Seeking a Debate on ‘Regime Change’ Wars

A group of Americans, concerned about the U.S. government’s obsession with “regime change” wars and frightened about the potential for a nuclear confrontation with Russia, urges a national debate on these policies.

By Center for Citizen Initiatives

On June 16, the New York Times reported: “More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.

“The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been ‘overwhelmed’ by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for ‘a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.’”

A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from the USS Shiloh against air defense targets in Iraq on Sept. 3, 1996, as part of Operation Desert Strike, a limited U.S. military engagement against Iraqi government forces similar to what is now contemplated for Syria. (DOD photo)

A Tomahawk cruise missile launches from the USS Shiloh against air defense targets in Iraq on Sept. 3, 1996, as part of Operation Desert Strike, a U.S. military engagement against Iraqi government forces similar to what 51 State Department officials are now advocating for Syria. (DOD photo)

We are a group of concerned U.S. citizens currently visiting Russia with the goal of increasing understanding and reducing international tension and conflict. We are appalled by this call for direct U.S. aggression against Syria, and believe it points to the urgent need for open public debate on U.S. foreign policy.

We note the following:

(1) The memo is inaccurate. There is no ‘cease-fire’ in Syria. The ‘cessation of hostilities’ which was agreed to has never included the major terrorist groups fighting to overthrow the government in Syria. This includes Nusra (Al Qaeda), ISIS and their fighting allies.

(2) A U.S. attack on Syria would be an act of aggression in clear violation of the UN Charter. (Ref 1)

(3) The supplying of weapons, funding and other support to armed groups fighting the Syrian government is also a violation of international law. (Ref 2)

(4) A U.S. attack on Syria would lead to more bloodshed and risk potential military confrontation with Russia. With arsenals of nuclear weapons on both sides, the outcome could be catastrophic.

(5) It is not the right of the USA or any other foreign country to determine who should lead the Syrian government. That decision should be made by the Syrian people. A worthy goal could be internationally supervised elections with all Syrians participating to decide their national government.

(6) The memo reportedly says, “It is time that the United States, guided by our strategic interests and moral convictions, lead a global effort to put an end to this conflict once and for all.” Similar statements and promises have been made regarding Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. In all three cases, terrorism and sectarianism have multiplied, the conflicts still rage, and huge amounts of money and lives have been wasted.

In light of the above, and the danger of escalating global conflict:

Map of Syria

Map of Syria

–We urge State Department officials to seek non-military solutions in conformity with the U.N. Charter and international law.

–We urge the U.S. Administration to stop funding and supplying weapons to armed ‘rebels’ in violation of international law and end the policy of forced “regime change”.

–We call for an urgent nation-wide public debate on the U.S. policy of “regime change”.

The Center for Citizens Initiative (CCI) delegation currently visiting Russia includes:

Ann Wright, retired United States Army Colonel and U.S. State Department official. Ann received the U.S. State Department Award for Heroism in 1997 after helping evacuate several thousand persons during the Sierra Leone Civil War. She was one of three U.S. State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Elizabeth Murray, retired Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

Raymond McGovern, retired CIA analyst (1963 to 1990) who worked in the Washington, DC White House and prepared daily briefs for seven Presidents. In the 1980s Ray chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and the U.S. Presidents’ Daily Briefs. Ray is the founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Kathy Kelly, peace activist, pacifist and author. She is a founding members of Voices in the Wilderness and is currently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Kathy has traveled to Iraq 26 times, notably remaining in combat zones during the early days of the US-Iraq wars. Her recent work took her to Afghanistan and Gaza.

David Hartsough, co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and the “World Beyond War.” David is a life-long peace activist, peace maker, and author “Waging Peace: Global Adventurers of a Lifelong Activist.”

William H Warrick III, retired Family Physician and 25-year member of Veterans For Peace. Former US Army Security Agency Intelligence Analyst (1968 – 1971).

Sharon Tennison, President and Founder of the Center for Citizen Initiatives. Sharon has 33 years of experience working in USSR/Russia (1983 to present).

Robert Alberts, MBA, Accountant. Bob volunteers with Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Peter Bergel, Oregon PeaceWorks Board member and PeaceWorker news magazine editor.

