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Aloe writes: "Sen. Bernie Sanders is condemning Friday's military strikes on Syria as 'illegal and unauthorized.'"

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Senator Bernie Sanders: Trump's Strikes on Syria 'Illegal and Unauthorized'

By Jess Aloe, Burlington Free Press

14 April 18


en. Bernie Sanders is condemning Friday's military strikes on Syria as "illegal and unauthorized."

"It is Congress, not the president, which has the constitutional responsibility for making war," Sanders said in a statement shortly before midnight on Friday.

After 17 years of war in Afghanistan and 15 years of war in Iraq, the Middle East needs a political strategy to bring peace, not more American military intervention, Sanders said.

Sanders said he believed the international community should uphold the prohibitions on the use of chemical weapons, but said it was unclear how Trump's strikes on Syria would achieve that goal.

Rep. Peter Welch said Saturday morning that Trump must seek authority for military action from Congress "immediately."

Welch called Syrian dictator Bashar Assad's repeated use of chemical weapons "an egregious violation of international law," and added that the missile strikes were "an appropriate response to this atrocity."

"However, it occurred in a context where the United States has no clear policy in Syria or the region and at a time when there is real potential for escalation into a conflict with Russia and Iran," the Democratic Congressman wrote on Twitter.

Sanders, along with Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman Peter Welch, urged Trump earlier this month to consult with Congress before taking military action.

President Donald Trump announced Friday night that he had ordered precision missile strikes, in coordination with British and French allies. The attacks, which targeted a scientific research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons storage facility west of Homs, and a storage facility and command post near Homs, were intended to deter the use of chemical weapons.

Trump said the United States was prepared to continue the attacks until the Syrian regime stops using chemical weapons.

Saturday morning Trump tweeted to praise the military.

"A perfectly executed strike last night," he wrote. "Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

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+4 # wilhelmscream 2018-04-14 12:05
Trump failed 2 consult congress b4 taking action
+27 # Ralph 2018-04-14 12:16
What next? "Helluva job Bolty!" Attaboy Trumpy.

Sanders increasingly appears to be the ONLY sane voice left in our political establishment. Things are bad and getting worse.
+17 # BetaTheta 2018-04-14 13:19
"Mission accomplished?" You would think any president would be wary of that phrase now. But then, Trump never was the brightest bulb.
+9 # 2018-04-14 13:46
This is off the wall even for Trump! He even had the audacious gall to say, "mission accomplished" George W. Bush must have unpacked his own banner!!! that he made for Iraq.
+19 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-14 13:54
Well it would be a good thing for the congress to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump for an illegal act of war against a sovereign nation. It would be a great lesson for all presidents.

Short of impeachment, Sanders could introduce today a resolution of censure against Trump. Warn him that if he tries this again, congress will impeach him and cut off all Pentagon funding.
-4 # lfeuille 2018-04-15 01:03
That will never happen. Congress will not impeach for war crimes. The only way to get rid of him and make sure he can't commit any more more crimes is to impeach him for domestic transgressions. That makes it safe for you to insist it has to be for war crimes since you don't want him impeached.
+5 # itchyvet 2018-04-15 01:23
Best of luck on that one.
-2 # HarryP 2018-04-15 10:39
Itchy vet & lfeuille and all those who have RR a thumbs up:

You miss what RR is saying.

RR is mocking Bernie Sanders for raising a constitutional principle, knowing full well that Congress will not act. RR relishes that fact. Go to it, Bernie! What RR does not relish is the exposure of Trump’s criminal acts - and worse yet - tying him to Vladimir the Good.
0 # librarian1984 2018-04-17 16:28
Thought police much?
+10 # janie1893 2018-04-14 14:00
It is time for an international democratic military coalition that does NOT include the United States! Too many democracies have been dragged into too many conflicts through NATO membership!

