xi Jinping in Mar-a-Lago Thursday, where he made the
    decision to pull the trigger on the biggest military action of his
    presidency, an administration official says.

    He sat through dinner with the President Xi as action was under way.

    Defense Secretary James Mattis has been updating Trump about the
    missile strikes in Syria following his dinner with Xi, according to a
    US official.

    Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump's national security
    adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster were with Trump at Mar-a-Lago at the time.
    Vice President Mike Pence remained in Washington, where he returned to
    the White House after dinner.

    Trump's order to strike the Syrian government targets came a day after
    he said the chemical attacks -- whose grisly effects were broadcast
    worldwide where videos captured in the immediate aftermath -- "crossed
    a lot of lines for me" and said he felt a "responsibility" to respond.

    "I will tell you it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria
    and Assad has changed very much," Trump said.

    "When you kill innocent children -- innocent babies -- babies -- little
    babies with a chemical gas that is so lethal, people were shocked to
    hear what gas it was, that crosses many, many lines. Beyond a red line,
    many, many lines," Trump said.

    Trump's decision to launch the strikes, the most significant military
    action of his young presidency, came nearly four years after the US
    first concluded that Syrian forces had used chemical weapons in Syria.
    The Obama administration concluded that Syria had violated the "red
    line" Obama had set a year earlier in discussing the use of chemical
    weapons, but ultimately decided against military action against Syria
    in favor of a Russian-brokered deal to extricate the country's chemical
    weapons stockpile.

    Trump at the time said the US should "stay the hell out of Syria" and
    urged Obama on Twitter to "not attack Syria" in the wake of the 2013
    chemical attack.

      President Obama, do not attack Syria. There is no upside and
      tremendous downside. Save your "powder" for another (and more
      important) day!
      -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) [27]September 7, 2013

    "There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your 'powder' for
    another (and more important) day," he tweeted in September 2013.
    Trump repeatedly criticized Obama during his presidential campaign for
    not acting on his "red line" threat, but the real estate mogul also
    argued against deepening the US' military involvement in Syria,
    particularly as it related to Assad.

    Trump argued last May in a TV interview that he would "go after ISIS
    big league," but said he did not support targeting Assad's regime,
    arguing the US has "bigger problems than Assad."

    Syria's six-year civil war has claimed the lives of at least 400,000,
    according to a United Nations estimate released a year ago. More than 5
    million Syrians have fled the country and more than 6 million more have
    been displaced internally, according to UN agencies.

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