Karen Chester, optometrist by vocation and a peace activist volunteer for two decades. Karen’s greatest concern has been and is the plight of Central American peoples, supporting those who come to the U.S. fleeing violence and poverty.

Jan Hartsough is an educator and community organizer. Jan worked for American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) for many years and currently works at the grassroots level to help African women gain access to safer water.

Paul Hartsough, Ph.D., clinical psychologist. Paul focuses on conflict resolution and how we can survive as one global family in the nuclear age.

Martha Hennessy, retired occupational therapist. Martha volunteers at the New York Catholic Worker.

Bob Spies, website developer, technical support for CCI, and activist for a number of non-violent causes. Bob previously was a participant in Beyond War.

Rick Sterling , retired aerospace engineer, Vice-Chair Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, co-founder Syria Solidarity Movement, Board President Task Force on the Americas.

Hakim Young is a Singaporean medical doctor who lives in Afghanistan part of the year. He is active with Afghan Peace volunteers and is deeply concerned about US-Russia relations.

References:

(1) UN Charter Preamble: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”. The first purpose of the United Nations is “To maintain international peace and security, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.”

(2) On June 27, 1986 the International Court at the Hague issued its legal ruling in the case of Nicaragua vs. United States. The ruling was as follows:

Decision of the International Court at the Hague

Decides that the United States of America, by training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying the “contra” forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua, has acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State.

By “training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying” the military rebel groups waging war against the Damascus government, the US and “friends” are committing the same crime that the USA was responsible for committing against Nicaragua in the 1980’s.

33 comments for “Seeking a Debate on ‘Regime Change’ Wars

  1. J'hon Doe II
    June 21, 2016 at 09:58

    Hawks hog the Syrian skies but doves need not despair

    BY M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
    JUNE 21, 2016

    On June 16, US and Russian fighter jets had a near-clash over Syria. The two American F-18 Hornet air-to-air fighter aircraft could not prevent Russia’s Su-34 Fullback bombers from hitting U.S.-backed rebels in southern region with a barrage of airstrikes. After the incident, Pentagon officials and Russian Ministry of Defence discussed steps to avoid accidents and misunderstandings in the Syrian air space

    If President Barack Obama ever nurtured the secret desire to have one final eyeball-to-eyeball with Vladimir Putin before his presidency ends, it has to happen in Syria. The two militaries are tiptoeing around each other in Syria.

    Two Russian Su-34 Fullback bombers hit US-backed moderate” opposition fighters in southern Syria on June 16
    It almost got serious on June 16 when two American F-18 Hornet air-to-air fighter aircraft took off from a carrier in the Mediterranean but failed to prevent two Russian Su-34 Fullback bombers from hitting US-backed “moderate” opposition fighters in the south of the country.

    The hawkish opinion in America interpreted the incident as an in-your-face rejection of US military superiority by Russia. Moscow blandly explained that its pilots could not distinguish the “moderate” fighters from al-Qaeda jihadists of Nusra Front.

    A high level video-conference ensued between senior Pentagon officials and Russian Ministry of Defence to discuss “the need to adhere to measures to enhance operational safety and avoid accidents and misunderstandings in the air space over Syria.”

    Last week, again, there was a stunning media leak of a memo through the US state department’s so-called “dissent channel” calling for “a judicious use of standoff and air weapons (against the Syrian regime), which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”

    Was it orchestrated ‘psywar’? The Russian media thinks so. Indeed, Secretary of State John Kerry since commended the “dissent memo” and hopes to meet its authors.

    Equally, hardline opinion is cascading in the Russian-Iranian camps that Washington brilliantly conned Moscow into agreeing with the ceasefire in Syria in February, which provided a much-needed respite for opposition groups to recoup and regain some lost territories.

    Putin has acted cautiously so far. The Russian strategy aims to expand the scope of ceasefire and bring about proximity between government forces and rebel groups, thereby shifting the locus to the negotiating table in Geneva.

