America’s Invasion of Syria

Will it finally end now?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at

The U.S. government has invaded and occupies Syria to overthrow its President, Bashar al-Assad and also to destroy ISIS, which is one of the jihadist organizations that are (like the U.S.) trying to defeat Syria’s government forces (Assad’s forces). The U.S. government has been supporting the ‘rebels’ (tens of thousands of imported foreign jihadists who aren’t ISIS but who are instead allied with or led by Al Qaeda) against the nation’s internationally recognized legal secular (non-religious) government.

The only two U.S. Senators who are at all disturbed that the U.S. has violated both U.S. law and international law by having our soldiers and weapons invade Syria, are the two libertarians, Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Even they — the Senate’s two libertarians — don’t care about America’s violation of international law by America’s invasion and occupation of Syria; even they care only about our government’s violation of the U.S. Constitution. Even they do not challenge America’s right to violate international law (which wasn’t even an issue in that Senate vote).

The other 98 U.S. Senators don’t object, at all, to the U.S. government’s invasion into, and occupation of, Syria; they don’t object to this government’s violation of international law, and they (the other 98) also don’t care about its violation of the U.S. Constitution.

If any progressive had been in the U.S. Senate, that person would have objected to both violations; a progressive is concerned about both; but, in the Senate’s votes on these matters, neither Bernie Sanders, nor Elizabeth Warren, nor Sherrod Brown (the Senate’s three supposed ‘progressives’), has joined with Paul and with Lee, even on the objections to the violation of the U.S. Constitution, much less have they extended such objections to include this government’s violation of international law regarding this invasion.

That’s how lawless our government actually is today: almost 100%.

This is therefore entirely a bipartisan issue: the outlaw nature of the U.S. government is almost 100% acceptable to the U.S. Senate, as regards this government’s violation of the U.S. Constitution, and is 100% acceptable to the U.S. Senate, as regards this government’s violation of international law.

And things have been that way both when the President was the Democrat Obama, and when the President is the Republican Trump. In this respect (as in so many others), it’s really the same regime in Washington: whichever Party is in power: it’s the regime of America’s oligarchs; that’s to say, of the U.S. aristocracy (the controlling U.S. stockholders in U.S.-based international corporations) who demand this — they demand these invasions: Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. — they’re virtually all neoconservatives. If you want to know the source of neoconservatism, it’s the aristocracy, the few people who mainly fund politics, not only directly by donating to politicians, but by buying newsmedia, donating to think tanks, etc., so as to promote their political positions and to provide employment to their agents who have retired from political office. The aristocracy own “the revolving door.”

Not only is the invasion and occupation of Syria illegal, but it is aggressive. The basic charge against the Nazis at the Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunals in 1945 was aggressive invasion, or invading a country that had not invaded one’s own country; and certainly the U.S. and its recent Presidents (top agents of U.S. aristocrats instead of German ones) would be in the prosecution-dock there today, if international law were being applied — which is unfortunately not done.

Moreover, in Syria, not only has the U.S. invaded and occupied the country, but the U.S. government demands the overthrow and replacement of that sovereign nation’s government — regime-change in Syria. Indeed, the main objection that the U.N. Secretary General has raised against the U.S. position is that only an internationally monitored democratic Presidential election should determine whom the next President of Syria should be, but the U.S. government has rejected that, and supported instead armed overthrow and imposed rule of the country.

The U.S. ‘news’media pay little attention to this matter; and, to the extent that they do pay attention to it, none call-out this renegade government, the U.S.; they instead claim such vagueries as that the U.S. does not “have clear authority under international law to attack Syria”, even when they do discuss this matter; and, in that statement, which appeared in the New York Times on April 7th, right after Trump had bombed Syria, facts are acknowledged which make quite clear that the use of the qualifier ‘clear’ there is actually profoundly misleading: The U.S. simply has no authority under international law to be in Syria. Here is the way that the NYT’s Charlie Savage summarized the situation:

The United Nations Charter, a treaty the United States has ratified, recognizes two justifications for using force on another country’s soil without its consent: the permission of the Security Council or a self-defense claim. In the case of Syria, the United Nations did not approve the strike, and the Defense Department justified it as “intended to deter the regime from using chemical weapons again,” which is not self-defense.

Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, in a briefing with reporters, invoked Syria’s violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and a related Security Council resolution from 2013, saying, “The use of prohibited chemical weapons, which violates a number of international norms and violates existing agreements, called for this type of a response, which is a kinetic military response.”

However, while the resolution said the Security Council would impose “measures” if anyone used chemical weapons in Syria in the future, it did not directly authorize force. The chemical weapons treaty does not provide an enforcement mechanism authorizing other parties to attack violators as punishment.

It’s amazing that he can hold his job and yet report such devastating and incontrovertible proof of the outlaw nature of the U.S. government, in terms of international law. All major U.S. ‘news’media are mouthpieces for the U.S. government whenever the issue is international relations (they were such mouthpieces regarding Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and much more, which is why the U.S. public accepts this U.S. government), and Mr. Savage was there saying something which violated that iron rule. He has reason to be personally worried, to have written the there, about that.

