January 03, 2020

Gillibrand Statement On Unauthorized Military Action Against Iran

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, today released the following statement on the unauthorized military action against Iran:

“Gen. Soleimani was directly responsible for the deaths of many Americans and our allies. But rather than making America and the world safer, President Trump’s impulsive actions have instead moved us closer to war.

“Without seeking congressional authorization or presenting any coherent or clear strategy, President Trump ordered military action that may precipitate another armed conflict in the Middle East. Escalating military actions against Iran has put our service members and Americans abroad in grave risk of retaliation by Iran and its proxies. It is troubling that Americans serving our country have been put in harm’s way again because President Trump did not carefully consider the devastating consequences of war with Iran before ordering this strike.

“Time and again, this president has acted recklessly and without strategy, escalating military risk, breaking his own promises, ignoring the precedent of the last two decades of war, disregarding allies, and throwing away our diplomatic wins. He has allowed North Korea to grow bolder with its nuclear ambitions, abandoned our Kurdish allies in Northern Syria, bullied Ukraine for political gain and has brought us to the brink of war with Iran. This reckless approach to national security and foreign affairs cannot be allowed to continue.

“President Trump must notify Congress immediately and seek authorization based on a clear explanation of the goals of military action, our adversaries and the countries where our service members would be sent into conflict. The Trump administration must brief Congress immediately on any military plans and what steps are being taken to safeguard Americans. And Congress must exercise its constitutional authority before it is too late.”

Senator Gillibrand introduced legislation earlier this year to restore Congress’s role in the nation’s war powers. The War Powers Reform Resolution would repeal the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force (AUMFs), which were passed to authorize military action, respectively, against September 11th terrorists hiding in Afghanistan and the perceived threat from Iraq. Additionally, Gillibrand’s legislation would require the president to provide Congress with a clear objective for military action; evidence that the use of the United States’ armed forces is necessary, appropriate, and proportional to the mission; a finite list of adversaries; and the names of the countries where the U.S. military will deploy. If U.S. forces remain beyond two years without Congressional approval, Congress would not provide operational funding. This would require any administration to come to Congress with adequate time before the two years is over to pass a new AUMF, if necessary.