Veterans For Peace Statement on Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Syria

VfP December 22 –  Veterans For Peace is pleased to hear that President Trump has ordered a total withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, where they had no legal right to be in the first place. Whatever the reasoning, withdrawing U.S. troops is the right thing to do.

It is incorrect to characterize the U.S. military intervention in Syria as “fighting terrorism,” as much of the media is doing. Although the U.S. fought against the ISIL Caliphate (aka “ISIS”), it also armed and trained Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda aligned forces, who are seeking to destroy the secular, multi-religious Syrian state and establish a harsh fundamentalist order of their own.

Furthermore, the U.S. aerial bombardment of the city of Raqqa, Syria, similar to its bombardment of Mosul, Iraq, was itself terror in the extreme, causing the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians. These are huge war crimes.

A continued U.S. presence in Syria would only prolong a policy that has been disastrous for all the peoples of the region, who have already suffered way too much as a result of years of U.S. intervention and occupation on their soil. It would also be a disaster for the troops who are being asked to carry out this impossible burden.

In these moments when those in power advocate for remaining at war, Veterans For Peace will continue holding true to our mission and understanding that war is not the answer. We sincerely hope that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria will be total, and will be soon. We hope this will also lead to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, where the U.S. government is currently in talks with the Taliban and an end to U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which is causing the death by starvation of tens of thousands of innocent children.

Veterans For Peace knows that the U.S. is a nation addicted to war. At this time of uncertainty, it is critically important that we, as veterans, continue to be clear and concise that our nation must turn from war to diplomacy and peace. It is high time to unwind all these tragic, failed and unnecessary wars of aggression, domination and plunder. It is time to turn a page in history and to build a new world based on human rights, equality and mutual respect for all. We must build momentum toward real and lasting peace. Nothing less than the survival of human civilization is at stake.

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  1. A shameless statement that ignores the military intervention of Russia and Iran in Syria in support of their compliant war criminal Bashar Assad. Yes, the US should get out of Syria, but so should Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Turkey. You cannot build a significant antiwar movement with such dogma. Dare yourselves to listen to the voices of Syrians. Try “We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled” by Wendy Pearlman and

  2. Members of Veterans for Peace and UNAC organizations have traveled to Syria and talked to people on the streets. You yourself should dare to listen to the voices of the Syrian people instead of supporting a radical fringe that enables U.S. initiatives. Shooting at your neighbors and prosecuting a mafia style war to drive out local governments so you can impose your values on the local population and pillage their resources, this is not a revolution of the people; it is a revolution that targets the people.

    Had the US not intervened in Syria in the first place, Russia, Iran and Hezbollah would not have been requested to assist the Syrians in repelling foreign intervention which came in the form of a horrific onslaught of foreign paid and armed terrorists who slaughtered ordinary civilians in villages and cities across the country. You might ask yourself how you can side with a sectarian revolt against an open ,multi-ethnic, religiously diverse society?

    We cannot build a significant Antiwar Movement when people like you are calling U.S. intervention and imperial attempts to overthrow the governments in sovereign countries in the developing world ‘Antiwar’. ‘Pro US intervention’ is NOT an ‘Antiwar’ position, it is an ‘Imperialist’ position and should everywhere be recognized as such. It is not enough to say that you oppose U.S. military intervention as long as Syria (or whichever targeted country) toes the line and follows U.S. dictates with regard to governance and even regional relationships.

    Support for Syria means: end US Sanctions so the Syrian economy can be recovered; remove U.S. military forces so the Syrian war can wind down; respect the choice of the vast majority of the Syrian people to support the sitting government led by Bashar Assad; respect the hundreds of thousands of ordinary Syrians who have given their lives to defend their country against you faux ‘revolution’.

    We need to establish respectful and supportive diplomatic relations with Syria and all the other sovereign nations of the developing world.