    A difficult decision now awaits Putin: Does Moscow “return” to the war, reversing the drawdown of forces ordered in mid-March? The impetus for a full-bodied intervention is obvious:

    US has failed to fulfill its part of the ceasefire plan to separate the “moderate” groups from Nusra Front;
    The expectation that the ceasefire would galvanize the peace track proved wrong;
    Military balance is shifting adversely for Syrian government forces;
    Russia’s allies – Iran and Hezbollah – are taking heavy casualties, and without robust air support, unable to make significant progress on war front;
    US is either unable or unwilling to stop its allies from supplying opposition groups;
    US shows no interest in an entente with Russia.
    On the other hand, the risks of wading deeper into the Syrian conflict are weighing on the Russian mind. A military surge is senseless – unless followed up with a viable peace plan.

    http://atimes.com/2016/06/hawks-hog-the-syrian-skies-but-doves-need-not-despair/

  2. Karen
    June 21, 2016 at 05:55

    “On June 16, the New York Times reported: “More than 50 Daesh supporting State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad”

  3. Silly Me
    June 21, 2016 at 05:52

    Here is my favorite joke.

    John and Jack get a cake. They agree John would halve it and Jack will choose. Of course, one of the halves is larger and Jack takes it.
    “Shame on you!” says John.
    “Why?”
    “You picked the larger part.”
    “Why, which one would you have taken?”
    “The smaller one, of course.”
    “Then don’t complain; you have it.”

    The joke illustrate how those in power always trick the rest.

    Our opinion is a storm created by fish in a fish tank.

    The article is addressing a media circus, possibly preparing for a worldwide media hoax.

    We are living in the Matrix by now.

    I can, at this point, easily imagine a war presented by the media, while there will not be a single shot fired in reality, conveniently enforcing martial law in order to keep the exploited masses at bay. That will also enable our rulers to take away our weapons. Both the US and the Russian aristocracies will love the outcome, because they can pose as saviors and, boys and girls, it’s already in the works while we are chewing on fake problems.

  4. Zachary Smith
    June 20, 2016 at 23:38

    The letter makes some good points, but ignores the reality that the US Congress (both branches) is totally owned by Israel. Israel wants Syria to be a wasteland, and that’s a whole lot easy to accomplish with Assad gone.

    https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/israeli-intelligence-chief-not-want-isis-defeat-syria/

    Israel wants ISIS to stay in the fight until Syria is destroyed as a nation. What Israel wants from the US, Israel almost always gets.

    With ISIS currently getting the stuffings kicked out of it in Syria, the neocons have gone to Plan B. So far as I can tell, this involves having the “good terrorists” carve out one or more rump states in Syria. Presumably the next step would be to send them heavy weapons, recognize them as new nations, or both.

    During the US Civil War the top 1% of Great Britain really wanted the US to be dismembered as a nation – we were getting a bit too powerful, way too ‘uppity’, and an increasingly bad influence on the British peasant class. So like with Syria, the Southern Slave states got nearly a blank check from the UK.

    Suppose that after that war started turning towards a Union victory Britain suddenly went with a Plan B of its own and declared war on the evil Slave States. Instead of actively sending assistance to the Union, it sent a huge force of Mexican and Western Indian and Haitian mercenaries (with British advisers!) across the Rio Grande to capture Texas from the evil Confederates. They’d have the finest of equipment of course, and an endless resupply from Mexico. Quite a few of these mercs would be perfectly comfortable with the local equivalents of the ISIS stunts of burning alive and head chopping and cannibalism.

    See! We’re helping to defeat Slavery!! That the actual goal was to destroy the US as a nation would be vigorously denied, of course.

    Yes, it’s a stretch, but not that much of one. Destroying Syria for Israel is the actual goal with the “regime change” claptrap from the neocons in the State Department and elsewhere.

  5. Jim Hannan
    June 20, 2016 at 20:14

    I am watching Richard Haase and Nicholas Burns on Charlie Rose just now, and they are discussing the State Department dissent, basically a call to wage war against the government of Syria.
    It reminds me of how prescient Obama was in his Atlantic interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, about the bipartisan think tank impetus for regime change whenever and wherever we want.
    Burns just seemed to call the Russians, Iranians and Syrians malevolent. Really. I would say that the real bad actors are Saudi Arabia, Turkey and most of the emirates.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 20, 2016 at 21:16

      Think tanks put forth speakers, publish, and more or less represent their views openly. Obama shouldn’t get too much credit for being aware of their views and of their influence. Putin helped Obama put the brakes on with Syria by stepping up chemical weapons negotiations. That the sarin false flag was too obvious for people who could access the signature and logistical facts of the “operation” probably troubled Obama. I’m willing to give him some credit for not being a full blown neocon even though they are still basically having their way with him.

