Democratic Socialists of America Condemns the U.S. Bombing of Syria

A Statement of the National Political Committee of Democratic Socialists of America

April 8, 2017

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has consistently opposed U.S. military intervention in the civil war in Syria and condemns the Tomahawk cruise missile attack by the Trump administration. DSA has also supported from spring 2011 onwards the massive and democratic Syrian uprising against the brutal Assad regime, a regime that has shown no hesitation to use massive force, including chemical weapons, to suppress its people.

The Trump administration has committed an act of war that both violates domestic law (having not been authorized by Congress) and international law (having not been authorized by the United Nations). Foreign power intervention, however, whether by Russia, the United States, Iran or the Gulf States, has only served to militarize the conflict and severely weaken the democratic forces within Syria. As illustrated by the futile U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, United States imperialist and unilateral military power cannot liberate the Syrian people. U.S. air power cannot surgically take out those individuals who develop and deploy chemical weapons; what it has done and will do is kill scores of innocent civilians.

Therefore, we urge our members and friends to protest the Trump administration’s military action and to lobby Congress to halt any further U.S. military intervention. We urge our members and friends to protest all bombings of Syrians and the war waged by the Assad regime through foreign forces against the people of Syria. The U.S. coalition and Russia have been actively bombing Syria for years, as documented by, in effect both siding with the regime, allegedly to fight ISIS (while the context of massive pro-regime violence is the fertile soil on which ISIS has grown). The Trump Tomahawk cruise missile strike continues a long-standing U.S. policy of bombing Syria, which is why Secretary of State Tillerson can state that these attacks are in accord with ongoing U.S. policy.

In opposing all foreign military intervention in Syria we act to end the mass slaughter of civilians and to honor the memory of those civilians who fought for freedom, a fight that might have been won if not for the militarization of the conflict by the Assad regime and by U.S. and other foreign powers. As abhorrent as the use of chemical weapons may be, DSA opposes all forms of mass violence against civilians, including the U.S. bombing of mosques.

The United States should join the international community in condemning the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons and press for a return of United Nations inspectors to monitor the regime’s chemical weapons capacity. The United States must also immediately reverse its policy opposing the intake of Syrian refugees and grant refugee status to at least one hundred thousand Syrian asylum seekers (of all faiths) and challenge the European Union nations to take in proportionate numbers. It is the ultimate hypocrisy to bomb a country while refusing to give shelter to refugees from a carnage to which many foreign powers, including the United States, have contributed.

Furthermore, the United States should join the international community in providing massive humanitarian aid to the millions of Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere. The United States and all other countries should engage in the necessary diplomacy to press Russia, Iran and Hezbollah to cease their military aid to the Assad dictatorship, as well as end United States and Gulf State funding of internal Syrian combatants. The Syrian people alone can liberate themselves; the task cannot be accomplished by external powers.