The carefulness you’d hope for in a president of the United States is consistently largely absent from the Trump administration, in which Donald Trump and his closest advisers continue to strike out alone, abandoning standard. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the president’s team this week for escalating tensions with Iran without offering any sort of comprehensive reason why and issued a public reminder that if they proceed to war, they would be violating the law.
‘The responsibility in the Constitution is for Congress to declare war. So I hope that the president’s advisers recognize they have no authorization to go forward in any way.’
That’s not exactly ambiguous. Watch her newest press conference:
She insisted that the authorization for military force that Congress passed ahead of the Afghanistan war — which proceeds to this day — would not be applicable to any sort of conflict with Iran. It’s already been contorted to cover military operations as far away from the original conflict venue as Syria, where the United States has (mostly) been fighting the Islamic State terror group, which constitutes a related issue to the original, familiar al Qaeda threat.
Despite the lack of any kind of Congressional go-ahead, the Trump administration has been reviewing plans for military confrontation with Iran and taken a handful of suspicious tangible steps that direction. They’ve newly deployed an aircraft carrier, strategic bombers, and other military assets to the Middle East, and options on the table for a potential worst-case scenario include upping the number of troops in the area by tens of thousands, putting it at or above a full 100,000 to 120,000. That step would be undertaken in the case of a direct attack on American interests or a decisive Iranian step towards a nuclear weapon, officials say.
Trump has said he “hopes” the United States doesn’t end up at war with Iran but has already tightened the country’s pressure on Iran through other means. He has withdrawn from the monumental Iran nuclear deal, which entailed the re-institution of tough sanctions against the country that Iranian leaders have asked European deal partners for help in addressing. His administration has also declared the Iranian army branch known as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, among other things.
Pelosi wants answers and for Congress to be able to respond to the situation without having to rely on hearsay and three-word responses the president offers to reporters. Discussing the lack of briefings on the situation and related issues, she shared:
‘This is part of a pattern that’s not right because we have responsibilities… We’re hoping that, for sure before the break, we’ll have a classified briefing on the Middle East, on Iran, for the full House of Representatives. We will have one for the Gang of Eight later this afternoon, but that is no substitute for the full membership of the Congress, having that access.’
Pelosi herself is a member of the so-called “Gang of Eight” consisting of Congressional leaders. She’s at least partly seeing her demands become a reality just this next week, when the full Senate will get a briefing on the Trump administration’s plans for Iran organized by the foreign relations committee.
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