Trump’s Syria Attack Trampled Many Laws

Exclusive: As the U.S. mainstream media hails President Trump’s missile strike on Syria, there has been almost no attention to either the truth about its justification or the myriad of laws violated in its execution, writes Marjorie Cohn.

By Marjorie Cohn

With 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, each armed with over 1,000 pounds of explosives, Donald Trump went from scoundrel-in-chief to national hero, virtually overnight. The corporate media, the neoconservatives and most of Congress hailed Trump as strong and presidential for lobbing bombs into Syria, reportedly killing seven civilians and wounding nine.

Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, meets with members of the coalition at a forward operating base near Qayyarah West, Iraq, April 4, 2017. (DoD Photo by Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

“The instant elevation of Trump into a serious and respected war leader was palpable,” wrote Glenn Greenwald. This sends Trump a frightening message: bombing makes you popular.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. The use of chemical weapons is illegal, immoral and intolerable. If it was an intentional attack, it constitutes a war crime. Anyone responsible for the horrific April 4 events in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed over 80 people, including at least 20 women and 30 children, should be brought to justice. But Trump’s bombing of Syria, a sovereign nation, was illegal, under both U.S. and international law.

Trump and the prevailing U.S. national discourse rushed to judgment about who was responsible for the chemical attack – the Syrian government. An investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, was ongoing when Trump launched his missiles into Syria two days after the incident. The OPCW’s Fact-Finding Mission was already “in the process of gathering and analysing information from all available sources.”

As former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter pointed out, “chemical attacks had been occurring inside Syria on a regular basis . . . with some being attributed to the Syrian government (something the Syrian government vehemently denies), and the majority being attributed to the anti-regime fighters, in particular those affiliated with Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate.”

The Assad government has denied responsibility for the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack, and some U.S. experts are also skeptical of the Trump administration’s supposed certainty that the Syrian military was responsible.

Philip Giraldi, former CIA officer and director of the Council for the National Interest, stated on the Scott Horton show that “military and intelligence personnel” in the Middle East, who are “intimately familiar” with the intelligence, call the allegation that Assad or Russia carried out the attack a “sham.”

Giraldi said the intelligence confirms the Russian account, “which is that they [attacking aircraft] hit a warehouse where al-Qaeda rebels were storing chemicals of their own and it basically caused an explosion that resulted in the casualties.” Moreover, Giraldi noted, “Assad had no motive for doing this.”

Journalist Robert Parry concurs: “Assad’s military had gained a decisive advantage over the rebels and he had just scored a major diplomatic victory with the Trump administration’s announcement that the U.S. was no longer seeking ‘regime change’ in Syria. The savvy Assad would know that a chemical weapon attack now would likely result in U.S. retaliation and jeopardize the gains that his military had achieved with Russian and Iranian help.”

Regardless of who is responsible for the Khan Sheikhoun chemical deaths, however, Trump’s response violated both U.S. and international law.

Trump’s Missile Attack Was Illegal

Two days after Trump’s bombing occurred, the President sent a letter to congressional leaders informing them of his attack on Syria. The War Powers Resolution, passed in the wake of the Vietnam War, requires that the President report to Congress within 60 days of initiating the use of military force.

The guided-missile destroyer USS Porter conducts strike operations while in the Mediterranean Sea, April 7, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ford Williams)

The resolution, however, allows the President to introduce U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities in only three situations: First, after Congress has declared war, which has not happened in this case; second, in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces,” which has not occurred; third, when there is “specific statutory authorization,” which there is not.

The 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorized the President to use force only against those groups and countries that had supported the 9/11 attacks. The bombing in Syria was not authorized by any other act of Congress. Thus, Trump’s missile attack violated the War Powers Resolution. 

Regarding international law, the United Nations Charter prohibits the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” There are only two exceptions: when conducted in self-defense after an armed attack, or with the approval of the Security Council.

Syria had not attacked the United States or any other country before Trump ordered the missile strike. “The use of chemical weapons within Syria is not an armed attack on the United States,” said Notre Dame law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell. And the Security Council had not approved Trump’s attack. It therefore violated the Charter. In fact, under the U.N. Charter, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would have a valid self-defense claim since the U.S. initiated an armed attack on Syria.

So, Trump committed an illegal act of aggression against Syria when he lobbed his missiles. According to U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3314, an “act of aggression” is the use of armed force by a state against the sovereignty, territorial integrity, or political independence of another state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Charter. As stated above, Trump’s attack constituted an unlawful use of force under the Charter.

Moreover, treaties the United States has ratified, including the Charter, are part of domestic U.S. law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. That means a violation of the Charter also violates U.S. law.

