Progressive foreign policy groups are condemning President Donald Trump for recklessly keeping the U.S. "on the war path" Wednesday by vetoing a bipartisan resolution that would have barred him from attacking Iran without congressional approval.
"Once again Donald Trump has gone out of his way to trample both the powers of Congress and the will of the people, all in order to bring us closer to a catastrophic war with Iran and distract from his failures to address this global pandemic," Stephen Miles, executive director of Win Without War, said in a statement late Wednesday.
"Now is the time to rein in U.S. militarism, not risk another war."
—Stephen Miles, Win Without War
"The Covid-19 crisis should be a wake-up call: the war-first foreign policy status quo has made the world less safe, not more," said Miles. "Now is the time to rein in U.S. militarism, not risk another war."
Trump announced his decision to veto Sen. Tim Kaine's (D-Va.) Iran War Powers Resolution with a statement calling the measure "insulting" and "part of a strategy to win an election on November 3 by dividing the Republican Party."
The president insisted that the U.S. is not currently "engaged in the use of force against Iran" and said his January assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike in Baghdad was "fully authorized by law"—a claim legal experts have disputed.
Trump's veto statement on the bill saying he lacks authority to attack Iran basically says that presidents can make preventive war without Congressional approval.https://t.co/HLTovdZlCK pic.twitter.com/4SX32hO9Ej
— Ben Friedman (@BH_Friedman) May 6, 2020
The Senate is expected to vote Thursday afternoon on whether to override Trump's veto. A two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate is required to override a presidential veto.
Trump's veto came two weeks after the president said he instructed the U.S. Navy to "shoot down and destroy" any Iranian vessels that "harass" American ships in the Persian Gulf, further heightening the possibility of all out war.
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Kaine urged his fellow senators to join him in voting to override Trump's veto on Thursday. "Congress must vote before sending our troops into harm's way," the Virginia Democrat tweeted.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) echoed Kaine's call:
Trump said “great nations do not fight endless wars,” and yet he has now vetoed two bipartisan War Powers Resolutions to keep us in those wars.
Congress must continue its efforts to rein in this lawless president. https://t.co/ISC32gS6UO
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) May 7, 2020
Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said in a statement Wednesday that Congress "can't afford to take its eye off the ball" amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The U.S. and Iran are still a spark away from conflagration," said Abdi. "Congress should seek to pass this resolution again and overcome the presidential veto, whether by overriding or inserting war prohibitions into a must-pass bill later this year."
Abdi also urged Congress to repeal the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iraq that the Trump administration cited as a legal justification for the assassination of Soleimani.
"After two years of failure following Trump's decision to abrogate the nuclear deal, now should be a time for the administration to take stock, consider the unacceptable consequences of war amid pandemic, and recalibrate its Iran approach," said Abdi. "That should start with a humanitarian lifting of key Iran sanctions, as has been called for by the U.N. and other actors, and a return to diplomacy."