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ACTION ALERT: Stop the Rush for a New War in Iraq


June 27, 2014
Just Foreign Policy & Tom Hayden / The Peace & Justice Exchange Bulletin & Robert Naiman / The Huffington Post

Some press reports have suggested that the US could begin airstrikes in Iraq at any time. Our best tool to stop this is to press President Obama to come to Congress for authorization before using military force, as required by the US Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/act/lee-rigell-stop-rush-to-Iraq-war

ACTION ALERT: Stop the Rush for a New War in Iraq
Robert Naiman and Megan Iorio / Just Foreign Policy

(June 26, 2014) -- Some press reports have suggested that the US could begin airstrikes in Iraq at any time. Our best tool to stop this is to press President Obama to come to Congress for authorization before using military force, as required by the US Constitution and the War Powers Resolution.

Pressing the President to come to Congress for authorization was essential to stopping the US from going to war in Syria last year.

ACTION:Urge your Representative to join in pressing President Obama to come to Congress, by signing our petition at MoveOn:

THE PETITION:
Join Barbara Lee & Scott Rigell to Stop Rush to Iraq War

Petition by Robert Naiman
To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives


Members of Congress should insist that President Obama come to Congress for authorization as required by the U.S. Constitution before using military force in Iraq by signing the bipartisan letter led by California Democrat Barbara Lee and Virginia Republican Scott Rigell.

California Democrat Barbara Lee and Virginia Republican Scott Rigell have initiated a bipartisan letter to President Obama, pressing him to respect the Constitutional requirement to come to Congress for authorization before using military force.

Urge your Representative to sign the Lee-Rigell letter by signing and sharing our petition. The petition will be automatically delivered to your Representative when you sign.

Thank you for helping us stop the rush to war.



Invoke the War Powers Vote
Tom Hayden / The Peace & Justice Exchange Bulletin

(June 20, 2014) -- The House Majority has voted to demand that President Barack Obama seek Iraq war approval under War Powers Resolution. This leaves Obama with three choices: defying Congress with word games over the "advisers" he is sending to Iraq; complying with the War Powers Resolution reporting requirements and timelines; or pulling back to avoid a constitutional conflict with the Congress, as he did in the clash with Syria.

A rush of messages and letters from the grassroots appears to have motivated many House members to join a voice vote on Friday. The final count is at the UFPJ legislative action site. Since it's hard for Democratic liberals to oppose the president, constant messages from their districts are helpful.

Ron Paul-Republicans can be expected to stand up on the War Powers issue, but both parties are led by politicians who think it's expedient to be hawkish, until, of course, it's not.

On the Democratic side, the hawks included Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, Rep. Julia Brownley, Rep. Jim Costa, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Eliot Engel, Rep. Jim Moran, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Rep. Steve Israel. All voted “No” on Rep. Barbara Lee's amendment to block funding for combat in Iraq.


The President Has No Mandate to Bomb Iraq or Syria
Robert Naiman / The Huffington Post

(June 20,2014) -- At this writing, President Obama has neither the legal nor the political mandate to conduct airstrikes in Iraq or Syria.

On Thursday night, 182 Members of the House voted yes on Representative Barbara Lee's amendment defunding the use of the 2002 Iraq Authorization for the Use Military Force. Among those 182 Members were 151 Democrats -- 81 percent of the Democrats voting -- including Minority Leader Pelosi and House Minority Whip Hoyer. By voting yes on Rep. Lee's amendment, these Members of the House affirmed that they oppose invocation of the Iraq AUMF to justify U.S. military action in Iraq today.

182 was not a majority of Members voting. But it is similar to the number of Members of the House -- 192 -- who urged President Obama to come to Congress for authorization before bombing Syria last August.

Some people claim that President Obama has the legal authority to bomb Iraq under the 2002 Iraq AUMF or under the 2001 AUMF passed after the September 11 attacks. Among other places, this claim is refuted here and here.

But regardless of whether we can agree that President Obama does not have the authority to bomb Iraq or Syria in a legal sense, as a political matter he should come to Congress for authorization anyway.

Indeed, when President Obama came to Congress for authorization to bomb Syria, he never conceded that he was legally bound to do so. He only conceded that it was appropriate to do so.

This is what President Obama said on August 31:

Our military has positioned assets in the region. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has informed me that we are prepared to strike whenever we choose. Moreover, the Chairman has indicated to me that our capacity to execute this mission is not time-sensitive; it will be effective tomorrow, or next week, or one month from now. And I'm prepared to give that order.

But having made my decision as Commander-in-Chief based on what I am convinced is our national security interests, I'm also mindful that I'm the President of the world's oldest constitutional democracy.

I've long believed that our power is rooted not just in our military might, but in our example as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. And that's why I've made a second decision: I will seek authorization for the use of force from the American people's representatives in Congress.


Over the last several days, we've heard from members of Congress who want their voices to be heard. I absolutely agree. So this morning, I spoke with all four congressional leaders, and they've agreed to schedule a debate and then a vote as soon as Congress comes back into session.

In the coming days, my administration stands ready to provide every member with the information they need to understand what happened in Syria and why it has such profound implications for America's national security. And all of us should be accountable as we move forward, and that can only be accomplished with a vote. [...]

Yet, while I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorization, I know that the country will be stronger if we take this course, and our actions will be even more effective.

We should have this debate, because the issues are too big for business as usual.
And this morning, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell agreed that this is the right thing to do for our democracy.

If that was true of bombing Syria then, it is true of bombing Iraq or Syria now. Many Members of the House are extremely wary of deeper US military involvement in Iraq or Syria.

On Thursday night the House passed by voice vote the Conyers-Yoho amendment prohibiting the administration from transferring MANPADS to insurgents in Syria, and 167 Members voted for Rep. Fortenberry's amendment to prohibit all weapons transfers to insurgents in Syria.

Before using military force in Iraq or Syria, the President should come to Congress with a specific plan and get explicit Congressional approval for it.

You can tell President Obama and Congress that there should be a full and public Congressional debate and vote before the President uses force in Iraq here.


Obstructing A Chosen Path
The Peace & Justice Exchange Bulletin

(June 21, 2014) -- Are Israel and the Israeli Lobby the major obstacle to US-Iran deals over Iraq, Afghanistan and a nuclear power agreement? It appears so, just as Israel and Saudi Arabia lobbied hard for the military coup and massive suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

As the killings continue, someone should ask whether it's wise policy to overthrow Islamists who have chosen a political path. Doesn't that justify revolutionary jihad as the sole alternative for millions of Sunni Muslims in Syria and Iraq? Senator Patrick Leahy should be supported in his lonely effort to prevent US taxpayer dollars flowing to the new dictator in Cairo.

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