Marines fast-rope out of an SH-60 Seahawk during an exercise on the USS Bataan at sea, March 29, 2017. The Bataan is supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the 5th Fleet area of operation. (Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Brianna Gaudi)

In his report to Congress, Trump wrote that he directed the attack to avert “a worsening of the region’s current humanitarian crisis.” So-called “humanitarian intervention” is not a settled norm of international law. As stated above, to be lawful, military force can only be conducted in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council. Neither was present in this case.

Trump’s humanitarian claim also does not pass the straight face test, in light of his Muslim Ban excluding all Syrian refugees from entry into the United States (halted by the courts, for now). Since the conflict in Syria began in 2011, more than 400,000 Syrians have been killed. Five million people are refugees. If Trump were indeed motivated by humanitarian concerns, Trump would embrace those seeking to escape the carnage in Syria, which he has emphatically not done.

The 1980 Refugee Act grants the President authority to determine how many refugees may be admitted to the United States. The President must consider whether “the admission of certain refugees in response to the emergency refugee situation is justified by grave humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest.”

When, during the presidential campaign, Trump said he wanted to ban all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., he was asked if he could then “look children aged five, eight, ten, in the face and tell them they can’t go to school here.” Without skipping a beat, Trump replied, “I can look in their faces and say, ‘You can’t come’. I’ll look them in the face.” Spoken like a true humanitarian.

Trump’s new-found humanitarian concerns, including his lament about the terrible fate of Khan Sheikhoun’s “small children and even beautiful little babies,” also stand in contrast to the horrific death toll from other U.S.-allied bombings in recent weeks. The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria killed nearly 1,000 non-combatants in March alone, “a record claim,” according to Airwars.org, a non-profit organization that monitors civilian casualties from airstrikes in the Middle East. “These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria,” the group said.

The coalition forces’ use of white phosphorous, a chemical weapon that burns to the bone, has been documented in Mosul, Iraq. And the U.S. Central Command confirmed that it has used depleted uranium, arguably a war crime, against ISIS in Syria.

Encouraging Trump to Use Military Force

Trump is obsessed with being liked. So, smarting from the healthcare loss and attacked by the media, the GOP’s right-wing and Democrats, Trump turned the tables. Now that he’s become Bomber-in-Chief, Trump is liked by nearly everybody – or so it seems. And what lesson will he learn from his missile attack? That being a strong, forceful leader makes people like you. And blowing things up makes you a “strong, forceful leader.”

Marine Corps Cpl. Justin Morrall prepares for night stalking during Korea Marine Exercise Program 17-6 near Camp Mujuk, Pohang, South Korea, March 30, 2017. (Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Ally Beiswanger)

Members of the Trump administration are sending mixed signals about whether they seek to forcibly change the Assad regime in Syria. That would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States has also ratified.

During the U.N. Security Council meeting following Trump’s missile attack, the ambassador from Bolivia declared, “The United States has not only unilaterally attacked . . . [it] has become that investigator, has become the prosecutor, has become the judge, has become the jury. Whereas the investigation would have allowed us to establish in an objective manner who is responsible for the attacks, this is an extreme violation of international law.”

Trump’s missile attack also has put a dangerous strain on U.S. relations with nuclear-armed Russia, which supports the Assad regime in the conflict with various opposition groups, including Al Qaeda’s affiliate and its spinoff, Islamic State or ISIS.

Following the April 6 missile strike, Russia suspended a memorandum of understanding designed to minimize collisions between U.S. and Russian aircraft over Syrian airspace. A statement issued by Russia, Iran and Assad’s forces said, “What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well.”

With his missile attack, Trump has made the world a much more dangerous place. “Make no mistake,” Norman Solomon wrote. “With 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons at the ready in the United States and Russia, pushing to heighten tensions between the two countries is playing with thermonuclear fire.”

Where Will Trump Bomb Next?

Meanwhile, Trump is taking provocative measures against nuclear-armed North Korea, deploying an aircraft carrier and several warships to the Korean Peninsula. Trump’s show of force is a response to North Korea’s recent ballistic missile test.

The aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson travels in the South China Sea, April 8, 2017. (Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Matt Brown)

The Trump administration has indicated it may use pre-emptive strikes to prevent North Korea from developing a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to the United States. Pre-emptive strikes violate the U.N. Charter, which specifies several non-forceful measures, including diplomacy, to maintain or restore international peace and security. But diplomacy doesn’t seem to be in Trump’s toolkit.

North Korea warned of “catastrophic consequences of [the United States’] outrageous actions.” Pyongyang said, “We will take the toughest counteraction against the provocateurs in order to defend ourselves by powerful force of arms.” A foreign ministry spokesman said North Korea “is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the US.”

When Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” he cited the U.S. strike on Syria as a not-so-veiled warning to North Korea: “The message that any nation can take is if you violate international norms, if you violate international agreements, if you fail to live up to commitments, if you become a threat to others, at some point, a response is likely to be undertaken.”

