As Bombs Drop on Syria, Raytheon’s Stock Rises

Speech given by Paul Shannon, of the AFSC‘s Peace and Economic Security Program, at an anti-war rally in Boston on 4/7/17. 

A new war to overthrow Syria’s government is not the answer to the catastrophe of Syria.

Whatever the truth about who is responsible for the use of chemical weapons this week, a war against a sovereign country is certainly not the answer. As we learned in Iraq, once started there is no telling where such a war will go and what impact it might have on the complete unravelling of the area. The Iraq war gave us ISIS and the destruction of a whole country. Who knows what this one will give us after all the triumphalism in Washington recedes.

If the Assad regime used chemical weapons, it is a hideous war crime and should be dealt with through the international criminal court. If the extremist militias that we and our allies support in Syria are responsible for the chemical attack, they and we should be brought before international tribunals.

Fact: The lives of Arab women and children are of no concern to this frightening administration in Washington. If we really want to protect the lives of thousands of women and children in the Middle East, all we have to do is to end our military and political support for Saudi Arabia’s savage destruction of Yemen and upcoming starvation campaign.

If Trump is so concerned about children being killed in gruesome ways, why is he killing so many of them in Yemen? Do we really want a Real Estate tycoon and Exxon’s CEO to decide who we go to war with (Syria) and whose wars we help in every way possible (Saudi Arabia)?

Trump’s war on Syria is a major breach of international and U.S. law that, at a minimum, calls for impeachment. Congress should come back into session immediately to stop this war and to debate our Syria policy. To do their job. But the only job that this congress knows how to do is wreak havoc on earth.

Of course they won’t, not now, as most of them have been aching for war with Syria for years. So we have to convince them to do so with every non-violent means at our disposal.

We can hope that last night’s attack was a one-shot deal. But that is most likely wishful thinking. More likely—especially if Trump gets away with it—is that last night’s attack is just the beginning of a process that leads to war with Iran. That is something that Al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia and Israel want. But that is not something that our country, or Iran, or the rest of the world need. A lot depends on us where things go from here. And that’s where we come in. We need to make common cause with other movements and mobilize the population around the cause of peace and love of our planet.

Where is Howard Zinn when we need him still again? It’s good to remember during these times when our leaders swagger and stoke war fever, what Howard told us. Remember, he said, “Our most deadly enemies are not in caves and compounds abroad but in corporate boardrooms and governmental offices where decisions are made that consign millions to death and misery (and we might add consign the planet to climate catastrophe) – not deliberately, but as the collateral damage of the lust for profit and power”

And as for you Raytheon and Exxon. We won’t forget your crimes.

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