  6. Ol' Hippy
    June 20, 2016 at 19:49

    I too, have been alarmed by the underpinnings of the US govt and the aggressive stance on Syrian policy and the ‘war on terror’. How do average peace-loving citizens get attention of/or reign in the powerful? Voting seems to have no effect on actual outcomes by the elected officials that seem to have business interests ahead of peace. This country has been at some form of war 51 of my 62 years, invaded more places than I can count and now with elections ahead and the queen of hawkish policy ready to take the reigns, start more aggressive actions with an unwinnable confrontation perhaps on the horizon. There’s a good piece in the counterpunch today that also wants peace and by the looks of the letters above I’m certainly not alone. I just don’t know what I can do myself to help mitigate these insane people wanting to seemingly take over the world. Help, please! I’ll keep supporting this site.

  7. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    June 20, 2016 at 17:47

    AND I add that we need a debate on the “official story of 9/11″………..Science proved the story to be incomplete at best…….Please google “The Toronto Hearings” for a full conference where evidence was provided that the official story is full of lies…………….The Engineers of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) who did the official investigation of the collapse of the WTC towers 1, 2, and 7 were invited to attend (with all costs paid for by the organizers) but NON OF THEM SHOWED UP……..The whole story of “WAR on Terror” needs to be debated……..

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      June 22, 2016 at 14:57

      Go away, Truther. There is no conspiracy. Please go on RationalWiki’s article on 9/11 conspiracy theories.

  8. Derek Todd
    June 20, 2016 at 15:45

    I would share this but for the mistake of putting the NYT hit piece first and linking to it right at the top. Remove all references to the neocons and let the statement stand by itself. If you want to criticize the gang of 50 by all means do so but do it in a separate article and maybe flesh out a little how the US could play a role in bringing peace without throwing the idea of “the Syrian people” having anything to do with the future of Syria under the bus which is what the Russians are clearly prepared to do. The Russians, of course, are playing the great game like the good old days not realizing or perhaps not realizing the danger that a bunch of self deluded chicken hawks think that history is what pansies care about and they want to get on with smashing up the pottery barn ever more thoroughly. It has been distressing to see the really rather craven way that even the most progressive, the most Bernie Sanders supporters cannot bring themselves to say to President Obama-enough with the slow jamming and the jokes, get on with the hard diplomacy needed to bring an end to this horrible bloodbath while retaining some shred of accountability for what Americans, writ large, have always said they believe in.

    • Gregory Herr
      June 20, 2016 at 19:48

      The Syrian government is legally and legitimately a manifestation of the “Syrian people” having something to do with their present, and by extension, their future. Russia recognizes that sovereignty, and has clearly stated that if negotiations led to the Syrian people making another choice, then so be it. They have made it clear that their support is not for Assad, per se, but rather for Syrian sovereignty (of the people) and international law.
      This is not a civil war. It has from the start been engineered from outside of Syria and waged by mostly foreign mercenaries supported by the usual suspects. Specially-trained Blackwater types were provocateurs and snipers…same playbook in Ukraine.

  9. Enels
    June 20, 2016 at 13:43

    Thanks for the update on concerned sensible folks who walk the walk, and are signatories to this appeal for ”debate”about it.

    But is there any similar list of the names… of the nut jobs that work tirelessly to bring chaos and destruction, with propoganda on top?

    Needed: a comprehensive listing of the names, for historical purposes at least, for prosecution… maybe posthumously at least!

  10. Bob Van Noy
    June 20, 2016 at 12:55

    Congratulations. What a wonderful idea and group. This is exactly the correct way to respond to our intransigent State Department and Executive. One of my personal heroes from the JFK era, John Kenneth Galbraith used to espouse the concept of Countervailing power which is exactly what this group is doing. Many thanks for your effort.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countervailing_power

  11. Erik
    June 20, 2016 at 12:39

    Agreed that the US urgently needs “nation-wide public debate” on U.S. policy, including all schemes of the executive branch or Congress, to perpetuate war and to serve foreign powers and the wealthy elsewhere.