By logical extension, Trump’s missile attack on Syria makes the United States vulnerable to retaliation from other countries that see the U.S. violating international law and committing acts of aggression.

What can be done to stop the Trump administration’s illegal use of military force in Syria and its dangerous provocation of Russia and North Korea?

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, suggests doing things that will be “positive for the Syrian people.” She advocates immediately lifting the ban on Syrian refugees, providing the U.N. with its requested $5 billion to deal with the humanitarian crisis, and demanding that the Trump administration work with Russia toward a ceasefire and a political solution.

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues. Visit her website at http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/marjoriecohn.

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62 comments for “Trump’s Syria Attack Trampled Many Laws

  1. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    North Korea said it was “ready for war” and warned of “catastrophic consequences” on Tuesday, just days after the U.S. sent a navy strike group to the western Pacific Ocean off the Korean peninsula.

    Let’s hope Trumpie doesn’t think ordering missile strikes is always a cheap way to score points with his detractors and his supporters. Kim Jong Un is in a better position to powerfully retaliate than Assad. An escalation in that theater could trigger nuclear war very easily. The rich fat boy (and the rest of us unfortunately) might find out what prey do when backed into a corner….

    • john wilson
      April 12, 2017 at 5:06 am

      Yes Mike and don’t for get the distance between the South and the North is just a few hundred yards long at the border where there are many US troops stationed. South Korea needs to be telling Trump to back off now because it is they who will most certainly take the brunt of ant US attack on the North.

      • SteveK9
        April 12, 2017 at 8:19 pm

        North Korea has for decades stated that in the event of an attack, they will turn Seoul into a ‘sea of fire’. One can only hope the S. Korean government is doing all it can to prevent an attack from the US.

  2. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Now we are finding out the real cost of electing this capitalist idiot to the presidency. We have the whole sick government, media, supreme court, intel agencies, and military to thank for the mess we have put the entire world in now. Oh, and I forgot to mention the idiot segment of the US population, which is huge. Thanks guys for making America great – a great big idiot , that is.

    • April 11, 2017 at 7:53 pm

      Trumps actions are totally congruent with every preceding USA Terrorist In Chief.

      • backwardsevolution
        April 12, 2017 at 4:49 am

        BannanaBoat – yeah, it’s not like he has anybody else to look up to! “Gee, I think I’ll emulate Obama. No, I can’t do that. How about Bush? No, not him either. I know, Clinton. Nope. How about Bush Sr.? No, he was a warmonger too. Okay, Reagan then? No, not even him. And I keep being told, ‘Mr. President, this is the way things are done here. If you don’t practice what others have before you, then we’ll call you a traitor!'”

        Trump just said that he won’t send boots on the ground in Syria. Let’s hope that he holds to that.

        The longer Trump is around these idiots who are trying to push him into war, sees where they’re coming from, and the more he resists them, the stronger he will get.

        • Adrian Engler
          April 12, 2017 at 6:40 am

          Well, as far as I know, Trump already has sent US boots on the ground in Syria, some in the North in Kurdish area (the aim is to capture Raqqa and to prevent it to return under government control after ISIS has been defeated there) and some in the South, they have just crossed the Jordanian-Syrian border recently.

          I doubt that Hillary Clinton would have been better – after all, she was supported by neocons and openly proclaimed aggressive neocon positions -, but it already seems likely that Donald Trump is significantly worse than Barack Obama who was far from being a principled opponent of neocons, but sometimes did not give in to them.

          • backwardsevolution
            April 12, 2017 at 8:47 am

            Adrian – yes, I know the U.S. are in Syria. They’ve been in there all along. But if Trump is adding more troops (which he said today he is not going to do), then he is an absolute fool. He needs to get the hell out of Syria and Iraq and Yemen.

          • April 12, 2017 at 9:50 am

            We know from a wikileaks that H knew Saudi and Qatar Governments are financing Daesh, besides the USA injected terrorists. Yet H sold largest arms package in world history to Saudis. The USA has Syria on its neocon chopping block list as related by General Wesley Clarke (along with libya, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Lebanon,). One commentor stated massive Wesern armanment shipments from Romania to Lebanon and Jordan. The USA is the prime reason for the Syrian War. O was blocked from missle strikes by Congress, USAcitizens and British Parliment. Keep in mind the USA has been Bombing Syria for years and even broke a major Truce by bombing Syrian soldiers ( its been stated that Russians were also killed and a western intel center was bombed in retaliation). 500,000 deaths in Syria because of Western allies support of terrorism. We are correct in fearing an escalation by USA uniformed forces massive land invasion, WW3 is dependent on Putins ingenuity.

