US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Illegal

Exclusive: Secretary of State Kerry met with dissident State Department “diplomats” to hear their call for U.S. airstrikes on Syrian government troops, but the plan is both dangerous and illegal, writes Marjorie Cohn.

By Marjorie Cohn

In an internal “dissent channel cable,” 51 State Department officers called for “targeted military strikes” against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, a proposal that President Barack Obama has thus far resisted. However, were he to accept the cable’s advice, he would risk a dangerous – possibly catastrophic – confrontation with Russia. And, such a use of military force in Syria would violate U.S. and international law.

While the cable decries “the Russian and Iranian governments’ cynical and destabilizing deployment of significant military power to bolster the Assad regime,” the cable calls for the United States to protect and empower “the moderate Syrian opposition,” seeking to overthrow the Syrian government.

However, Assad’s government is the only legitimate government in Syria and, as the sovereign, has the legal right to seek international support as it has from Russia and Iran. There is no such legal right for the United States and other countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to arm Syrian rebels to attack Assad’s government.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 30, 2013, claims to have proof that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21, but that evidence failed to materialize or was later discredited. [State Department photo]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Aug. 30, 2013, claimed to have proof that the Syrian government was responsible for a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21, but that evidence failed to materialize or was later discredited. [State Department photo]

The dissent cable advocates what it calls “the judicious use of stand-off and air weapons,” which, the signatories write, “would undergird and drive a more focused and hardnosed US-led diplomatic process.”

Inside Syria, both the United States and Russia are battling the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) as ISIS and other jihadist groups seek to overthrow the Assad government. But while the U.S. is supporting rebel forces (including some fighting ISIS and some fighting Assad), Russia is backing Assad (and waging a broader fight against “terrorists,” including Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front). Reuters reports the U.S. has about 300 special operations forces in Syria for its “counter-terrorism mission against Islamic State militants but is not targeting the Assad government.”

The policy outlined in the dissent cable would change that balance, by having the U.S. military bomb Syrian soldiers who have been at the forefront of the fight against both ISIS and Nusra. But that policy shift “would lead to a war with Russia, would kill greater numbers of civilians, would sunder the Geneva peace process, and would result in greater gains for the radical Sunni ‘rebels’ who are the principal opponents of the Assad regime,” analyst James Carden wrote at Consortiumnews.com.

Journalist Robert Parry added that the authors of the cable came from the State Department’s “den of armchair warriors possessed of imperial delusions,” looking toward a Hillary Clinton administration which will likely pursue “no-fly-zones” and “safe zones” leading to more slaughter in Syria and risking a confrontation with Russia.

As we should have learned from the “no-fly zone” that preceded the Libyan “regime change” that the U.S. government engineered in 2011, a similar strategy in Syria would create a vacuum in which ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front would flourish.

Violating U.S. and International Law

The strategy set forth in the cable would also violate both U.S. and international law.

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Saudi King Salman bids farewell to President Barack Obama at Erga Palace after a state visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), the President can introduce U.S. troops into hostilities, or into situations “where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,” only (1) after a Congressional declaration of war, (2) with “specific statutory authorization,” or (3) in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

None of three conditions that would allow the president to use military force in Syria is present at this time. First, Congress has not declared war. Second, neither the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which George W. Bush used to invade Afghanistan, nor the 2002 AUMF, which Bush used to invade Iraq would provide a legal basis for an attack on Syria at the present time. Third, there has been no attack on the United States or U.S. armed forces. Thus, an armed attack on Syria would violate the WPR.

Even if a military attack on Syria did not run afoul of the WPR, it would violate the United Nations Charter, a treaty the U.S. has ratified, making it part of U.S. law under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause. Article 2(4) of the Charter says that states “shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”

The Charter only allows a military attack on another country in the case of self-defense or when the Security Council authorizes it; neither has occurred in this case. Assad’s government has not attacked the United States, and the Council has not approved military strikes on Syria.

Indeed, Security Council Resolution 2254, to which the cable refers, nowhere authorizes the use of military force, and ends with the words, “[The Security Council] decides to remain actively seized of the matter.” This means that the Council has not delegated the power to attack Syria to any entity other than itself.

If the U.S. were to mount an armed attack on Syria, the Charter would give Assad a valid self-defense claim, and Russia could legally assist Assad in collective self-defense under Article 51 of the Charter. Moreover, forcible “regime change” would violate Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the U.S. has also ratified.