What the US has done to Syria is pure thuggery. Americans need to publicly revolt and get this madman out of office!
+5 # lfeuille 2018-04-15 01:09
Europe can't be trusted either. They are as invested in neoliberalism as we are. I think international coalitions in the absence of overwhelming threats like in WWII with or without the US are bound to cause mischief. They are constantly looking and or manufacturing "threats" to justify their existance.
+21 # REDPILLED 2018-04-14 14:03
Congress hasn't declared war since December 8, 1941.

The Constitution is ignored when it comes to the Empire's foreign policy.
+15 # tedrey 2018-04-14 14:38
I still think that letting any national legislature permit its national executive to carry out military aggression within the borders of another UN member state without the concurrence of the UN and/or against the express mandates of the Geneva agreements is itself a war crime for which the international community should provide methods of sanctioning said congress and executive.
+18 # PABLO DIABLO 2018-04-14 15:36
Why can't the Syrians just use "enriched uranium bombs" like we do? Or Napalm? Or infected blankets? Etc. Etc.
+23 # heraldmage 2018-04-14 15:40
Maybe if Trump had asked for Congressional approval, the OPCW would have completed its investigation, determined if a chemical attack occurred, checked alleged chemical weapons manufacturing sites for compliance, retrieved stockpiles of terrorist chemical weapons discovered upon liberation, reported to OPCW & dismantle &/or confirm the destruction of the weapons factory; the attack on the SAR wouldn't have been necessary.
Isn't it time WE demand independently verified evidence rather than fake news, fabricated evidence & hiding behind national security, before we send our sons, daughter, mother, fathers, aunts, uncles, nieces & nephews off to war. War is a waste people power and money. The only ones who profit from war is the President, DOD and MIC.
It's time for the US to pay reparation and withdraw its military from the Middle East. To let the people of the Middle East rebuild their nations & societies after years of US aggression & destruction. To let them decide as a nation what type of government, economic policy they want and choose their own leaders. All without US interference. After all their nations & culture are 1000's of years older then ours.
+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-15 06:58
herald -- well said. I agree completely.

Political self-determinat ion is a fundamental human right. All people have the right to determine their own political formation. Empire is fundamentally a violation of human rights.
-1 # 2018-04-14 16:54
These assertions regarding the need for Congressional authorization would be quite justified (at least I would agree with them) if they weren't so blatantly political and partisan. Where were these people when Clinton bombed Syria, Obama facilitated the regime change in Libya and caused a civil war, JFK sent the first fighting troops to Viet Nam, LBJ pursued a very active war in Viet Nam, or HST pursued a very active and deadly war in Korea?

To have any credibility people like Sanders (and many others in the Democrat leadership) need to be equally critical when their preferred presidents commit acts of war. It is all well and good to condemn Bush I, Bush II, and even Reagan for their foreign interventions - I certainly do -- but fairness requires that they are equally critical of Democrats and I never hear a peep out of them when a Democrat kills innocent civilians. At least Trump appears to be avoiding killing innocent civilians so far.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
+4 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2018-04-15 02:43 - I completely agree with your point that it doesn't matter what party the President belongs to. S/he needs Congressional authorization to launch bombing attacks on a foreign, sovereign country. I would add that the authorization must be in a formal Declaration of War.

+1 # elkingo 2018-04-16 12:21
Right, Lee. But there hasn't been a formal Congressional Declaration of War since Pearl Harbor. Does anybody that seriously anymore?
And Emperor Trump may be trying to protect civilians, but he can't. At least someone innocent will be (has been) killed by those weapons, even if they CAN place them in the exact square yard they want.
0 # ericlipps 2018-04-16 15:27
So because Democratic presidents have been let off the hook before, Republicans should be too? That gets rid of a double standard, all right--in favor of no standard at all.
-3 # eyarden 2018-04-14 17:21
It is perfectly possible that Bernie Sanders is committed to the 'rule of law.' He may also be seeking the Democratic Party nomination for POTUS. In any case, his main role is to keep the so-called Left tied to the Democratic Party. And will seize any opportunity to do so, ignorer to protect the corporation serving Duopoly. Left and Right indeed. "Which side are you on!?" and al that.
+6 # lfeuille 2018-04-14 17:49
Geez, he really said "Mission Accomplished"? I guess he's forgotten what happened the last time a president said that.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-15 07:01
In the culture of Washtington, old phrases never die. We still use -gate for just about everything that stinks: Muellergate.

