Democrats in Congress have set up a battle between the executive and legislative branches over who has – or should have – the authority to initiate U.S. military action. On Thursday, Jan. 9, the House of Representatives will vote on a concurrent resolution aimed at limiting President Donald Trump’s ability to authorize military action against Iran. The stakes are high because, while no president should have sole and unrestricted power to make war, America’s adversaries may be emboldened by the idea that the commander in chief of the U.S. military must seek congressional approval for all but the most urgent, defensive military actions.
One subtext, here, that is worthy of a major investigation is what interests Democrats have in Iran. The Obama administration bent over backward to appease Iran. There was nothing aboveboard about flying pallets of cash into Tehran in the middle of the night. The idea that there was nothing nefarious about this financial transaction – conducted in such a secretive and unorthodox manner – is ludicrous.
Was JCPOA All About the Benjamins?
Furthermore, the vociferous defense of the Iran deal, or JCPOA, by Democrats in the U.S. as well as by several foreign powers leads any rational observer to suspect that a lot of people were making a lot of money out of the deal. The Iranians themselves recently suggested that, if the other signatories withdrew from the agreement, they, the Iranians, would expose those who received payoffs to get the deal in place.
Now, Democrats appear to be willing to stop at nothing to prevent the president from taking military action against Iran. One can only wonder why it is that these American politicians are so protective of one of the most brutal, violent, and intolerant regimes on the planet.
Sending a Dangerous Message
Whether financial interests are at play or not, Democrats are playing a dangerous game by sending Iran a signal that they will tie Trump’s hands, making it more likely that Iran could strike American targets with impunity. It is worth noting that, according to the text of the House resolution, the president would not be powerless to act in the face of Iranian military aggression. The passing of the resolution, though, may lead the mullahs in Tehran to believe that a U.S. military response to future Iranian actions could be delayed and/or limited while Congress and the White House tussle over what should be done.
What the House will vote on is not a bill; it is not legislation. A concurrent resolution, in most cases, concerns the operation of Congress and is introduced in both chambers. Upon approval by the House and the Senate, it requires no action by the president but is signed by the Clerk of the House and Secretary of the Senate. Ultimately, then, it does not limit the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief, but it does give the president’s opponents an opportunity, in the future, to accuse the president of defying the will of Congress.
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) last week introduced their version of this war powers resolution. It appears that they may have enough Republican votes to pass it, assuming Mitch McConnell (R-KY) brings it up for a vote.
In all likelihood, it is only a matter of time before U.S. forces in the region once again face attacks by Iran or one of its surrogates and both the president’s and the Democrats’ resolve will be tested. When that time comes, the final question will be: Will Democrats be more concerned with protecting U.S. personnel and interests or will they use their resolution as a political weapon to set yet another impeachment trap for Trump, should he direct the military to respond to a future attack?
Read more from Graham J Noble.