Although it’s true that the “dissent” cable eschews the use of U.S. “ground forces,” its recommendation that the U.S. should bomb Assad’s government would involve U.S. military personnel who would fly the bombers or fire off the missiles. And, such an operation would invariably necessitate at least a limited number of U.S. support troops on the ground.

Opposition to Violent ‘Regime Change’

Many commentators have warned of dangers from a U.S. military attack on Syria, risks that are either ignored or breezily dismissed by the “dissent” cable.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John and identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the target of a drone attack that the Pentagon announced on Thursday.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative, known as Jihadi John.

Jean Aziz cautions in Al-Monitor, “the recommendation of military strikes against the Syrian government – no matter how well intentioned – is, in the end, escalatory, and would likely result in more war, killing, refugees, less humanitarian aid reaching civilians, the empowerment of jihadis and so on.”

The United States is already empowering jihadis, “going out of its way to protect the interests of al-Qaeda’s closest and most powerful ally in Syria, Ahrar al-Sham,” Gareth Porter wrote in Truthout. Porter reported that Ahrar al-Sham, which works closely with the Nusra Front, “is believed to be the largest military force seeking to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria, with at least 15,000 troops.”

So, in seeking Assad’s ouster, the U.S. has terrorist bedfellows. So much for the “global war on terror.”

As CIA Director John Brennan recently told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “Our efforts have not reduced [Islamic State’s] terrorism capability and global reach,” adding, “The branch in Libya is probably the most developed and the most dangerous.”

No wonder President Obama told Fox News “the worst mistake” of his presidency was not planning for the aftermath of U.S. regime change in Libya, although he stubbornly maintains that ousting President Muammar Gaddafi was “the right thing to do.”

The Center for Citizen Initiatives, a group of U.S. citizens currently on a delegation to Russia in order to increase understanding and reduce international tension and conflict, issued a statement in strong opposition to the “dissent” cable. Retired Col. Ann Wright, anti-war activist Kathy Kelly and former CIA analyst Ray McGovern are part of the group.

“It is not the right of the USA or any other foreign country to determine who should lead the Syrian government,” the statement says. “That decision should be made by the Syrian people.”

The statement urges the State Department “to seek non-military solutions in conformity with the UN Charter and international law.” It also urges the Obama administration to “stop funding and supplying weapons to armed ‘rebels’ in violation of international law and end the policy of forced ‘regime change’.” Finally, the statement calls for “an urgent nation-wide public debate on the U.S. policy of ‘regime change’.”

This is sage advice in light of the disasters created by the U.S. government’s forcible regime change in Iraq and Libya, which destabilized those countries, facilitating the rise of ISIS and other terrorist groups. There is no reason to believe the situation in Syria would be any different.

Instead of saber-rattling against Assad, Russia and Iran, the Obama administration should include them all in pursuing diplomacy toward a political, non-military settlement to the Syrian crisis.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. A member of the national advisory board of Veterans for Peace, Cohn’s latest book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Visit her website at http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at @marjoriecohn.

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35 comments for “US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Illegal

  1. Otton Bexaron
    June 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    The real money is paid by the big players like Adelson and Koch, who “endow” the “foundation$” that hire the “right” former “gun-slingers” after their term on the self-promoting platform as “U.S. State Department Official”.

  2. TellTheTruth-2
    June 23, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Diplomats who call for the President to violate the law should be fired.

  3. henry paul
    June 23, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    What if one or two nukes would be downed near Washington D.C. and caused colleteral damage of about 650.000 ?

    What if US people suffer the first time in history about real war-casualties, pain, deaths, hunger, fire, no help, no water, no food, no police for at least 4 weeks?

    What if the first strike from romanian rocket-platforms or polish platforms into Russia and never reach their target but get re-directed by russian fog-electronis-devices but in retaliation two long-range missiles would hit N.Y. and WashyDC?

    Just imagine, just think about, just evaluate what it will do to THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA without working according to the BILL-of-RIGHTS, what WAR is really about!

  4. John
    June 23, 2016 at 9:15 am

    The Spirit of the United States has never changed….The “Trail of Tears” continues ….

  5. F. G. Sanford
    June 23, 2016 at 2:09 am

    Alliance defined by ambition reclines in the false proposition that friendship endures,
    Founded on character craftily framed by designs such alliance will whither and die.
    Victory posits the enemy known may also succumb to design by ambition.
    Circumstance fosters perceptions of friendship the pathway to victory oddly obscures.

