OCALA, Fla., September 13, 2013 — As the debate over whether or not the United States should take military action against Syria continues, an interesting fact has been uncovered about many U.S. Senators supportive of such a conflict.
Last week, David Martosko of the English newspaper Daily Mail reported that a “10-7 vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee supporting an authorization of military attacks on Syria may have been affected by varying levels of financial support the senators got from political action committees representing the defense industry, and from the companies’ employees.”
“The ten Senate Foreign Relations Committee members who voted to attack Syria received 83 percent more campaign contributions from defense contractors than the seven senators who voted against it, according to analysis from Maplight.org,” wrote Brendan Bordelon of The Daily Caller.
He continued: “Examining data from 2007 to 2012, the analysts found that the average senator who voted “yes” on the authorization of the use of military force took $72,850 from defense contractors and other defense industry interests. Senators who voted “no” received just $39,770 on average.”
The role which special interest groups play in American politics has long been criticized.
Earlier this year, Josh Silver of Represent Us, an anti-corruption watchdog group, told The Washington Times Communities that “(w)hen federal elections cost over $6 billion, politicians from both major parties become dependent on donors instead of everyday Americans. As disgraced superlobbyist Jack Abramoff says, ‘Contributions from lobbyists and special interests to public servants are bribes.’
“These bribes cause politicians to advance policies that are great for those interests and very bad for the vast majority of Americans. The politics of obstruction and polarization become their only option: accuse the other party of being radical and destructive in order to distract and confuse the public. The irony is that both Republican and Democrat leaders are selling out the public every day while attacking the other party, all while majorities of Americans are suffering.”
In the same interview, Silver went on to mention that “(i)t isn’t just corrupt transactions that wreck the legislative process. It is the culture of common understanding by both major parties that identifies organized money as the most important form of power. At the beginning of every significant policy debate in Congress, the first set of questions is not about the right answer; it is about which moneyed forces will take what positions and how that will impact the effort.”
President Obama and some members of Congress support a strike on Syria due to allegations of its embattled leader, President Bashar al-Assad, using chemical weapons against Syrians. Since the landlocked Middle Eastern nation has taken no military action against the United States, some say that attacking it would be criminal.
“The post-World War II Nuremburg tribunal championed by the United States established the principle that war not justified by self-defense, i.e., a response to an actual or imminent attack, constitutes the crime of aggression,” former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein pointed out in a recent Huffington Post article. “Syria has neither attacked the United States nor threatens to do so. United States military action against Syria to maintain national prestige or otherwise would be a war crime.”
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