        • tabish
          April 12, 2017 at 8:19 am

          The matter of fact is that the trump administration like its predecessors will keep walking on the path which ultimately leads to destruction and chaos and like its predecessors will not mend their ways. I just read a very interesting and mind boggling article by Jacob Hornberger in which he reveals the truth that the US government particularly the CIA and NSA would never want a common American citizen to know… take a look at this article and u will see for yourself
          https://www.globalvillagespace.com/korean-crisis-another-chapter-of-the-cia-nsas-national-security-drama/

    • SteveK9
      April 12, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      The alternative was Hillary … there was faint hope for Trump (I’m clearly not the only one who thought so), none whatever with Clinton.

  3. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Back in the early seventies my wife and I spent a lot of energy in the anti-nuclear movement. What did I learn? Among other things, I learned that the American public is allergic to hearing about anything unpleasant. You get a whole new appreciation of what turning a deaf ear means by trying to talk to Americans about nuclear danger.

  4. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    I don’t think it is a mystery to anyone sharing on this site why the US has refused repeated offers from North Korea to sit down for peace talks. Shoot first and ask questions later is our proud way. Do as we say, or we we’ll kill you. How macho. Living up to our wild west fantasies.

  5. bobzz
    April 11, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    MSN news reported that Trump was responding, at least in part, to Ivanka’s reaction to the children’s suffering. I guess she concluded, in her wisdom, that Assad’s fighters did it. If true, it is fascinating that Ivanka can help set war policy.

    • mike k
      April 11, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Trump’s crocodile tears were just a phony manipulation. His pretense of compassion makes me sick.

    • Raven
      April 12, 2017 at 2:42 am

      In all fairness, Ivanka Trump did not herself need to come up with the conclusion “that Assad’s fighters did it” [the sarin gas attack]: US military radar surveillance had observed the Syrian jets leaving the Shayrat air base then conducting that strike in Idlib Province*; this information probably was provided to her as well as to her father.

      * (E.g. ABC News April 7)

      • Adrian Engler
        April 12, 2017 at 6:50 am

        The problem with this is that it is not disputed, at all, that there were airstrikes on Khan Sheikhun (an area in which the Al Qaeda group and its allies are active) at that time. This US military radar surveillance only confirms what also the Syrian army and the Russians agree with.

        However, no evidence, at all, has been presented that the gas came from these airplanes. That is certainly one of the possibilities, but there are other possibilities (e.g. that a chemical weapons stockpiles was hit accidentally or that terrorist groups released gas on purpose for getting support from the United States), as well, and without an investigation, it makes no sense to make claims about who is responsible.

        Some people seem to have the idea that airplanes are indispensable for attacks with chemical weapons, but, for instance, in WWI, chemical weapons were generally not used from airplanes (airplane technology was in an early stage at that time).

        • Raven
          April 16, 2017 at 1:47 am

          @ Adrian: Possibilities vs plausibilities vs probabilities…. When Assad is known to have had chemical weapons (though he was supposed to have surrendered them all for destruction), and unlike in WWI his current airplane technology is perfectly capable of delivering it to targets, and we know from radar surveillance that his jets from that Shayrat air base conducted that attack concurrent with the gas deaths, are we expected to believe those concurrent gas deaths were coincidental or accidental? Wouldn’t a conventional bombing attack have been heavier precisely in order to cause more deaths and damage by conventional explosives, while the light conventional damage showed greater reliance on gas effects?

          When a man fires a pistol and his target falls back with a projectile going through him, yes, it’s just barely conceivable (theoretically “possible”) the shooter fired a blank and the target was coincidentally hit by a meteorite at that exact same moment — but the odds are overwhelmingly against it: it’s improbable to the point of being implausible.

      • bobzz
        April 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm

        You at least had a source, which is good, but ABC is like the rest of the main stream media, which I call Propaganda Inc.

        • Raven
          April 16, 2017 at 1:55 am

          @ bobzz — When we’re discussing talking points like #Syriahoax that have come from Russian propaganda sources and been taken up by the alt-right, no, for all their many flaws the US mainstream media (I do not include Fox) do a better job than that of sorting lies from fact.

  6. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    When I learned Reagan loved western novels, I thought, “Oh boy, now we are in for it!”

  7. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Trump is a living definition of fake, phony, ersatz, and bogus.

  8. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    For this monster to pretend to compassion…..????? It’s just to #&!*’n much to swallow!

  9. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    That this monster Donald Trump pretends to be compassionate????? It’s just too #@&^’ing much !

  10. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    They asked that I rewrite it, so I did. Then they printed both versions. Go figure….

  11. mike k
    April 11, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    I’ll shut up now for a while. Guess I just needed to vent. The pressure gets to me sometimes….