    Young officers armed with an ambitious book, inscrutable wisdom in simplest terms,
    Words that seem friendly and plain at first look are deceptively cryptic when battle arrives,
    That old Asian sage never proffered deception, though ‘knowing’ defies what the ink puts to page,
    A lifetime of study can never supplant what the smell or the horror of battle affirms.

    Dreaming of victory, easy to reason, relying on allies as circumstance looms,
    Believing that friendship precludes any treason, or failing to recognize genial foes,
    Constitutes leadership’s fallible nuance, premium wisdom not learned in a chair,
    Implacable Generals conquer despite all the wisdom a neophyte soldier assumes.

    Armchair contenders, impostors and frauds adorned in their gold buttoned finery proud
    Ascend to the podium strutting like gods, peremptory blowhards devoured by pride,
    Personified menace, the role they presume, stokes fire in brains of political hacks.
    Clausewitz might giggle when they borrow quotes, but Sun Tzu would just laugh right out loud.

    Flournoy or Breedlove, the outcome is moot: presumptive new tenants for that bully stump,
    Victoria Nuland’s been mentioned to boot, and a medieval physicist clings to delusion,
    Bewildered that Putin just doesn’t back down. Psoriasis seems to have gripped his complexion,
    He’s flushed and frustrated that Assad prevails, raising pressure from blood in his pump.

    The Asian enigma that Putin perceives is the balance alliance consigns to design,
    Ambition and friendship are virtues to thieves, among whores there is less to mistrust.
    Saudis and Turks have professed their allegiance, so too those Ukrainian heroes,
    Croatians are steady, reliable chaps and the Balts are reluctant to quibble or whine.

    Germans despise any clever self-interest — nuclear fallout would cause no chagrin,
    They’d welcome what strategy seems to work best, alliance is sacred to them…
    Insouciant Czechs and rear echelon Poles are ambitiously grateful for friendship as well,
    Putin, however, would rather keep slag-heaps confined farther west than Berlin.

    A strategy framed on entangled alliance relies on intangible recourse to trust,
    A pretense disguised in defiance of reason is faith placed in character flaws.
    Allies so chosen will soon fall away when the scent of raw blood fills the air,
    Victory falls to the General savvy who spills it to windward ahead of the gust

    Putin will calculate which ox to gore, well chosen to blow that abhorrent perfume
    From a quarter his arrogant foes must ignore regardless of fantasy thirst for reprisal.
    He’ll carefully wait as the allies demure, and those blowhards lament loss of Article Five,
    Loopholes may skirt the Supremacy Clause, but options simplistic will codify doom.

    Putin begins with the victory won, regardless of nuclear war’s conflagration.
    Resigned to the battle before it’s begun, the target coordinates long specified,
    Sovereign destiny proffers the option to choose between serfdom or pride.
    A mother made widow by millions of sons has chosen one now with resolve.
    The Womb of the World stands beside Mother Russia, and offers that son adulation.

  6. June 23, 2016 at 1:03 am

    I don’t want to imply that Obama is somehow the dupe of the neo-cons. He knew exactly what he was getting into when he took them up on their offer. He knew what ‘he’ would be delivering to the American people and to the world. He could have said no. He didn’t. He was the POTUS for eight long years of death, devastation, destruction, and deceit. The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Never once did he assert his authority. He was a fraud. A knowing, willing fraud, played out on the American people. Clinton XLV will be as well, if she makes it, just as was Clinton XLII.

    Bush XLI, Clinton XLII, Bush XLIII, Clinton XLV … anyone see a pattern here?

    There are in the neighborhood of 200,000,000 Americans eligible to be POTUS. If one in a hundred has the stuff … and what reason is there to doubt that? … that’s 2,000,000 potential candidates. I’m going to be writing in my choice for POTUS, Senator, and Congressperson on 7 November, and in every election for the rest of my days. No more elephants, no more donkeys. We need decent people to act as our representatives in government. The only way we’ll ever get that is to select them from among ourselves.

  7. WenARd
    June 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    Well someone better tell Hillary Clinton. That will be this warmongers 1st objective. The last thing we need is a neocon in the White House.. Hope you haven’t forgotten about the Bush years.

  8. Stefan
    June 22, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Americans in general are underestimating the stranglehold that Israel /Neocons have on Washington.

    That is why Americans keep chasing their tail for answers as to just how strange Washington operates – because the focus, the source of the problem, is constantly bypassed in the analysis.

