Cleveland Peace Action regrets the deaths of four U.S. citizens including two servicemen, one Department of Defense civilian, and one contractor, who were killed in a bomb blast in northern Syria on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. The U.S. should never have stationed troops in Syria without congressional approval and with “regime change” as its goal. It was under the Obama Administration that military supervisors were first placed in Syria for that very purpose and promoting the interests of Israel: to contain Syria’s benefactor, Iran, and to deter Iran from gaining nuclear parity with Israel’s clandestine nuclear arsenal. At some point, the official stated purpose for U.S. intervention in Syria shifted from “Assad must go” to a battle against the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL or ISIS). Arbitrary and shifting justifications for military action are a recipe for endless war.
Cleveland Peace Action welcomes the announcement by the Trump Administration that U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Syria by mid 2019. We concur with National Peace Action’s statement https://www.peaceaction.org/2018/12/19/trump-is-right-to-withdraw-from-syria-should-also-step-up-diplomacy-and-aid/
that “President Trump is right to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria. President Obama deployed U.S. soldiers to Syria in violation of international law, and the ongoing U.S. presence there only serves to prolong the war and fuel the risk of confrontation with Russia, Iran, and other parties to the conflict.”
The U.S. should contribute to a better future for the people of Syria by releasing funds for reconstruction and humanitarian aid. The Trump Administration should also rethink its anti-refugee policies – increase the number of refugees allowed into the United States rather than continuing to deny Syrians fleeing violence that the U.S. helped inflame.
The Trump Administration should also begin withdrawal of U.S. forces from the 17-year-old war in Afghanistan, and from the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen. The U.S. has been feeding rapacious wars for decades, wasting trillions of dollars and costing countless lives, with no benefit to the general population. We need a security strategy that employs cooperation and diplomacy to work for international justice and peace. The new Congress should reclaim its authority on peace and war so that these critical decisions are deliberated by our elected representatives and not left to one person.