    • Monte George Jr.
      April 11, 2017 at 9:58 pm

      Yes, please do. Thanks.

  12. Tom Welsh
    April 11, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    “Anyone responsible for the horrific April 4 events in the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, which killed over 80 people, including at least 20 women and 30 children, should be brought to justice”.

    That would be the terrorists. The terrorists who kill soldiers, civilians, journalists and especially Westerners. The terrorists who crucify Christians, burn captured aviators alive, drown people wholesale in swimming pools, cut out and eat their victims’ hearts.. and who, believe it or not, kill helpless people with poison gas and then lie about it.

    That’s why they are called “terrorists”.

    • bobzz
      April 11, 2017 at 9:25 pm

      Well, Tom, the West created the terrorists. The British, French and Italians carved up the ME after WWI. The US got involved when the Brits waved the communist label at Mossedgh (sp) in Iran. We set up the Shah to keep his people in line so we could have the oil or most of it. That is why the Iranians occupied the US embassy. Ron Paul tried to educate Republicans about the overthrow and Guilliani told him that was the dumbest thing he ever heard. “I was there!” He had no idea what Paul said. Republicans gave Guilliani the loudest applause in the debate that night. Then we told Sadam to go after the Iranians. Reagan ran the Iran Contra scandal to get money for the Contras. We allowed Israel to pulverize Palestinians in Lebanon, etc., etc. We allow Israel to pulverize Palestinians in Israel. 9/11 occurred because of our meddlng in the ME. Look, we all agree that the savagery of the head choppers is over the top, but that is the only weapon they have. We can’t kill millions with cluster bombs and napalm like we can. Muslims were quiet for centuries before the West messed them up. They are fighting for their homeland. Most know Americans know little about history; I am certainly no expert. And most who have it made cannot walk in anyone else’s shoes to see, or try to see, what makes ’em tick.

      • bobzz
        April 11, 2017 at 9:27 pm

        We can’t kill millions with cluster bombs and napalm like we can. That should be THEY cannot kill millions like we can.

      • backwardsevolution
        April 12, 2017 at 5:29 am

        bobzz – “9/11 occurred because of our meddlng in the ME.” Many people think 9/11 occurred as a false flag in order to get the American people behind the meddling in the ME.

        “They are fighting for their homeland.” They are being funded by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, armed and trained by Israel and the U.S. They are being used to rearrange the Middle East according to the wishes of the West.

        It’s all part of the plan to take out 7 countries in 5 years. General Wesley Clark speaks about it here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUCwCgthp_E

        Some think it has to do with this:

        http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

        But it’s really anyone’s guess what the real motivation is.

    • Kiza
      April 12, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Very naive Tom, both the poison gas attack and the retaliation are most likely the Western show, the Western supported terrorists are just stage actors. In this sense, the West of course includes its master Israel.

  13. April 11, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    mike k, I enjoyed your rants, anyway. I do agree with you that Americans are “allergic to hearing anything unpleasant”. I read also that Trump the Chump responded to Ivanka’s crocodile tears, hinted by Eric Trump. I think if Clinton had won we would still have another version of the war to remove Assad and there would be less opposition than to Trump’s war. McMaster may be the big push behind the fat billionaire now, he seems virulent.

    • mike k
      April 11, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Thanks Jessica. I try not to alienate people, but an outlier like me inevitably turns some folks off. I’ve learned to live with that. I’ve even learned to love my differences, some of them. People living in the cultural box often find me irritating. I understand that.

      • Joe Tedesky
        April 11, 2017 at 4:52 pm

        mike K when you speak the way you have today on this comment board, you are not turning anyone or most of us off. I like reading your comments, I can tell you are a sincere and caring person.

        If we have a president who when he sees his little princess cry, and then orders an attack on what is probably an innocent nation, no change that too an innocent nation, then you know our country has totally lost it.

        Remember we are the country who’s one time Secretary of State said, “what good is it to have a military of you are not going to use it?”. I wish Madam Madeline ‘all women should go to hell who don’t vote for Hillary’ would have made that remark to me. I would have responded with, ‘what good is having a State Department of Diplomats if we aren’t going to use them’.

        Brain Williams apparently gets off seeing missiles being fired from a U.S. Navy warship. I think if the lying news anchor gets so excited over such things as that, then he should be automatically drafted and shipped out for front line active duty. Why I was in the Navy and didn’t come across that kind of idiot, well maybe a couple of idiots, but really what kind of person would celebrate a Tomahawk missile launch which is probably going to kill some human beings, and declare how ‘beautiful’ it is upon seeing such a thing.

