Could Trump start a war with Iran without congressional authorization?
Regardless of how you would answer that question, the Trump regime may believe they already have congressional authorization.
The New York Times reports that Trump regime officials have been emphasizing a supposed relationship between Iran and Al Qaeda during classified briefings with members of Congress. And if that relationship is established, Trump could use the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to legally support an attack on Iranian forces.
As tensions between the United States and Iran have surged, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon officials have told members of Congress and aides in recent weeks about what they suggest is a pattern of ties between Iran and the terrorist group going back to after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, officials said.
They have stopped short of telling lawmakers or aides in large group settings that the 2001 authorization for the use of military force from Congress, which permits the United States to wage war on Al Qaeda and its allies or offshoots, would allow the Trump administration to go to war with Iran. [...]
But statements tying Iran and Al Qaeda by Mr. Pompeo and other officials point to the potential for the administration to justify invoking the 2001 authorization, some lawmakers say. And when asked in recent weeks by lawmakers and journalists whether the administration would use the 2001 authorization, Mr. Pompeo has deflected the questions.
I want to take a brief trip down memory lane to 2015.
In 2015, President Obama sought the passage of a new AUMF that would have explicitly authorized the campaign against ISIS while also prohibiting future administrations from launching wars of adventure like we saw during the Bush administration. And how did that turn out?
Congress did not pass a new AUMF and some Republicans even accused of President Obama of wanting a new AUMF that would allow him to help our enemies, not defeat them.
The failure to curtail the war-making powers of the White House during the Obama administration is just one example among many others way in which President Obama's ability to reform the government was constrained by a obstructive Congress. And we're still paying for their obstruction.
I don't think the Trump regime will initiate a war with Iran, but I can't say it would surprise me if they do.