  9. Paul Hunter
    June 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Well, obviously the US governement do not care about the law and a lot of governement officials should be in prison right now.

  10. Brad Benson
    June 22, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Kerry met with them did he? Why didn’t he instantly demand their resignations or fire them on the spot?

    • Stefan
      June 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      Very likely because he was the – or one of the – initiators of the memo. That is my opinion.

    • TellTheTruth-2
      June 23, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Good question .. Kerry should be fired for meeting with them.

  11. john francis lee
    June 22, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Here, I’ve fixed it for you …

    US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Illegal

    US Bombing Syrian Troops Would Be Dangerous

    I don’t think that Obama will cave-in to the 50 dancing diplomats but, taken with the refusal of his own Attorney General to pursue his latest half-hearted ‘plan’ to close Guantanamo, these episodes show just how unimportant Obama has been throughout ‘his’ administration. And together these show that all Obama’s ‘power’ now lies in what he does not do from here on in. He’s been hobbled.

    The mad rush to abandon Obama and to please the neo-cons, thus to assure themselves places in the coming (they’re sure) neo-con Clinton administration is truly shameful.

    But they’re ready for murder, what’s mere shame to Hillary and her Valkyries?

  12. David G
    June 22, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    The illegality of the war these “diplomats'” are calling for is pretty plain, though thanks to Marjorie Cohn for mentioning some of the relevant sources of law.

    What puzzles me is, what will they put in the memo? Y’know what I mean: the mighty memo that—through all the last 15 years of military aggressions, torture, assassinations, kidnappings, boundless surveillance, etc.—they always get some lawyer somewhere in the executive branch to write to give some color of legality (or at least legalism) to the contemplated (or frequently, ongoing) offense against civilization.

    The memo is frequently classified secret, of course, but as far as I know it always exists. (One exception, I believe, being Bush’s warrantless wiretapping, which was so self-evidently illegal and impeachable that they may not have tried to pretend otherwise, and simply relied on Obama and his colleagues to amend FISA to provide the quasi-legal fig leaf.)

    But, in the case of Syria, I simply can’t figure out what they’ll come up with. As Cohn says, there isn’t, and won’t be, a Security Council resolution to distort (China and Russia learned their lesson with Libya), and Assad has always been the enemy of the enemies the U.S. named in the AUMFs. Will they need to arrange a Gulf of Tonkin incident to make do?

    This is just morbid curiosity on my part, of course. I’m sure I’m more interested in the legal pretext than any of the people in government actually starting the war will be.

  13. Pablo Diablo
    June 22, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    A vote for Hillary will give the Neoconservatives EVERYTHING they dream of.

  14. john francis lee
    June 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    How come the law always comes second. Even at consortiumnews? Oh yeah … and it’s illegal, too. The collapse of the rule of law in the USA preceded and enabled all of our – and the world’s – ‘troubles’, beginning with the US Supreme Court’s ruling that vote counting be stopped in 2000 and their effective appointment of the Republican contender president. I don’t imagine that it was Marjorie Cohn who put the law second place.

  15. Marshalldoc
    June 22, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    Why does it take an editorial/essay to point out to our elected officials and their appointed minions that attacking another country absent clear-cut self-defense from an attack or with a UNSC resolution is against international law? We are being led by idiots!!

  16. Tom Welsh
    June 22, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    The signatories of the cable should, at the very least, be summarily fired. They should really be tried and imprisoned for breach of international and US law, and possibly for treason. Ideally, they would be tried and hanged for advocating unprovoked aggressive war, the ultimate international crime according to the Nuremberg Tribunals’ American judges.

    • Peter Loeb
      June 23, 2016 at 6:48 am

      Tom Welsh…

      Trials involving US law should be in the US, of course.

      Trials involving international crime etc. should be at the Hague.

      It should be clear that all signatories, whatever their views,
      can no longer serve the United States in any department, in any
      capacity. Within departments, there can be free speech.
      Those freely speaking cannot obviously make official policy
      on war and peace. I thought the Secretaries and Undersecretaries
      of governmental departments made recommendation to
      the Executive-in-Chief and where required by law
      that Executive -in -Chief in myriad ways (budget etc.)
      comes under the supervision of the legislative branch.