The term "Desert Stormy" is now making the rounds. It may stick. It is good because it combines Bush I's Desert Storm with Clinton's Wag the Dog.

So far we've had three days of Stormy free news coverage. Now that is Trump's real "mission accomplished."
+3 # kgrad 2018-04-14 18:48
Do we have a loose cannon in DC?
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-04-15 07:02
We have many of them.
+4 # djnova50 2018-04-14 21:06
I understand that Pres. Trump wants to end this Syrian engagement as fast as he can. I won't condemn him for that; but, I don't think he really has much say. He is a puppet president and like all puppet presidents before him, there are and have been puppet masters.

However, the big question is, if Trump is impeached, can we retroactively impeach Obama and Bush for their war crimes? I didn't think so. Impeachment for war crimes should have been done long ago.
+4 # pushingforpeace 2018-04-15 08:19
Wesley Clark spelled it out years ago.
+2 # tedrey 2018-04-16 06:00
Essential viewing.
-7 # ahollman 2018-04-16 10:09
There are 3 issues: 1) did Assad use chemical weapons?, 2) a joint military strike against Assad's chemical weapons facilities, in cooperation with Britain and France, both a good idea and justified?, and 3) did Trump have authorization to use military force in this manner?

My opinions:
1) Given what's known in the fog of war, a preponderance of evidence points to Assad's military as the perpetrator.
2) The joint strike was a good idea and morally justifiable, as a way of signaling to Assad that the use of chemical weapons was unacceptable, despite the disheartening message that it also sends: The rest of the world will stand by and let him murder his country's citizens, -provided- he doesn't do so with chemical weapons.
3) Whether Trump had Congressional authorization is at least as questionable as is most US military involvement in the middle east, if not more so. The last Congressional authorization was way back in 2003, in Iraq, against Saddam Hussein. One -could- stretch that to say that it extended to fighting other parties (e.g. ISIS) that originated in Iraq but extended their operations to Syria, but that's a stretch. This is 2018, in Syria, not against ISIS, but against Assad, in Syria's 7-year-old civil in which we've previously not interfered.

In my opinion, the strike -is- an appropriate international response to the use of chemical weapons. However, the US faces no imminent threat from Syria, so Congress should create separate authorization.
+3 # tedrey 2018-04-17 07:22
How different people are! Now in my opinion, step by step. you are willing to remove all the restraints that have separated civilized nations from barbarism, and would accept almost unlimited power over the world to be wielded by a handful of men without legitimacy, transparency, or accountability (to say nothing of morality or common sense.)
-1 # elkingo 2018-04-16 12:13
What happens if the missiles actually strike poison gas supplies? Does they incinerate the crap rendering it harmless, or disperse it in the air killing more people?

Congressional declaration of war? C'mon. Hasn't been one since Pearl Harbor. Impeach/remove Trump: whack Assad!
+3 # David Starr 2018-04-17 07:55
Even if Congress was the decider of making illegal strikes against Syria, most democrats would still vote in the affirmative.

Although I'm not a fan, there is no evidence that Assad is to blame for the chemical weapons attack. In fact, this is an old ploy used to justify an attack on Syria. It was done in Iraq, and was tried on Assad twice before.

With Assad winning, why in the hell would he now risk everything by ordering a chemical attack? It doesn't make sense. But imperialists will be imperialists, i.e, republicans and most democrats.

Besides, they are not in a position to judge, given U.S. invasions/bombi ngs/occupations .

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