Same Shit, Different Decade

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

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.

  • Christopher Foxx

    but I can’t say it would surprise me if they do.

    I’ll be incredibly surprised it they don’t. They’ve clearly been laying the groundwork for a while now.

    • waspuppet

      Everyone around Trump clearly wants one. Trump himself is going the domestic-abuser route of “Well, I didn’t WANT to, but by having the temerity to not do exactly as I say you’re leaving me no choice.”

      • Christopher Foxx

        “Look what you made me do.” is the most pathetic excuse ever given for anything.

        Anytime anyone uses it I just want to rip their arms off an beat them with them, yelling “Look what you made me do!!” just so maybe they get it.

  • muselet

    It took me literally five seconds to find the Wikipedia article on al-Qaeda and confirm for myself that it is “a militant Sunni Islamist multi-national organization.”

    Another five seconds and Wikipedia helpfully informed me that the official state religion of Iran is Twelver Shia Islam.

    Mike Pompeo and those conveniently-anonymous “Pentagon officials” are as full of shit as a goose. A Shia nation like Iran is not going to be in cahoots with a bunch of Sunni terrorists like al-Qaeda, full stop; it’s a bit like claiming that during The Troubles, the IRA and the UDL were coordinating their attacks because they were both Christian organizations.

    Unfortunately, there are all too many Congresscritters who won’t take those ten seconds—and won’t ask their staffers to do so, either—to find out why the administration’s claims are clearly, demonstrably false. (And don’t get me started on the economic blockade the Trump administration put in place against Iran, which can reasonably be described as an act of war.)


    • Christopher Foxx

      Unfortunately, there are all too many Congresscritters who won’t take those ten seconds—and won’t ask their staffers to do so, either—to find out why the administration’s claims are clearly, demonstrably false.

      Nor will the news reporters.

      (Can’t call them journalists these days, since all they do is literally just report what they’re told. “Not our job to call out falsehoods.”)

      • muselet

        You’re right, of course.