ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Nelson: Where is the proof to justify war?

As America's latest missile attack on Syria shows, no self-respecting empire needs proof to justify war. On Friday the 13th, the triumvirate of the United States, France and England bombed Syrian chemical factories to punish purported Syrian gove...

mugging: Ross Nelson, columnist;
mugging: Ross Nelson, columnist;

As America's latest missile attack on Syria shows, no self-respecting empire needs proof to justify war. On Friday the 13th, the triumvirate of the United States, France and England bombed Syrian chemical factories to punish purported Syrian government gassing of its people in Douma, near Damascus. An investigative team sent by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons arrived in Syria the day after the bombings to delve into the gassing incident. Despite claims by the aggressor nations that they had irrefutable proof of Syrian guilt in the gas attacks, none was made public. Bomb first, ask questions later.

Given the lies and unsupported claims by our federal government since 9/11 (and before) we must be extremely chary of trusting it now. President Bill Clinton leveled Sudan's only medicine factory in 1998 on specious grounds. The Bush administration lied about Iraq involvement in the 9/11 attacks, as shown by the Downing Street memo which noted that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of overthrowing Iraq's president Saddam Hussein. So far the most conservative count of Iraqi civilians we've killed directly and indirectly in that war numbers 136,000; of course we used the usual explosives and not chemical weapons (except arguably white phosphorus) so our killing is much more acceptable. Still, the children we've killed in Iraq seem no less dead than those killed in Syria's gas attacks.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated this past February that the U.S. has "no evidence" that Syria has used the nerve poison Sarin on its own population. In case this didn't quite settle in, let's review it: President Trump ordered missile strikes last year in retaliation for an alleged Sarin attack on inhabitants of the city of Khan Sheikhoun, having no solid proof that the Assad regime carried it out. But, as President Bill Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright remarked to Colin Powell, what's the point of having this great military if you never use it?

Shouldn't we skeptically eye the entire scheme of war against Syria? You might think we should notice by now that our federal executive branch has cried wolf too many times. A puzzler is that the latest gas attack came just days after President Trump talked of getting out of Syria. Now we're in deeper than ever, a remarkable coincidence of timing.

Which party gets its candidate elected president doesn't seem to matter in foreign policy-they all belong to the War party. Then-candidate Trump excoriated President Obama for warmongering and getting involved at a high cost of money and bloodshed in the Mideast but has largely followed the same policy himself.

ADVERTISEMENT

Our latest bombings in Syria weren't approved by the U.N. Security Council and were thus illegal internationally, even though customary international law prohibits chemical weapon use. Because the action America took wasn't self-defensive and had no congressional approval, it was unconstitutional as well. No matter; liberals and conservatives have joined hands in upholding the American empire and trashing the law.

Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page.

What To Read Next
The administration at Theodore Roosevelt National Park is bent on getting rid of the horses, which means getting rid of vital living history and a major draw to the park.
Fargo city commission hand-wringing over northside Red River crossing is short-sighted
The Minnesota State system request for $350 million in additional funding would freeze tuition and train more desperately needed workers.
Part of resistance to bridge connecting downtown to Red River lies with Fargo's perception