This afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives is due to vote on a resolution (PDF text here) that, in the wake of the United States’ killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani would direct the President “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran or any part of its government or military” unless either Congress has declared war or “such use of the Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack… “
Voting on this resolution is expected to take place later this after (EST). This is the most serious attempt Congress has made to assert its constitutionally mandate power to declare war since it passed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolution of Octo0ber 2002, which authorized the President to launch the invasion of Iraq five months later. Since then, the military operations that successive presidents have authorized in the Middle East have been bundled and justified under that AUMF.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi launched this new legislative initiative in response to the assassination of Gen. Soleimani in the early hours of January 3, Baghdad time, which sparked widespread fears of the kind of serious Iranian response that might catapult the Middle East and indeed the world into a conflict of apocalyptical proportions.
In response, a group of eminent American intellectuals led by Professors Noam Chomsky and Richard Falk and veteran antiwar activist Daniel Ellsberg issued a stirring public letter calling on Congress to, “fulfill its most solemn constitutional responsibility, and impose effective restraints on the war-making actions of this impeached president.”
This, the letters’ signatories noted,
is a moment when partisan politics should be put aside, not only for the sake of national interests but for the benefit of humanity – -we should realize that these unilateral actions by the United States have put the entire world at risk. It is also a moment when Republicans as well as Democrats must stand up for a sane foreign policy, and for diplomacy and peace instead of aggression and war, and fulfill their duties as Members of Congress.
Just World Educational is proud that Richard Falk is a member of our Board of Directors. Another JWE leader, President Helena Cobban, has also been working actively on the US-Iran issue over the past ten days, in her capacity as an expert analyst of Middle eastern and strategic affairs.
Ms. Cobban published two timely analyses of the US-Iran confrontation on the “Responsible Statecraft” site:
- Can escalation be prevented in Iraq? (Jan. 1)
- World poised on post-Soleimani knife-edge. Possible off-ramp emerges? (Jan. 6)
Most recently, yesterday (January 8) she published this commentary, Trump and Khamenei de-escalate. Political struggle inside Iraq continues on her personal “Just World News” blog.
(The image at the head of this blog-post is a satellite image published by the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey that shows the precision with which Iranian missiles hit unmanned facilities in the U.S. Ain al-Assad base in Western Iraq, on the night of January 7.)