  3. The imperialist left seems to care nothing for international law. Like it or not, Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah are in Syria at the invitation of the legal Syrian government.Turkey, the US, Israel, France, and the UK are there in violation of Syrian sovereignty. The imperialist left wants to condition compliance with international law upon control over Syrian sovereignty. Hypocrisy, anyone?

    1. That is the same lie we were told about the United States being “invited” into South Vietnam at the invitation of the ” legitimate elected” government of the Republic of South Vietnam. The left apologists for the fascist Assad regime are the hypocrites here. They choose to ignore the well-documented crimes of that criminal dynasty enterprise which has run the country for 50 years with repression, torture and slaughter of those who dare speak out for justice. Dare to listen to the voices of the Syrian people who have felt the tyrant’s repression. Try these:
      “The Impossible Revolution” by Yassin al-Haj Saleh.
      “My Country: A Syrian Memoir” by Kassim Eid.
      “Burning Country” – Leila Al-Shami & Robin Yassin-Kassab

  4. Next to the discussion of what has effectively been the US government’s position on events in Syria since 2011 – I believe no one forgot that Hillary Clinton, to start with, said the same things as Judith Bello about the legitimacy of Assad in power (supposedly a reformer, on the contrary to his dad) – I wonder if one could enrich this discussion with elements about what the real nature of Bathism in Syria has been like.

    Regards, J. Waardenburg

    1. There are those who find the Amnesty International report that you cite sorely wanting in several regards. The report is biased, it is based on a few interviews with individuals of questionable background and there is no verification of the information introduced. Your statement is also misleading. You don’t name the report but merely provide a blind link, and are ready to judge the entire society based on a document that looks at a single prison during wartime and not the broad experiences of the Syrian people. In this country we have lots of political prisoners kept under horrific conditions and many pot dealers and other small time criminals working for a few cents an hour in the prison system.

      In fact, the government led by Bashar Assad implemented certain reforms over Hafez government but Hafez had also introduced numerous reforms over previous governments, which created the secular socialist society with education and healthcare for all. It has never been Utopia and no one claims it was. Neither is our country and government. A war implemented as a direct assault on Syrian sovereignty should never have been. Those who perpetrated this war are criminals under international law. There is nothing in Syria to warrant this kind of assault.

      1. Dear Judith Bello thank you for your reply, I was in Syria myself at the start of 2011, and I can certify that the country was unique. As a Dutch citizen, the first demo I went to ever was against Reagan’s star war program in 1981 (I was only 2 years old but the whole of the Netherlands went in upheaval). I would never caution any war by the US or anyone else, that is the reason why I tried to add other elements to the discussion, raising for example the question of what Syria was really like before 2011. Something utterly wrong happened in Syria in 2011, we agree on that. My question is why did Assad close down the political and cultural experience of the Damascus Spring 2000-2001, why did he not live up to his promise of opening up society to free speech? If you have a space of political discussion and decision making a lot of social anger can be channeled and resolved. I don’t believe that is the case in the US either, even though I don’t live there, the political and economic system is obviously bankrupt.

  5. I have friends who are Syrian refugees, who did not like the Assad government and who believe most if not all of the propaganda that supports this war, but even they understand that this so called ‘revolution’ destroyed their lives, happy relatively comfortable middle class lives. Any anti-imperialist who believes that war will not solve our problems, can see that a violent revolution for sectarian reasons, fueled by numerous outside forces with numerous, often conflicting, agendas is a war with no possible win projected, and that the Syrian people have suffered immeasurably for the arrogance and single mindedness of the various factions who have sought to benefit from the destruction of the Syrian state. Those who wish to support a violent ‘revolution’ in Syria are neither advocates of peace nor of the welfare of the general population. Those of you who arrogantly present your claims on this post have not responded to my pointing out the sectarian violence perpetrated on Christians and Alawites by your so-called ‘revolutionaries’, nor on the devastating destruction of Syria’s financial assets through terrorist violence and foreign usurpation. That is because there is no justification for supporting the destruction of Syria and the suffering perpetrated on the Syrian people by your ‘revolution’.

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