On September 22, 2014 US President Obama started another war in Iraq he can’t blame on George W. Bush. Like the American invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, this war was not authorized by the United Nations Security Council, and it is also a violation of the United Nations Charter Article 2, Section 4. “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.” Threatening and using force has become the basis of American foreign policy.
President Obama has claimed that these attacks were justified by the UN Charter Article 51 as “the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations;” but the struggle in Iraq between the Islamic State (ISIL or ISIS) and others (Kurds, Sunnis, and the government in Baghdad, which is mostly Shia, is a civil war that began when the Americans invaded in 2003. This dreadful situation is reminiscent of the war in Vietnam a half century ago which was a civil war with so much intervention by the Americans that the Vietnamese have always called it the “American War.”
George W. Bush committed the crime that John Adams called the “great guilt of starting an unnecessary war.” Although Obama may not have begun this long war, he has certainly started a new phase of drastic escalation by bombing people in Syria. Intelligence acknowledged that ISIL was not a direct threat to the people of the United States, but they managed to find a small group in western Syria called Khorasan whom spies believe may attempt to launch a terrorist attack on Americans. Because someone somewhere sometime may make one home-made bomb and try to use it against Americans, is that a justification to bomb the people living in that area?
In just a few days the US and its allies have exploded at least 250 bombs in Syria. Dropping bombs on people sows seeds of violence and hate, bringing forth more of the same. Obama says his aim is to degrade and destroy ISIL; but ISIL has already degraded itself by murdering many people. Bombing them does not degrade them further; it only degrades the Americans and their allies who are also killing people. Victims who suffer violence are not degraded, but perpetrators of violence degrade themselves morally. Some people and property may be destroyed by bombing, but the 11-year civil war in Iraq shows that warfare only provokes more warfare.
When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, al-Qaida was not even active in that nation; but American aggression against the people of Iraq soon provoked al-Qaida to organize there. ISIL, which was fighting the tyrant and war criminal Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has recently invaded Iraq because of its Shia government. The American attacks on ISIL in Syria will aid al-Assad in his civil war. The American government appropriated $500 million to train 3,000 rebels who have been fighting in Syria against that tyrannical government for three years. Now are they supposed to go to Saudi Arabia to be trained how to fight so that they can attack their allies ISIL instead?
Most of ISIL’s weapons and equipment were captured and originally were supplied by the United States. The Americans have created another Frankenstein’s monster just as they did with Ossama bin Laden and al-Qaida when they were fighting the Russians in Afghanistan and as they did with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Obama has said that his foreign policy is to “not do stupid stuff.” Why then has he launched an incredibly stupid war?
The timing of this war one day after the largest March for Climate Action so far and one day before a summit meeting at the United Nations on Climate Change appears to be an attempt to steal the headlines and the attention of public opinion from the mass movement organizing to resolve the urgent problem of preventing the deterioration of civilization and living species.
Pete Seeger wrote and sang “My Rainbow Race” which is very appropriate to the world situation today.
One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more?
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It’s too soon to die.
Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need ‘em.
Don’t you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There’s no shortcut to freedom.
Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now's our last chance to learn to share
What's been given to me and you.