The United States aggression against the people of Syria is as much an affront to human rights and humanitarian values as it is to international law and standards of common decency.
I have visited Syria numerous times over the years, including several times during the current violence in the country. As a lawyer, I have also represented the Syrian government in the United States courts. As an American, and former Attorney General of the United States, I have many Syrian friends and great respect for the Syrian people. My heart goes out to the Syrians who were killed by this meaningless bombing of their country and to all the Syrians who were terrorized by this unwarranted act of aggression. It is especially sad that the majority of those killed have been reported to be civilians, among them four children. We killed more than a half million children in Iraq, do we not learn from our horrific mistakes.
There is no reason why we should continue to allow the tragedy that has been happening in Syria. No doubt the violence in the country is wrong, but it is the government of Syria that has the responsibility to end this violence. Our actions, instead of helping the Syrian government to end the violence, contribute to continued and heightened violence. We have long known that violence is not defused by more violence.
It is my hope that U.S. President Trump will act with more respect for the law and for human life. The illegal bombing of a foreign country in its first one hundred days in office sets a very bad precedent for a new administration. The United States should set a good example for the world by abiding by international law and by using the law to help end the violence in Syria and restore the government of Syria to control of the country. Even when peace is achieved—as it is being achieved by Syria with Russia and Iran’s help—the United States can continue to encourage social and economic development and human rights in Syria, but through cooperation, which I am sure will be much more effective. Aggression, on the other hand, usually leads to the greatest violations of human rights.
In my trips to Syria, the people of the country and its government have always shown me the utmost respect, I would hope that we would do the same for the Syrian people and their government in their own country. If we do, I am sure we will find some very good friends.