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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks at a news conference. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Sanders Launches Petition Urging Lawmakers to Block Military Action Against Iran Without Congressional Approval

War with Iran, warned the senator and 2020 candidate, "will be an unmitigated disaster."

Jessica Corbett

As heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran continue to provoke warnings of potential war, Sen. Bernie Sanders released a petition Thursday calling on federal lawmakers to "pass legislation that would prohibit military action against Iran without congressional approval."

"A war in Iran would make the Iraq war look like a walk in the park. It will be an unmitigated disaster," Sanders tweeted Thursday evening from his presidential campaign account.

The petition followed the senator's impassioned online address Tuesday night, during which he declared, "The United States Congress must do everything it can to prevent the Trump administration's attempts to put us on the brink of a catastrophic and unconstitutional war with Iran that could lead to even more deaths than the Iraq War."

Sanders also referenced the devastating U.S. war with Iraq in an email encouraging supporters of his presidential campaign to sign the petition:

[It] is almost beyond impossible to imagine that after the horrors of the war in Iraq—a war that upended the regional order of the Middle East and resulted in an untold loss of life—that this administration would put us on such a dangerous path toward more war. But every day we see a new story about how this administration is trying provoke conflict, like sending huge bombers to the region, or raising the possibility of sending more than 100,000 troops.

Apparently for some, almost two decades of constant war is not enough.

Well, unfortunately for this president and people like John Bolton who love endless wars, the constitutional authority for declaring war rests with the United States Congress—not the president—no matter if that president is a Democrat or a Republican.

The senator's call to halt President Donald Trump's march to war with Iran comes as foreign policy experts and peace advocates challenge his administration's narrative of a supposedly increasing Iranian threat. Critics charge that the president, Bolton—Trump's national security adviser—and other hawkish aides are to blame for the recent escalations, rather than Iranian officials.

Although Trump reportedly told Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan earlier this week that he does not want to go to war with Iran, his administration's moves over the past two weeks suggest otherwise. Such moves, as Common Dreams reported, include Bolton using "the scheduled deployment of an American aircraft carrier and bomber task force to the Middle East to threaten Iran with military action."

Sanders, in his Thursday email, countered the Trump administration's approach to Iran, writing that "real American power is not demonstrated by our ability to blow things up, but our ability to forge international consensus around shared challenges."


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