    Such acts are unconstitutional and are high crimes. When in the service of foreign powers seeking to control the US government by economic warfare against our democratic institutions of mass media and elections, these warmongering schemes are acts of treason. They are well known to result only in disaster for the US and peoples elsewhere, and success only for the oligarchy and its criminal puppets in government.

  12. Bart Gruzalski
    June 20, 2016 at 12:33

    Yikes! I haven’t been in touch with David Hartsough for probably over twenty years. It’s comforting to know he is currently in Russia “waging peace.”

    Now to the nitty-gritty.

    FIRST, regarding the “call for an urgent nation-wide public debate on the U.S. policy of “regime change”.”

    If you had the funding, you could set up five or six conferences on the topic of Regime Change. You’d want to vet any speakers or participants. If each conference was a day long, with a nice lunch provided by you or whoever would set this up, you’d be successful in provoking a discussion across the country. Since you’re going to provide a lunch, you might want to sell tickets (so you know the number and can anticipate other needs, e.g. a morning pre-conference coffee and pastry half-hour as well as a mid-afternoon coffee and pastry break). Assuming you don’t really need the door fee, you could charge $5 up to two days before the event and $10 the day before the event and on the day of the event. You could have these events in: Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC. You would obviously need to have someone who’s good at setting this stuff up. That person wouldn’t have to be as committed to peace as you are (though you don’t want to risk a mole either).

    SECOND, regarding the substance of the article:

    The 51 State Department diplomats who signed the internal memo critical of Obama because he isn’t embracing “bombs away” are insane according to Einstein’s definition of insanity. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” US neocons, Hillary Clinton, the board of directors of AIPAC, and many others are obviously insane. It’s just that they “are” the Establishment and so it is difficult for us to believe how insane they actually are. Cognitive dissonance makes it very difficult to see them for what they are. We just can’t believe that the presumptive Democratic candidate for president, and perhaps the next president, is insane.

    Anyone deliberately risking nuclear war has to be insane. A group of Russian Americans who are very familiar with Russian history and the current state of Russian society and the Russian military, wrote the following “Warning”:

    “We now feel that it is our duty, as Russians living in the US, to warn the American people that they are being lied to, and to tell them the truth. And the truth is simply this: If there is going to be a war with Russia, then the United States will most certainly be destroyed, and most of us will end up dead.”

    Hillary Clinton, the neocons… utterly and depravedly insane.

    I don’t know how they can be so utterly mindless and not see where their horrific policies are leading.

    Maybe they too suffer from cognitive dissonance.

  13. Drew Hunkins
    June 20, 2016 at 12:16

    The letter is a bit problematic in that there is not one mention of the incredibly powerful pro-Israel lobby. The Zionist power configuration has been at the forefront in championing every single war Washington has waged in the Middle East, horn of Africa and south central Asia over the last 20 years. To fail to call out the pro-Israel zealots is a curious blind spot I find slightly dismaying. And no, it’s not engaging in “tunnel vision” to point out this albatross around the neck of the US taxpayer and peace loving American citizen. Don’t get me wrong, the spirit and intent of the letter is ethically righteous and it should be applauded. It’s just the failure to include the pink elephant in the room that’s disconcerting.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 20, 2016 at 12:56
    • Drew Hunkins
      June 20, 2016 at 15:39

      Thank you Mr. Tedesky. I’m actually familiar with some of that information. Professor James Petras – over at his website – also has a recent dynamite piece on Killary’s email scandal and its connections to the pro-Israel power bloc in Washington.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 20, 2016 at 17:27

      Your welcome Drew. If you read the Hillary email link you would have noticed that her concern had nothing to do with the USofA, but everything to do with all things Israeli. It appears that Bibi Netanyahu is going to get the last laught, if Hillary becomes president, and she no doubt will become our next president. I suspect that an unbridled Hillary will make what happen in Libya look like child’s play, to what terrible forces she will unleash onto the Syrian landscape. I also have concern to what she will do about Iran. Add to that concern anything involving Ukraine, and the surrounding Baltic States which border Russia. Remember Russia is the grand prize, and wouldn’t it be so Hillary of her to foolishly engage with a newly modernized Russian military, and defense system. Probably Hillary thinks Putin is easy, and that he is bluffing, but smaller wars have been started over using this kind of illogic before, so why not now. After all, we are talking about Hillary Clinton here.

