Last night, President Trump ordered the illegal assassination by drone strike on multiple people—including Qasem Soleimani—arguably Iran’s top military official.1 Multiple analysts from around the world are interpreting Trump’s actions as an effective declaration of war on Iran.2
And all of this warmongering is in blatant violation of both international law, and the constitutional mandate that Congress is granted the power to declare war—not a single reckless President, acting alone and awaiting trial post-impeachment.3
Multiple members of Congress, like Reps. Ilhan Omar and Ro Khanna, have signaled that they’re willing to use whatever constitutional powers they have to stop this rush to war before it gets underway.
They’re stepping up. But the vast majority of Congress is seemingly lying low on whether or not they’ll take action to stop this war before it starts.
Mainstream U.S. media is already, of course, back at pushing for war—whether it’s CNBC4 or the New York Times.5 And it’s giving some of us flashbacks to 18 years ago.
The parallels with the run-up to the invasion of Iraq are undeniable, and, for some of us, deeply traumatic.
In 2003, everyone in the United States warning that the invasion of Iraq would be a disaster was shunned as unpatriotic or even a traitor.
The consequences have been catastrophic for the world: the rise of Daesh, the immense violence that has engulfed so much of the region, the hundreds of thousands of murdered civilians in Iraq, the tens of millions of Iraqis left behind in a deeply destabilized Iraq...
All of it was avoidable. All of it.
Right now, we have two big forces on our side:
1. Public opinion—unlike 2003, the idea of the U.S. going to war with is massively unpopular with the US public.6
2. Some members of Congress are actually making the case against war, and making it clear they intend to stop it if possible.
If we organize and channel the force of public opinion, we have a fighting chance at stopping this war before it begins. We must signal to our other members of Congress that we’re paying attention, and demand they stop this war and assert their proper congressional authority.
There’s already legislation they can refer to. A few weeks back, Rep. Khanna asked Congress to add safeguards to its annual authorization for military spending to ensure no military action towards Iran without congressional approval. It didn’t get a lot of attention—and even so, it almost passed.7
This is about holding off a needless catastrophe that will hurt the Iranian people first and most of all, and endanger people all across the world. Let us all remember that war has never brought anything to the people other than trauma, death, displacement, and longstanding violence.
People have been suffering the consequences of Trump’s impulsive decision-making for months, while also bravely fighting for liberation within their own country.
1. "Well, that escalated quickly," Foreign Exchanges, 02 Jan 2020
2. "Trump Just Declared War on Iran," Slate, 03 Jan 2020
3. "Democrats alarmed by 'massive escalation' with Iran, lack of consultation with Congress," The Hill, 03 Jan 2020
4. "The killing of Qasem Soleimani shows America has not learned from the Iraq war," New Statesman, 03 Jan 2020
5. The first NYT Opinion reaction [to the assasination] is just gleeful celebration of it," Twitter, 03 Jan 2020
6. "Swing-state poll: Voters wary of new military operations," Politico, 25 Jun 2019
7. "Four Years Ago, Trump Had No Clue Who Iran’s Suleimani Was. Now He May Have Kicked Off WWIII," The Intercept, 03 Jan 2020
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