This NYT article enabled him to publish that stunning fact, in answering only the falsely qualified question which had been posed there, of “Did Trump have clear authority under international law to attack Syria?” and Mr. Savage might have gotten into really hot water if he had instead been answering the question posed as, “Did Trump have authority under international law to attack Syria?” Only thinking readers (perhaps that’s 1% of the Times’s audience) would recognize the subtle deception of their readership to believe that the U.S. President might have such authority, but that it’s merely not ‘clear’. Such deception is the way to lobotomize the public (99% of it, perhaps) into accepting their own fundamentally lawless government whenever it invades — as Americans supported, for example, the invasions of Iraq, and of Libya, and now of Syria.

Mr. Savage also dealt with the question (and here also will be the opening of his answer to it):

Did Trump have domestic legal authority to attack Syria?

The answer is murky because of a split between the apparent intent of the Constitution and how the country has been governed in practice. Most legal scholars agree that the founders wanted Congress to decide whether to go to war, except when the country is under an attack. But presidents of both parties have a long history of carrying out military operations without authorization from Congress, especially since the end of World War II.

His use there of ‘murky’ is similar to the prior question’s having introduced the deceptive (not to say unnecessary) term ‘clear’: The routine violation of the U.S. Constitution here isn’t murky, any more than the international illegality of America’s unprovoked invasions isn’t clear. But, perhaps that’s the way people such as Charlie Savage can keep their jobs, by playing along with the myth.

It’s the myth that enables this gangster-government (who are both international and U.S. gangsters) to remain in control over the U.S.

That government is now seeking from Congress the authorization for U.S. military forces to continue occupying Syria even after ISIS becomes eradicated there.

On July 13th, Al-Monitor headlined and opened:

Pentagon wants to build new US facilities in Iraq, Syria

The Donald Trump administration is pushing Congress for the authority to build new “temporary” facilities in Iraq and Syria as part of the US-led campaign against the Islamic State.


The Trump administration has asked Congress for the authority to build new “small-scale,” “temporary facilities” to help defeat the Islamic State. …

The term “temporary” is not defined.

What had happened is that the White House, on July 11th, posted this:

H.R. 2810 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018

July 11, 2017
(House Rules)


H.R. 2810 – National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018
(Rep. Thornberry, R-TX, and Rep. Smith, D-WA) …

… Extension and Modification of Authority to Provide Assistance to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria: The Administration appreciates the increased funding authority included in section 1222, but notes its concern that the provision does not contain additional requested authority for small-scale construction of temporary facilities that are necessary to meet operational needs and force protection requirements in both Iraq and Syria. As the campaign to defeat ISIS transitions beyond the liberation of Mosul [in Iraq] and Raqqa [in Syria], operational commanders will need the requested authority to build temporary intermediate staging facilities, ammunition supply points, and tactical assembly areas that have adequate force protection. These facilities, supply points, and assembly areas will enable the pursuit of ISIS into the Euphrates River Valley and help improve the security of Iraq’s borders. Current authorities, limited only to repair and renovation of existing Iraqi facilities [because the U.S. government still hasn’t officially announced its invasion of Syria], severely limit the coalition’s maneuverability and its ability to respond quickly to changing operational conditions.

Extension and Modification of Authority to Support Operations and Activities of the Office of Security Cooperation in Iraq [because Congress authorized only the invasion of Iraw]: The Administration appreciates the continuation of existing authority, but is disappointed by the lack of authority in section 1223 to expand the list of eligible recipients to include the “military and other security forces of or associated with the Government of Iraq with a national security mission.” The expanded authority would help address capability gaps, professionalization efforts, and defense institution building across the breadth of the Government of Iraq’s (GoI’s) national security institutions.

Trump wants Congress to add funding “for small-scale construction of temporary facilities that are necessary to meet operational needs and force protection requirements in both Iraq and Syria” — and this very much includes continuation of America’s military occupation of Syria, even though only Iraq had allowed the U.S. forces in, but the U.S. is in Syria only illegally (only as an invading force).

George W. Bush after 9/11, requested and got from Congress unlimited authorization for war against Al Qaeda, but now the U.S. regime says that this was unlimited authorization also for war against ISIS — and, now, if ISIS becomes defeated, then still the unlimited war against Syria will continue and be unlimited, and will continue to grow even more without limit until perhaps all non-military expenses of the U.S. government (other than repayment of America’s national debt) will be stripped-out. (Aristocrats don’t care about those things — and they demand elimination of government regulations.)

With any crook, give him an inch, and he’ll demand a mile. Why don’t these ‘representatives of the people’ start, finally, to serve the people, instead of to serve the donors who allowed them to be there? Is it because those donors won’t allow it?

Trump is now requesting funds to be added for continuation of a U.S. invasion and occupation that America’s political mega-donor-class have craved since at least 1949 and finally got under Obama; and, Trump wants to continue it. He, too, turns out to be a neocon (like Obama, and Bush, and Clinton).

Here is the one member of the U.S. House and Senate who is trying to defeat him and them: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. She’ll certainly need good bodyguards. The CIA-founded Daily Kos website was trying to smear her even as early as 2012, and that site’s followers took the bait and the reader-comments were very hostile toward her, but she still won Hawaii’s House seat, despite the smears etc. Rarely, but it happens: someone comes along who will fight for what is right. It’s dangerous work.

UPDATE: On July 19th, the neoconservative Washington Post headlined the most important breaking news story thus far in Trump’s Presidency, “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow”, and reported, “President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials. The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside.” Neoconservatives of both Parties were quoted condemning the move.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.