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An Open Letter to the United States Senate on Iran: Please Limit Presidential Power

An Open Letter to the United States Senate on Iran: Please Limit Presidential Power

To our respected Senators (and dear fellow citizens of the United States and the world):

Peace and blessings.

First of all, thank you for your devoted service to our country. It is impossible for someone like me to know the challenge of serving our country at the level of government you have achieved. I am certain you have extensive knowledge of our Constitution, our history, and both domestic and foreign affairs. Therefore, you are well aware of the legal developments over the years which make President Trump’s decision to authorize an airstrike to kill General Soleimani, the second highest ranking Iranian official, unlawful.

As you well know, our government began with the intention of having checks and balances. Congress would have the power to declare war, which would mean that it was a decision of many people, not just one individual. Following the terrible events of September 11, 2001, Congress enacted the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF 2001), which allowed the President to unilaterally take action to fight terrorism. In 2002, again Congress enacted another Authorization for Use of Military Force to allow the President to take action unilaterally in Iraq, with virtually no oversight or approval by Congress.

These two laws have been used by subsequent administrations — Bush, Obama, and Trump — to take military action in 19 countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria. The list goes on.

Now, in this last week, Trump has taken action to kill a major foreign leader, an act of war that could potentially trigger a series of events that spiral totally out of control.

In July of 2019, the Trump administration reassured the Congress that the AUMF would not be utilized to take military action against Iran. Recently, a bill was signed into law by Trump which originally had a clause designed to make sure he could go back on his word. However, the Senate stripped this clause from the final bill. Repeatedly, attempts have been made to introduce legislation that would limit presidential power to wage war without first seeking the support and authorization of Congress, and all of these attempts have failed.

Now, in this last week, Trump has taken action to kill a major foreign leader, an act of war that could potentially trigger a series of events that spiral totally out of control. In light of the possible events that this decision could trigger, it is at the forefront of my mind that Trump could conceivably use the exact same justification for his next moves, which may include anything. It could even include a nuclear strike under the justification that it neutralizes the terrorist which was declared on April 15, 2019, when the United States officially designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.

Let me reiterate: It is entirely possible that the President will choose to issue a nuclear strike with the exact same justification he used to eliminate a foreign official in a sovereign nation. Pence has already tweeted a brazen lie linking Iran to 9/11, which has absolutely no factual basis. Isn’t it clear to see what’s happening? Trump’s administration is setting up a tsunami of propaganda to start a war with Iran based on AUMF laws from nearly 20 years ago, a justification that has no basis in fact, right, or international law.

The idea that our arsenal of over 6000 nuclear weapons is at the discretion of a single individual is morally, ethically, and Constitutionally unacceptable.

You, our Congress, have the ability to stop these actions. Please, I urge you to listen to reason, common sense, and your conscience. Reassert Congressional control over the war powers of the United States government. The idea that our arsenal of over 6000 nuclear weapons is at the discretion of a single individual is morally, ethically, and Constitutionally unacceptable.

Please, take action to check the power of the White House, as it should be checked, according to our Constitution.

At an absolute minimum, we urge you, Congress, to block funding for war with Iran by supporting and co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Representative Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).

Introduced on Friday, June 3, the legislation would “prohibit any funding for offensive military force in or against Iran without prior congressional authorization.”

See Also

I want to express my strongest support for congressional efforts to bar the Trump Administration from taking further steps toward an illegal and unnecessary war on Iran.

The measure was previously introduced as the bipartisan “Prohibition of Unauthorized Military Force in or Against Iran” amendment to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act and had passed in the U.S. House by a 251-margin vote. As stated above, however, the measure was stripped from the final version of the bill.

We urge you to take action on this with the utmost speed before this situation deteriorates any further. We urge you to take measures to push for an improvement in diplomatic ties between the United States and Iran with whatever means necessary.

I want to express my strongest support for congressional efforts to bar the Trump Administration from taking further steps toward an illegal and unnecessary war on Iran. I call on Congress to stand firm against the Trump administration’s ongoing march to an unnecessary and unconstitutional war with Iran. This is not a case of taking sides. This is a long necessitated curbing of unfettered presidential power.

With endless hope for peace and a better world,

— A Concerned U.S. Citizen.

Follow Sarah Huxtable Mohr on Twitter!

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
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