With Iran War Looming, Congress Has Been Left Out
Sen. Kaine introduces resolution to block the war
(January 3, 2020) — Congress has never authorized the use of military force against Iran, and in the initial House version of the 2020 NDAA, it was explicitly noted that there is no authorization for that war. But Thursday night rolled around, and the Trump Administration attacked and killed Iran’s top general in a strike on Baghdad International Airport.
An unauthorized attack, but it’s more than that, as Congress was neither consulted about nor informed of Thursday’s attack. That’s par for the course for an administration that has scorned the very idea of Congressional authority in war-making time and again.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is saying he’s trying to set up a classified, closed-door briefing about the attack. That’s well after the fact, and McConnell already followed the Senate hawks in endorsing the killing before even getting such a briefing. It’s not clear, then, what the point would even be.
More to the point, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) is introducing a resolution aimed at blocking the war, saying that the administration must not attack Iran without an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). There is no sign an AUMF is being considered.
The Kaine resolution would require a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate in practice, otherwise it would face the fate of similar resolutions on the unauthorized Yemen War, being vetoed by Trump.
And while it may be an uphill battle to muster a two-thirds majority in the Senate to oppose the Iran War, the fact that they’re trying at all is at least indication that there is some debate that will be had on the new war. America may not have gotten this debate before the US attacked, but there will be a chance to express disapproval for the conflict.
The Trump Administration likely appreciates that this war they’re careening toward would be unpopular, which is why officials have styled their killings as “defensive” actions, and why President Trump’s statement claimed he attacked the Baghdad Airport to “stop a war.” This will allow them to pretend this was something other than a plain war of choice.
New US War Crime: Iraq Reports US Airstrike Hit Convoy of Medics
(January 3, 2020) —With Iraq and the region still reeling after Thursday night’s US drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport, an attack which killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani as well as top members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), a new US strike was reported Friday night.
Iraqi state media identified the new attack as another US airstrike, near the Taji stadium north of Baghdad. The attack hit a convoy of medics, destroying two medical vans, and killing at least six people, also identified as medical personnel.
Reports suggest that the attack was intended to target a commander within the PMU, and while they declined to say who they thought the US was trying to kill, Twitter reports after the strike initially claimed Ahl al-Haq leader Qais al-Khazali had been killed. This has since been denied, and it appears no PMU commanders were even present in the convoy.
US officials have yet to comment on the Friday attack, and it is likely to be difficult for them to explain attacking a medical convoy. After claiming the Thursday strike was meant to “stop a war,” Trump will struggle to argue bombing medical vans as comparably justifiable.
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