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David Bromwich

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"Red Line" Resolutions for the U.S. House of Representatives Before Voting Authorization of War to Overthrow the Government of Syria

Posted: 09/05/2013 3:24 pm

Adapted from Abraham Lincoln's "Spot" Resolutions, December 22, 1847.

Whereas the President of the United States, in his remarks to a PBS interviewer on Wednesday, August 28, 2013 has declared that "I have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable";

And again, in his remarks at the White House on Saturday, August 31, that "Now, after careful deliberation, I have decided that the United States should take military action against Syrian regime targets";

And yet again, in his remarks in Stockholm on September 4, that "My credibility's not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line";

And whereas this House desires to obtain a full knowledge of the facts that go to establish whether it should vote for war against the government of Syria; therefore

Resolved by the House of Representatives, that the President of the United States be respectfully requested to inform this House--

First: Whether, having originally invited UN inspectors to collect evidence of the chemical warfare agent reported after an attack in Ghouta on August 21, the American government urged the inspectors, in contradiction of the same request, not to collect such evidence; and if so, what the reason was for the reversal.

Second: Whether, when Secretary of State Kerry on August 30 said "the U.N. can't tell us anything that we haven't shared with you," he meant that US inspectors had already conducted an examination of the evidence as thorough as UN inspectors are capable of performing; and when he said "the U.N. cannot galvanize the world to act, as it should," he meant that the US has, in fact, galvanized the world to act as it should; and if so, what countries, specifically, add up to his understanding of the world.

Third: Whether it is the moral right of the US to enforce the "international norms" which the president judges to have been set by the world; and if so, in his opinion, what other countries possess that right, and by what precedent.

Fourth: Whether he can give a source, or not, for the statement on September 4 by the secretary of state that jihadists among the rebel forces, hostile to the United States and committed to terrorism, number only 15% to 25% of the total forces which the congressional authorization would commit the US to subsidize and supply with arms.

Fifth: Whether, in view of the shooting of prisoners by rebel forces, documented in the New York Times on September 5, the US claims to control the actions of rebel forces; and if so, whether the US had control over those forces when this crime was committed.

Sixth: Whether, after the al-Nusra attack on the Christian village of Maaloula, documented by the Associated Press on September 5, the attack on Christians at a checkpoint west of the city of Homs documented by Reuters on August 17, and the reported general flight of Christians from Homs, the US government now assesses that there is, or is not, a pattern of persecution of Christians by rebel forces.

Seventh: Whether the entry into Syria on August 17 and 19 of US-trained guerrilla forces of the Free Syrian Army, numbering more than 300 -- and the passage of those forces through Ghouta about the time of the chemical attack, as documented in the Jerusalem Post on August 23 -- did, or did not, make them targets of the attack; and if not, what information about the activity of the forces leads to this conclusion.

Eighth: Whether there exists, or does not exist, a citable source, or combination of sources, to explain the secretary of state's figure of 1429 deaths in Ghouta, a figure more than double the number cited by any other authority.

Ninth: Whether the violent overthrow of the government of Syria--Iran's most stable ally in the Middle East-- will, or will not, assist the president's avowed intention of making progress toward a peaceful resolution of US differences with Iran.

 
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