        Meanwhile our country has airline companies beating up and dragging customers off of planes. A healthcare system which is anything but inclusive. Drinking water this is not fit to drink. Roads and bridges crumbling right before our very eyes. People without work, and for those that do work between their low amount of scheduled hours, or low frozen pay checks without benefits, our forgotten society goes on to continue going down. And let’s not forget the only bright people left who protested for clean water rights over pumping dirty crude through man made pipes, as the Dakota Pipeline Access Native Americans become forgotten about. Michael Jackson has a song called ‘ They Don’t Care About Us’ I always liked it because of the drums, now I think it would make a perfect soundtrack for a documentary showing the plight of the American and the rest of the world’s people.

        • bobzz
          April 11, 2017 at 8:47 pm

          Joe, if I remember correctly, it was you who commented on the frustration of trying to educate your friends regarding the events of the day. I had the same experience before church Sunday trying to tell my friends about Syria and got nowhere. They pegged me as a conspiracy theorist. I expected it, but I love ’em and the try was worth it despite the failure.

          • Joe Tedesky
            April 11, 2017 at 11:34 pm

            You know bobzz it’s so out of hand that I’m seriously considering putting a ton of investment capital into Kaiser Aluminum stock. Yes I am the tinfoiled hat guy. The crazy but lovable grandpa who always has a different tune to sing when speaking out about current world affairs. Yet with all of that there are those who I believe are starting to come around. Like people like me who are in their sixties only need to be reminded about the Gulf of Tonkin, or Kuwaiti incubator babies that never were, or no WMD in Iraq. With those casual reminders they then take pause to remember.

            I will also warn you, that when you bring these past events up how at first the listener may need to be aided with some other remembrances of whatever that specific time period had going on. The problem is that time helps the memory glands go soft, so you may need to give some proof to whatever it is your promoting, and that’s where googling with an iPad might help your bringing back their aged memories to that aha moment.

            From time to time I like to do archive reading. Funny how this site’s articles and especially the comments have a good rating when it comes to getting it right. For instance back when the P5+1 conference was debating the lifting of the sanctions imposed upon Iran, on this site there were many of those who predicted a back stabbing U.S. Policy would finally emerge, while some of us went on to say how the U.S. would sanction itself into it’s own lonely corner….and that’s happening right now as we write on this comment board. I can only recommend that readers here do some back issue reading, and find out for yourselfs how not crazy we are…and oh bobzz you are there, and as always spot on with your sober and thought threw analogies of our geopolitical world’s condition.

            Always good to hear from you mr bobzz take care Joe

    • Bill Bodden
      April 11, 2017 at 4:42 pm

      I think if Clinton had won we would still have another version of the war to remove Assad

      There was a delay with Trump while the neocons maneuvered him to where they wanted him. Clinton and the neocons were already in sync and might very well have escalated the war by now.

    • Kiza
      April 12, 2017 at 7:03 am

      Yes, Jessica, as someone quipped: From Trump to Chump in one teary Jump.

  14. Steve
    April 11, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    The inmates are running the asylum.

    • mike k
      April 11, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      The managers of the asylum should commit themselves. The builders of our extensive prison gulag system should be forced to live in their creations. I have volunteered to go in prisons and help the guys in there. The guards give me the creeps.

  15. Bill Bodden
    April 11, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    With 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles, each armed with over 1,000 pounds of explosives, Donald Trump went from scoundrel-in-chief to national hero, virtually overnight.

    So, what does that say about the majority of the American people?

  16. Bill Bodden
    April 11, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    When, during the presidential campaign, Trump said he wanted to ban all Syrian refugees from entering the U.S., he was asked if he could then “look children aged five, eight, ten, in the face and tell them they can’t go to school here.” Without skipping a beat, Trump replied, “I can look in their faces and say, ‘You can’t come’. I’ll look them in the face.” Spoken like a true humanitarian.

    Can anyone trained in psychology explain what disease this person is suffering from?

  17. Martin - Swedish citizen
    April 11, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    There seems to be an abundance of breach of US and international law. Aren’t the violators being brought to justice?

  18. April 11, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    No, Bill, I have an undergrad in psych and cannot think of any other than Power Delusion Syndrome. The insanity caused by the US is freaking people out all over the world, to judge by comments I read today on various websites. I have been waking up many times during the night and then have to get up about 3 or 4 am after giving up on sleep. The article here discusses international law, which the criminal US government does not believe applies to them. And mike k’s point is so true, Americans live in La-La Land. I have been appealing to the Light Beings from Deep Space to come aid us, as well as calling the insane government puppets on the phone, for what that’s worth.

    • mike k
      April 11, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      Jessica, I am also going through some of the problems you mention. Fitful sleep, obsessing over what can I do to help stop this madness, praying from desperation. One thing that helps me is the serenity prayer.

      God help me to accept the things I cannot change,
      The courage to change the things I can,
      And the wisdom to know the difference.