      Employees of all departments may and do have their own
      points of view. As employees (hopefully now former
      employees) they have grossly and inappropriately
      exceeded their mandates as servants of the public.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  17. Mary
    June 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Your concluding statement sums it all up perfectly: “Instead of saber-rattling against Assad, Russia and Iran, the Obama Administration should include them all in pursuing diplomacy toward a political, non-military settlement to the Syrian crisis.” The 51 so-called diplomats and sadly, the Secretary of State, John Kerry, would do well to read your article. How can our government continue to violate all of these laws?

    • Andrew Nichols
      June 22, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      They are showing all the fruits of their training in the fine arts of hypocrisy and deceipt. In their case it’s now so ingrained they are believing their own bullshit.

    • rexw
      June 22, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      Mary,

      The logic of your comment would be lost on almost anyone, including the stooge John Kerry, anyone except the people who wisely read the offerings from Consortium News. There are probably other publications but if so, in short supply.

      One needs a regular Consortium fillip to maintain a connection to the real world, the mainstream media doing all it can to change any story into a reflection of US foreign (hegemonic, warlike) policy. It has reached the stage that any headline in the New York Times or the Washington Post and perhaps 90% of all media in the US, Murdoch particularly, should be automatically reversed in a search for the real truth.
      I am staggered at the brouhaha we see periodically when someone dares to raise the impact of an event on the First Amendment which guarantees freedoms concerning assembly and the right to petition. It also guarantees freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely.

      BUT WHAT IT DOESN”T DO is require the same press to ever print the truth. Now that’s how the Israeli-controlled neocons of Iraq War fame, (chemical weapons, sanctions, 600,000 children dead, Libya excursions, Syria crimes), fellow travellers, sycophants of convenience and totally owned politicians like Clinton, have now gained control of the “home of the brave”.
      No more. “Home of the apathetic and naive”, now the case in 2016. Israel is the basis for all the problems in the world today, actioned / endorsed by 66 US vetoes in the United Nations, this corrupt organisation disgraced over decades. Nothing but an elaborate social club, dancing to a US tune.
      All this evidenced by the choices in 2016 for President. Almost a choreographed farce of benefit only to those who want to bring America down…..or control it. Almost there now.

      As a respectful suggestion, Mary, look at NATO’s missile bases surrounding Russia. 29 of them and more to come. It’s on the web. Then if you are over 55 years old or perhaps a reader of America’s history of political assassinations, a la JFK (after he wanted to subject Israel to nuclear inspections), then you may remember the one half-baked (by comparison) Russian missile installation which created the “Cuban Missile Crisis” for fourteen long days in 1962.

      Then compare that to the 29 bases surrounding Russia, all with US (NATO) weapons enjoying a massive increase in capability. If this motivates you for some more truth, search out “sanctions” applied to Russia, misplaced blame for the Ukraine shooting down of MH 17 two years ago and on it goes, ad nauseum. In the newspapers in the USA? Hardly. Not without the White House spin.
      Then you might ask John Kerry, the neocon stooge, to explain why it is that he has withheld the details of the perpetrators of that MH 17 crime. As he said “we know who fired the weapon”, Meet the Press, July, 2014.
      Could this be a convenient ruse to apply sanctions, update missile bases and weaponry and work the US media magic to make Russia the big bad bear? You know the old saying….”.if it looks like a duck. etc..”

      Now when was the last time any American “publication” detailed those items for all to see or made the comparison between then and now or learned anything from history? Not from the New York Times. Not from anywhere. If they did, it would have been the ‘Hans Christian Andersen’ version and who would know (or who would even care ) about the difference between the two.

      Apathy reigns supreme in those United States. The price for such apathy will be Clinton…..and all that will mean.

      • Knomore
        June 23, 2016 at 9:24 am

        To Mary, Rex and Ms. Cohn: The only way you will ever stop the travesty that is being played out in the world today by US aggression which threatens world destruction is to prosecute the people responsible for the Iraq debacle. They are still running the US State Department. They are still in control. We know they are war criminals but nothing is done to bring them to justice. They won’t stop murdering world leaders, practicing regime change until the people of the United States are sufficiently emboldened to step up and say: These murderers must be put out of business. The 51 included. And we must stop funding Israel and their aggression against anyone in the Middle East who thwarts their desire for regional (and probably also world) hegemony.

        Hillary Clinton is their leader, the one who hopes to take over the US government and continue the insanity of the past 15 years. If some enlightened moment does not strike the power players in this benighted country and give us a sane choice like Bernie or Jill Stein, I’m voting for Donald Trump. No one, NO ONE, could be worse than Hillary Clinton.