    • Drew Hunkins
      June 20, 2016 at 17:53

      All good points Mr. Tedesky.

      Killary terrifies me, she’s a serious threat to global tranquility (what’s left of it). And she’s so enthralled to the NeoCons who have her ear at every turn. It’ll be up to committed activists, intellectuals and other committed citizens to keep Killary and her warmongering ZioCon-NeoCons at bay. A tall task for all of us indeed.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 20, 2016 at 18:05

      Well said Mr Hunkins, we will all need to do our best.

  14. Chris Chuba
    June 20, 2016 at 12:16

    When I read the letter I was struck by how identical they were suggesting that we revisit our fabulously successful Libya solution.

    1. Stand off weapons, just bomb the govt and let the Unicorns, ahem, moderate rebels will then fix things.

    2. Their complete and total lack of acknowledgment of the existence of Al Qaeda groups, Al Nusra and Army of Islam. They just mention, Assad’s forces, ISIS, and the moderate rebels. The FSA are the junior partners to Army of Islam. Helping them will exactly re-create Libya.

    3. The false narrative of the cease fire. It excluded Al Nusra and should have excluded the Army of Islam. It was the Army of Islam who persistently violated the ceasefire, not Assad’s forces. This is identical to the libel committed against Gaddafi with the viagra rape gangs and the alleged pending massacre.

    These guys didn’t even bother to come up with a plausible lie this time.

  15. Helge
    June 20, 2016 at 11:51

    I fully support this statement. It’s funny enough that the US and the EU are blaming the Russian government for interference in Ukrainian affairs while there has never been any proof of that whereas the US has been condemned by the UN of doing so in Nicaragua during the 80s. If the Russian “threat” would be so enormous how comes Russia didn’t put Belarus under emense pressure after Belarusian president Lukashenko declared his support for the coup and new governemnt in the Ukraine and also condemned the Crimean association to the Russian Federation. Would there be any easier prey than Belarus for a Russia seeking to re-establish its world power status? Have we seen Russia threatening Belarus and Lukashenko, have we seen Russia amassing troops on the Belarusian border? No, we did not, instead the Russian government immediately accepted the invitation of Lukashenko to embark on negotiations about the situation in Eastern Ukraine with the new Ukrainian government. If Russia is not a threat to a defiant Lukashenko, how could they be a threat to the Baltics or Poland or anyone else?

  16. Joe L.
    June 20, 2016 at 11:46

    Wow, this article could literally have been plucked from my head because you mention almost every point that I can think of in relation to Syria and the legality of it all, even down to Article 2(4) of the UN Charter. I am also glad that the International Criminal Court was mentioned because the US is a member but has not yet ratified the Rome Statute but countries like my own, Canada, are full members of the ICC so I do believe that we should be taken to court for breaking international law in Syria (though Trudeau has pulled our planes out of Syria now, I think he realized the legal slippery slope that Canada was on). Also, I believe that Britain is a fully ratified member of the ICC so I wonder why Tony Blair has not been brought up on war crimes for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq?

    I truly believe that if there were real consequences for going to war then wars would largely stop – such as the US ratifying the Rome Statute and being bound to the International Criminal Court as I believe all nations should be. The International Criminal Court should be impartial and go after any people, regardless what country they come from, for war crimes – I admit that I would love to see George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair brought up on war crimes in the Hague. I think that if we believe that we are above international law then we lose all legitimacy in the world – which I would say we already have. I think now people only follow Washington’s dictates out of fear of reprisal – either financially or militarily. But what will happen if the majority of countries in the world have an alternative to a western dominated financial system? What would that do to sanctions?