      I think it is important that we have strong emotions with regard to these troubled times, and not repress them. They are a sign that we really care, and that is valuable. Those who do not feel disturbed by the things going on now, are probably too asleep or voluntarily ignorant to have any concern for our world and all it’s suffering people. But sometimes I have tended to put the world on my shoulders, and that can get pretty uncomfortable. Even Atlas reached his limit doing that!

      Another move I learned in AA was to let go and let God. If one did not believe in “God” one can always shift one’s burdens to historic forces, or nature, or something perhaps more potent than one’s unaided self. I hope my thoughts on this help. This is a tough affair to deal with.

      • backwardsevolution
        April 12, 2017 at 5:41 am

        mike k – letting go is one of the best pieces of advice – ever. It’s always when we hold on to things too tightly, become too attached, try to control them, that we get in trouble. I know, I’ve done that! Take care.

  19. pft
    April 11, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Excellent article. Right on all points

  20. Loup-Bouc
    April 11, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    Marjorie Cohn has proven herself an abysmally poor lawyer with her several recent articles opposing sundry actions of Trump and his administration. So, her most recent piece — “Trump’s Syria Attack Trampled Many Laws” — cannot expect to receive the credit of the community of constitutional and international-law lawyers and scholars. Such is rather sad, because her most recent essay’s core perception is valid — the perception that Trump’s Syria bombing was unlawful.

    The bombing was a war of aggression (despite its brevity, because war is an act, not a duration). A war of aggression is the WORST war crime — per the UN Charter, of which the U.S. is a signatory.

    Also, Trump violated the U.S. War Powers Act and the Separation of Powers Doctrine.

    True: G.W. Bush obtained from Congress an abdication of Congress’s exclusive war declaration prerogative. But that abdication applied only to treatment of SUPPOSED sources of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Syria, and Assad, were not involved in the 9/11 attacks.

    Until Trump bombed Syria after displacing Bannon, I tried to support Trump — insofar as his policies and actions had been proper, rational, utile, and lawful (despite wild criticisms of crazy-left writers like Ms. Cohn). But the bombing altered my view of Trump, irreversibly, toward the negative. And, a few days ago, I published a reasoned announcement that I would campaign for Trump’s being impeached and removed from office.

    But Marjorie Cohn’s article makes mishmash of the problems of Trump’s Syria bombing and the events that explain it and that bode ill for the future of the Middle East and U.S. Public Welfare and U.S./Russia relations.

    Consortium News is the best news source remaining in U.S. journalism. I regret that Consortium News publishes Ms. Cohn’s rabid radical-left tripe.

    • backwardsevolution
      April 12, 2017 at 6:36 am

      Loup-Bouc – “The bombing was a war of aggression (despite its brevity, because war is an act, not a duration). A war of aggression is the WORST war crime — per the UN Charter, of which the U.S. is a signatory.”

      Aren’t you being selective? I don’t remember the U.S. even being invited into Syria, and yet they’re there. They’re frigging everywhere. They’re the very definition of “aggression”. Overthrows, coups, assassinations, sanctions – murdering millions.

      The U.S. is a rogue state, the world bully. Whenever it feels like taking someone out, it does, U.S. or U.N. laws be damned. Laws are being broken on a daily basis.

      I agree that Trump’s bombing was a war of aggression, and I too was very upset over this, but add what he did to the thousands of other aggressions already committed. What, you want to start counting now? Just with what Trump did? It looked colorful, but really added up to nothing in comparison to what’s already been done. He didn’t even hit their air strip and warned them ahead of time.

      The Rule of Law is no more. Hasn’t been for a long time. The time for impeaching was decades ago. Had a proper investigation (and not a circus) been done re JFK, and those responsible brought to justice, things might have been a lot different. Didn’t happen.

      • Kiza
        April 12, 2017 at 7:12 am

        Great comment, great points, but I also agree with Loup-Bouc. I did not get the impression that he/she was excusing the previous US presidents, just focusing on current trouble.

      • Skip Scott
        April 12, 2017 at 7:56 am

        Article VI of the Constitution:
        This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

        Every President and General who violated the UN charter or the Geneva Conventions should be prosecuted in our own Federal Courts. The rule of law is dead.

  21. backwardsevolution
    April 12, 2017 at 6:08 am

    “Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, suggests doing things that will be “positive for the Syrian people.” She advocates immediately lifting the ban on Syrian refugees, providing the U.N. with its requested $5 billion to deal with the humanitarian crisis, and demanding that the Trump administration work with Russia toward a ceasefire and a political solution.”

    The refugees would be much better served if the war was ended so they could go back home. Instead of trying to get the ban lifted, CodePink should concentrate on stopping the source of ISIS funding (Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States) and the countries who are arming and training ISIS (Jordan, Israel, U.S., U.K., France, etc.)