        In the attached link, you will see the British mulling over Tony Blair and British involvement in the Iraqi regime change horror. A commission should be set up here in the United States before credible witnesses, like Mr. Kelly, are assassinated and we diverge farther and farther from instituting necessary proscriptions against significant moral hazards like the NeoCons and Mrs. Clinton.

        http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/29795.html

      • Knomore
        June 23, 2016 at 3:47 pm

        Here’s an even scarier script to the Russian encirclement: Michel Chossudovsky arguing that the plan is to draw attention to one part of the globe, the action around Russia, when the real target is Iran.

        https://www.corbettreport.com/americas-global-war-strategy-and-empire/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CorbettReportRSS+%28The+Corbett+Report%29

        Chossudovsky’s overall analysis is chilling in the extreme. The US with the help of its NATO ally is out to literally rule the world; how this is done matters less than that it is done. The country has vaulted completely out of our control. The PTB, the cabal, deep state (whoever/whatever they are) orchestrated the latest elections, seemingly not caring one whit if the American public recognizes fraud writ large. They don’t care. They will do what they will and the US public, electorate, democracy, be damned.

        Does this explain why Susan Rice is offering 40 Billion to Israel?

        • rhys
          June 23, 2016 at 11:33 pm

          Susan

          You read some good material.

          I keep writing, anywhere I can, that until the three criminals, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are indicted for their crimes, also adding Tony Blair in there as well, the USA will never recover its position as a RESPECTED world leader as once it was. Yes, some time ago now, in fact as far back as the first US veto was used at the UN Security Council supporting the excesses of Israel as a cruel, fascist occupier, or in the very least, the USS Liberty perfidy in 1967. Now what a humiliation that was and the humiliator, Israel from that point on, knew it had the USA in a vice like grip on their vitals.

          Downhill since then with glaring examples of the power of money and a careful analysis of the American businessman, always willing to make a profit, patriotic considerations disregarded, rules to maintain the level of American media sovereignty not considered. So the finance institutions fell to the influences of Rothschilds; the media got gobbled up for yet another profit; Zionists now controlling 90% of US media, able to be totally manipulated by Israel or its stooges, itself the receiver of billions of dollars in US aid. Thank you, US taxpayer. There may not be the health plans in place, education may be becoming unaffordable, but Israel receives billions from US taxes. Yes, that’s US taxpayers.

          Now there is something wrong there.

          Nothing since has reflected anything other than that. The closest was JFK and his efforts to try and subject Israel to nuclear controls, and we all know what happened there. Never resolved. No need to ask why. Just check out all the dual-passported senior public servants involved in that investigation, the same in the areas of law and justice. They have done their homework and understand the American character well. In fact as they have said, “We own America”, and they do. Just one Jewish person in 53 Americans but they “own America”. Makes one proud. Like all empires in the past, eroded from within. Tolerated too. In fact encouraged. The two houses of government, corrupt, totally corrupt.

          Same situation with 9/11. Follow the money, the beneficiaries.

          I have personally never seen the US do anything since those days that could be regarded as of benefit to the world. Then when the people allowed those same Israeli public servants, all fully paid up members of the Israeli Fifth Column, AIPAC, under the Bush mismanagement regime, create the Patriot Act thereby eroding forever the US Constitution, I saw it as never able ever to recover its position of strength from then on. Nothing has changed.

          Right now, it has no credibility, every utterances from anyone in government being viewed by the now jaundiced American public as questionable and more than likely a lie, around the world as well.

          Respected no more.

    • TruthTime
      June 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      The 51 State Department bozos should be arrested immediately and thrown in prison.

  18. TheSkepticalCynic
    June 22, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Illegal! schmegal! Do you think these slugs give a $h!7! When in the course pf the history this nation did its leaders ever, I MEAN FARGGIN EVAH, give a $h!7 whether whatever action the elites wanted to take was legal, let alone moral. NEVER EVAH! Not in over two hundred years! Come on, Cohn, provide the names of these evil psychopaths, if you dare!

    • Zachary Smith
      June 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Illegal! schmegal! Do you think these slugs give a $h!7!

      My thoughts exactly.

  19. TheSkepticalCynic
    June 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Illegal! schmegal! Do you think these slugs give a $h!7! When in the course pf the history this nation did its leaders ever, I MEAN FARGGIN EVAH, give a $h!7 whether whatever action the elites wanted to take was legal,let alone moral. NEVER EVAH! not in over two hundredCome on, Cohn, provide the names of these evil psychopaths, if you dare!