  17. Joe Tedesky
    June 20, 2016 at 11:44

    I’m all for supporting such an organization as Center for Citizens Initiatives, and I will be sure to tell others. I will tell others, because I pretty well know how our corporate media won’t mention it to their readers, or viewers. Unlike the 51 State Department diplomat stooges who I feel we’re giving a shout out to their old Secretary of State boss, who these so called good American diplomats believe will become their new Commander and Chief. These 51 war advocates are falling all over themselves, along with the several DOJ employees who donated 75k to the Hillary Victory Fund, and Loretta Lynch recently stated how her and President Obama never speak to each other about Hillary’s email scandal. I also don’t think that an ex-Attorney General would hold a fund raiser for Hillary Clinton if he had inside information of how she may possibly be held liable for her breach of security. Obama is probably hoping that none of his emails to the then Secretary of State Clinton will be suspect to drag his good name into Hillary’s email breach investigation. No, to me it looks like there are many in our DC government who are preparing a nice welcome home party for Hillary’s return to the White House. This whole presidential election looks disgusting in so many, many ways, and that’s a fact. Hooray for these fine concerned people at CCI, thanks we American citizens need you. Oh, and God Bless you Ray, you are a proven peacemaker…and God Bless your friends over there at CCI!

    • Joe L.
      June 20, 2016 at 11:57

      Joe Tedesky… You know when you look at it all, it is kind of sad. If I am right, the American people are more enraged with Hillary’s e-mail scandal, about her legitimacy to be President, then her destroying the lives (destroying the human rights) of countless people from Libya, Honduras etc. Does that prove that Americans, and maybe westerners in general, believe that our lives are worth more than the rest of the world (the e-mail breach threatening possible undercover American agents compared to deaths in Libya/Honduras related to Clinton’s actions)? Does it prove exceptionalism? What do you think?

    • Helge
      June 20, 2016 at 12:06

      In my eyes, that is so. There is a certain kind of neo-social-darwinism in the whole thing, whether conscious or sub-conscious, they outcome is the same.

    • Joe L.
      June 20, 2016 at 12:22

      Helge… Yes, I also believe that the US, and the west, believe that our lives are worth more than the rest of the world. We have the recent examples in Brussels and Paris where flags were lowered, people stood in solidarity etc. meanwhile I believe there were even larger terrorist attacks in Iraq and Pakistan at the same time. I mean I didn’t see the Iraq or Pakistani flag displayed over the Eiffel Tower. Also, I believe, the #JeSuisCharlie movement was disingenuous considering how bigoted that publication is where even after all of the hoopla they made a joke out of the drowned Syrian boy on one of their covers (the Syrian boys family lives in British Columbia, Canada and were outraged by the cover). I truly believe that we need to stop seeing ourselves as exceptional and realize that all lives hold the same weight regardless of where someone was lucky or unlucky enough to be born – exceptionalism feeds the military industrial complex, I truly believe that.

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 20, 2016 at 12:50

      The Hillary email scandal has received more news coverage than her exploits over Honduras, and never a mention about her cruel treatment in Libya. As far as the Syrian conflict, I honestly believe Americans are afraid of more Orlando style rampage shootings than anything else. Our American corporate run news media have my fellow Americans in a constant state of fog. We Americans have no idea of what’s going on in this world, only that our leaders are fighting hard to keep us safe, and for that we wave our flag. People better wake up, because poking the eyes of the Russian Bear could prove fatal, if Hillary and company get their way. We could be talking whole cities, complete destruction of vital infrastructures could be at risk, if our American warmongering government keeps it up playing war lord over the whole world. Other than that Joe L. today we are experiencing nice weather, and my Father’s Day was a pleasant one. Life is good here since the Penquins won the Stanley Cup, and footbal training camps are starting up for the no so far off new season, so what else could one wish for? Life in the USA is good…for now.

    • Bob Van Noy
      June 20, 2016 at 13:02

      Thanks Joe Tedesky, yesterday I took the time to listen to he entire address given by Professor Stephen Cohen to the Commonwealth Club last November. I think he’s exactly right on this subject. Link here: http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/archive/video/stephen-f-cohen-ukrainian-crisis-its-not-all-putins-fault

    • Joe L.
      June 20, 2016 at 13:25

      Joe Tedesky… Well I am glad that you had a good Father’s Day – I am not a father so it was a regular day for me but I did speak with my own Dad last night. As for hockey, well it was disappointing not to see one Canadian team in the playoffs though with the Penguins winning we are always proud of “Sid the Kid” (also many people are sad about the passing of Gordie Howe).

    • Joe Tedesky
      June 20, 2016 at 13:38

      Okay thanks, but Joe L I was trying to capture the average American view of what’s going on in this crazy war waging country. People have their head up their you know what, and our news media is leading the lambs to slaughter by the millions, and they don’t even know it…it’s pathetic.

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