    This is a “manufactured” war, planned and orchestrated by the West. What good does it do to put Band-aids on the problem? If that’s all that’s done, then refugees will continue to pour into the U.S. from whatever country it’s currently trying to covertly overthrow. Let’s concentrate on the cause, not the effects. Bringing in refugees just gets the American people angry, which is what the Deep State wants. Kind of like a mini-9/11, hopefully forcing Americans to finally say, “Go in there and take Assad out!” That’s what they want, for the people to get angry.

    CodePink should keep it simple. It needs one line: STOP ALL WARS AND MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

  22. April 12, 2017 at 6:22 am

    Honestly, removing Trump is not a solution. Pence would ratchet up the plan, in the name of God, he’s with the neocons and a theocrat like Cruz, believes he first answers to God and then to the Constitution. It’s the whole bloody lot running this imperialist nation, the greatest threat to world peace is now the reputation of the US. The US has left the world in pieces.

    • backwardsevolution
      April 12, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Jessica K – you’re right, removing Trump is not a solution. But he had better start growing a pair real soon and stop listening to all of the chatter out there. That’s what is getting him in trouble. You can’t lead when you’re being torn in every which direction and trying to please everybody. It’s impossible.

      What he initially wanted (to stop the wars) was the right move, and he needs to stick to that. That’s one of the reasons people voted for him. He must not deviate from that.

      I think he’s going to get there, but it might take him a while longer to get up to speed on foreign policy (he needs to be reading us, right, Jessica?), and to recognize all of the players who are trying to stab him in the back. Once he begins to understand the chessboard, recognize all the players and their motives, he won’t need others to rely on and can lead from a position of strength. At present, he’s just groping. Not a good position to be in.

      Hopefully (fingers crossed).

    • Adrian Engler
      April 12, 2017 at 6:58 am

      I agree. Both Mike Pence and Hillary Clinton were already on board with the aggressive neocon ideology while Trump resisted it to some degree during the campaign.

      Of course, Trump should be resisted for breaking his promises, but replacing him with a more consistent neocon will hardly solve the problem.

      I hope that within the Democrats, the corporatist warmongers who are very unpopular will lose and saner people will prevail in the elections to Congress in 2018 and 2020 and in the presidential elections in 2020. It may be unrealistic, but I would hope that in 2020, Trump’s successor will be Tulsi Gabbard.

  23. Liam
    April 12, 2017 at 7:28 am

    If Trump really cares about babies so much, maybe he can ask John McCain why’s he financing the head chopping White Helmet terrorists that actually conducted the false flag attack. https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/04/10/false-flagger-al-nusra-front-terrorist-reporter-hadi-abdallah-first-responder-to-chemical-massacre-in-idlib-syria-on-april-4th-2017/

    False Flagger: Al-Nusra Front Terrorist ‘Reporter’ Hadi Abdallah First Responder to Chemical Massacre in Idlib, Syria on April 4th, 2017

  24. kathy
    April 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    what are they going to do with Donald trump he shouldn’t been no president I pray their be no war from other country another Watergate he can’t handle his business do he have any feeling for human being at all he going to get old one day I hope someone be there for him let all pray for others

  25. April 12, 2017 at 5:41 pm

    backwardsevolution, for some reason I missed your post on CodePink Medea Benjamin. I thought the same thing, ending the war is the only solution, the Syrian people want to go home. Andre Vltchek had a good article on Counterpunch on a Lebanese woman who loves the Syrian people, and she said they are resilient despite the horrible war. She spends a lot of time there, said Syrians are educated, very involved with their own culture. Syria also has a lot of Palestinian refugees and are very supported by Assad.

    Also today there was a report Seymour Hersh states that Clinton as SoS sold Libya’s chemical gas weapons to terrorists in Syria through Turkey. Will we be hearing about that through MSM?

    • Raven
      April 24, 2017 at 2:25 pm

      Seymour Hersh made that claim in December 2013. I’ve seen many (pro-Assad, i.e. Russian, right-wing, and alt-right) websites repeating it, but note: I’ve seen no independent confirmation. Some versions say the sale went through Saudi Arabia rather than Turkey; I guess the point is you can smear the target of your choice with this tool.

      The MSM has had plenty of time to look over this story and make major headlines with it, as has Congress, which could have forced HRC to endure more Benghazi-type hearings on that pretext before the election: both declined the opportunity. You can figure as easily as I can that they would only do that if they realized the story wouldn’t bear such intense widespread public examination long enough to hurt her more than its collapse would hurt them.

  26. April 12, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I am reminded of that quote from Euripides, “Whom the gods would destroy they first drive mad”.

    • Raven
      April 24, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      I am reminded of that quote from Mark Shields, “The problem with smear campaigns is that too often they work.”

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