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    US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base (200)

    Washington's missile strike on the Shayrat Air Base in Syria has divided US society, making many Americans feel betrayed over the White House's interventionist stance. Donald Trump is "shooting from the hip" with the blind confidence that he's right, American peace activist Jan R. Weinberg told Sputnik.

    US President Donald Trump risks losing his base, American conservative commentator Daniel McCarthy wrote in his recent op-ed for the National Interest, and with good reason.

    Trump's electorate has long seen him as a non-interventionist; however, the recent US missile strike on the Shayrat Air Base in Syria proved otherwise.

    As American geopolitical analyst Ian Bremmer tweeted: "Of all the reasons Americans voted for Trump, getting into a war with Syria was not on the list."

    ​"We're vehemently against war with Syria @realDonaldTrump No support for a war on false pretenses. It's crucial to seek the truth. #SyriaHoax," a Twitter user named Irma Hinojosa wrote.

    ​"Our prior interventions in this region have done nothing to make us safer and Syria will be no different," US Senator for Kentucky Rand Paul tweeted.

    ​To add to the embarrassment some twitter users cited Trump's 2013 tweet which warned then President Barack Obama against attacking Syria: "If you do, many very bad things will happen and from that fight the US gets nothing."

    ​According to a Gallup poll, 50 percent of American respondents approved the recent US missile attack on Syria, while 41 percent expressed disapproval. The research company remarked that the popular support for Syria strikes in the US "rates low in historical context."

    Still, there is more to Trump's unilateral decision to authorize the Syria strike than meets the eye, Jan R. Weinberg, American Peace Movement activist and founder of the Show Up! America non-profit organization told Sputnik.

    "For quite some time I have been complaining to various congressional representatives, even though in the past they neglected <…> prior to military engagement in a foreign country, to recognize that the Constitutional authority to declare war rests with them and that its their governmental body that must invoke the War Powers Act should that be their decision, but only after careful and informed deliberations," Weinberg recalled, highlighting that, according to the US Constitution (Article 1, Section 8), it is the prerogative of the US Congress to declare war.

    "As a result of congressional neglect Trump assumed he had a free hand," the American peace activist told Sputnik, "It's as if the school monitors went to the smoking lounge all at the same time, leaving the school bully to mind the playground."

    Weinberg believes that it is time for the United States Congress to deliberate, on a nation by nation basis, where the US is presently engaged militarily and until such time that there is expressed congressional approval.

    The body of a plane burned as a result of the US missile attack on an air base in Syria. File photo
    © Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy
    The body of a plane burned as a result of the US missile attack on an air base in Syria. File photo

    He recalled that James Madison, American statesman and Founding Father, declared the War Powers Clause to be the most important in the Constitution because history had shown that "the executive is the branch of power most interested in war," and therefore must be tempered by a deliberative Congress.

    "The past abdication of the specific responsibilities of the US Congress, as the branch of government permitted to Declare War as per the US Constitution as well as the War Powers Act, should no longer be heralded as an excuse as if a legitimate precedent had actually ever been set," the American peace activist argues.

    "Would it be improper to state that past and present US military engagements conducted by Presidents without expressed Congressional approval were unconstitutional, unethical and illegal?" he asked rhetorically.

    Although the US administration has changed, the position of the omnipotent Military Industrial Complex has remained intact.

    In his March interview with Sputnik, Weinberg called attention to the fact that influential defense contractors have again filled the new administration's councils and got positions in the government's departments.

    "Perhaps it is too early in the Trump presidency to judge if he and his administration have well developed long term plans and have actually thought through the consequences of their actions. However, there is clear evidence that Trump is merely shooting from the hip with the blind confidence that he is correct in his assessments simply because he is the president. Cannot possibly be wrong, like the kings who were ordained by God," he observed.

    While Trump tried to justify his actions referring to Bashar al-Assad's alleged involvement in the use of chemical weapons in Idlib, this episode evoked strong memories of Colin Powell's controversial UN presentation of pseudo-evidence of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

    The image seen round the world of Secretary of State Colin Powell and his mock vial of anthrax,which he held up during a presentation before the UN on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program, February 5, 2003.
    © AP Photo / Elise Amendola
    The image seen round the world of Secretary of State Colin Powell and his mock vial of anthrax,which he held up during a presentation before the UN on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program, February 5, 2003.

    "At this point does anyone truly trust the American intelligence apparatus?" Weinberg said, "We heard it all before from both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. In fact both of them attacked Iraq. In fact both of them were wrong."

    He quoted Bill Clinton's 1998 speech on America's strike on military and security targets in Iraq: "Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons."

    The US crackdown against Iraq started under false pretenses, the rest is history.

    "Trump must show the Congress and the American people the evidence that he based his decision upon," the American peace activist said, "Unlike the poor planning on his real estate deals when he had bankruptcy protection, his mistakes on the national stage will not have a convenient reset button."

    To make matters even more complicated, the US missile strike coincided with Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the US.

    U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Carlos Barria
    U.S. President Donald Trump welcomes Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago state in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017.

    "The timing of Trump's cruise missile attack in Syria happened to coincide the China's President Xi Jinping's state visit with Trump at his Florida Mar-a-Lago golf resort," Weinberg said, "Even if the circumstances are coincidental it is safe to assume that throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific that all are on alert to the possible unilateral US attack on N. Korea. As they are aware of Trump's faux pas — Xi views golf with distain attributing the pastime as an elite symbol of corruption, the worst expression of the excesses of the capitalist systems."

    The American peace activist believes that Washington needs to take a pause and think about how other nations perceive the US' assertive foreign strategy.

    "Related to war and other forms of state sanctioned violence and surveillance, we should be cognizant of how governments and the subjects of other nations in the world view the United States; the totality of our history through the lens of the little that they are taught about us, and then ask the few simple questions: who do they think is in command of our military, deliberates about the tactical nature of armed conflicts, the consequences of our actions, who gives the command to 'charge' and more importantly to 'cease fire'," he said.

    "I think it is safe to say that the nations that the United States has labeled as adversaries assumes that the US Military is renegade, trigger happy and at the behest of a wild-west Sheriff," Weinberg concluded.

    Jan R. Weinberg — American Peace Movement activist and founder of @ShowUpAmerica non-profit organization

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

    US Missile Attack on Syrian Air Base (200)


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    invasion of Iraq, US foreign policy, missile strike, U.S. Constitution, Iraq War, The Syrian war, U.S. Department of State, Pentagon, Colin Powell, Bashar al-Assad, Rand Paul, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Idlib, Syria, Iraq, United States, Russia, Middle East, Homs
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