August 30, 2013 – In response to signals from the Obama administration that it will pursue U.S. military intervention in Syria in the wake of attacks last week, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
We strongly oppose U.S. military intervention in Syria and urge the Obama administration to support increased diplomatic measures to protect civilians in the region. A United Nations investigation into the massacre of last week is still ongoing. For whoever is deemed responsible, accountability must come by way of investigation and prosecutions under international law, not further militarism in the region.It is a manifest lesson of this country’s recent history that U.S. military intervention in conflicts of this kind has not served human rights or humanitarian purposes, even when these are the stated goals. The U.S. and Iraq are still reeling and suffering from a decade-long illegal war that was waged on the basis of false information about weapons of mass destruction and sold to the American people as a quick military intervention. Hundreds of thousands, including many civilians and children, died as a result of that war, in which the U.S. used weapons that have been widely condemned, such as white phosphorous, napalm-class weapons and weapons containing depleted uranium. Iraq is still dealing with the catastrophic aftermath, which includes skyrocketing rates in birth defects and cancer widely attributed to the use of these weapons. The U.S. should be accounting for this harm and making reparations, not readying to engage militarily once again.UN officials are calling for political solutions to the crisis in Syria – not additional violence. The Obama administration needs to act in concert with other countries and international legal bodies to broker a political settlement in Syria and bring an immediate cessation of violence. Diplomacy and the rule of law, including international law, must be our guideposts for acting in this situation.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. CCR has previously challenged U.S. military action and use of force as violating U.S. and international law, including in the invasion of Grenada, in El Salvador, in Panama, for the First Gulf War, Serbia/Kosovo and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. CCR is currently representing a group of U.S. veterans of the Iraq war and two Iraqi human rights organizations seeking accountability and reparations for the war as part of the Right to Heal initiative.
August 30, 2013