    • voxpax
      June 23, 2016 at 3:52 am

      The US of A gression is illegal….so what to expect from it

  20. Nancy
    June 22, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    These articles are very informative. Yet, most articles point to continued disaster with Clinton or Trump as POTUS. I’m guessing we will implode soon. Bernie Or Bust! No one else has any integrity.

    • André
      June 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Sorry, but your friend Bernie thinks that Assad in power might be a good thing. He is just as bad as Trump in this respect (but not others), and much worse than Obama, who at least provides some support to the moderate rebels.
      However, Clinton has a clear understanding of the issues. She advocated support for rebuilding Libya (after generations of neglect by Gaddafi), but her views – and those of many other advisers – were ignored by the Obama administration. Similarly, she and other advisers advocated stronger support for the pro-democratic moderate rebels. Had her views been heeded, the moderate rebels would probably be in Damascus already, Russia have never dared enter on the side of Assad, and even ISIS probably would not have been able to entrench itself in Syria.
      Do you realize that Obama’s refusal to honour a promise to fournish moderate rebels in southern Syria with bullets allowed Assad to make considerable gains in southern Syria in 2013, as well as in the suburbs of Damascus, from which the rebels have now largely but not fully recovered. Why ? Assad was in the process of losing, and Obama preferred a negotiated settlement between equally strong forces. Had Assad been unable to make these gains, he (or an important part of his forces) would probably have been forced to negotiate his rendition, and over 300,000 syrian lives would have been saved.

      BTW, the Free Syrian Army Southern Front, which controls most of the population south of Damascus, is the only major rebel controled area which provides gov’t services without coercion against the local population. In most other rebel controled areas, the Assad regime has succeeded in so disrupting the population with bombing that the normal provision of services is almost impossible. What little provided is often by extremist groups with coercive agendas. Currently Russia is doing a major part of the bombing. The south is luckier in that respect.

      Despite the damage by the negligence of the Obama administration, Clinton in power is likely to considerably reduce the length of the war. With her the moderate pro-democratic rebels are likely to prevail. No chance of that under Obama.

      Not from the US, but Sanders as vice-president might be an interesting scenario. Clinton for competent foreign policy. Sanders reinforcing domestic policy.

  21. Meriem Kheira Peillet
    June 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    You wrote: “Under the War Powers Resolution (WPR), the President can introduce U.S. troops into hostilities, or into situations “where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,” only (1) after a Congressional declaration of war, (2) with “specific statutory authorization,” or (3) in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”
    So, what about Irak and Libia?
    Can you enlighten me?

    • W. R. Knight
      June 22, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      Yeah. They were illegal.

    • André
      June 24, 2016 at 4:52 pm

      Libya was supported by a UN security council resolution, so without ambiguity legal. The problem there was that the construction of the new military & new democracy in Libya was not supported, by the UN or other outside democratic powers. So the gov’t depended on various militias with conflicting interests, and had no guidance in establishing the democratic process.
      In contrast, Tunisia had an intact neutral military which followed elected officials, and a lot of informal guidance for the democratic process, which resulted in a religiously neutral constitution, supported by even the pro-Islamic party.

      Iraq was also technically legal, but the UN support was obtained by false claims. However Iraq under Saddam was in constant violation of UN resolutions, which asked the US & UK to survey Iraq’s compliance. Eventually, without false claims, intervention was likely to be authorized. If, in Iraq after the invasion, the US & UK (or the UN) had acted to enforce the democratic process & rebuild a military which respected human rights, there would have been much less chaos, if any. Also it would have been much less expensive in the long run. But the US chose occupation, greatly delayed rebuilding the military, and preferred sectarian over inclusive gov’t, which helped the rise of pseudo-sunni extremists.

      Note that NATO action in the former Yugoslavia was not initially sanctioned by the UN, but was based on human rights enshrined by the UN. This is one example of an action that is legal by intl law, despite nominally violating the procedure of the UN. These sort of exceptions have always existed, even long before WW1.
      They could be applied in Syria, where the Assad regime is in constant gross violation of UN security council resolutions and the UN charter. If actions were targeting offensive capacities that take human lives (such as aircraft used for fragmentation bombing), there could be considerable decreases in civilian losses and radicalization of syrians, as well as shortening the war.

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