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Petitioning Senator Bernie Sanders and 5 others

Pledge not to shoot down Russian planes

In the 2016 US presidential election, many candidates have called for creating a so-called "no-fly zone" over Syria. A no-fly zone is being presented as a middle-ground solution to the Syrian civil war. However, military experts say a no-fly zone would be a massive military operation, and the idea of a no-fly zone over Syria has been ruled out by the Obama administration.

Most importantly, a no-fly zone means threatening to shoot down any planes that violate it. In the context of Syria, that would include shooting down Russian planes, if Russia were still conducting bombing missions in Syria as it has been since October 2015. When presidential candidates who support a no-fly zone have been asked whether they would shoot down Russian planes over Syria, they have often avoided answering directly, but it is difficult not to read their words as admitting that that is what their campaign promise would entail.

We believe that shooting down Russian planes under these circumstances would be profoundly reckless, and that it is irresponsible for presidential candidates to engage in such talk, even as an empty election-year promise. We call on all current US presidential candidates to pledge that if elected, they will not order the US military to shoot down Russian planes under any circumstances where those planes do not pose a direct threat to the United States or any country which the United States is pledged to protect.

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