Obama Introduces Resolution to Halt Rush to War with Iran
Yesterday evening, U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) introduced Senate Joint Resolution 23, a legislative proposal specifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by any previous action of Congress. This would include the authorization of the use of force against Iraq; the recently passed Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which states that our military presence in Iraq should be used to counter Iran; and any resolution previously adopted by Congress.
"There is absolutely no reason to trust that this Administration will not use existing congressional authorization to justify military action against Iran," said Senator Obama. "The Iraq War authorization and the recently passed Kyl-Lieberman amendment have opened the door to an attack on Iran, and Congress must now shut that door. We need aggressive diplomacy and economic pressure, which is why I support sanctions on Iran. Those efforts must not be linked to the use of our military presence in Iraq and the region, because we have seen what this Administration does when you trust them to do the right thing but give them an opening to do the wrong thing."
Given concerns about the Bush Administration's expansive view of executive authority, and the likelihood that any attack on Iran would come from our military presence already in Iraq and the region, this resolution is necessary to remove any suggestion that Kyl-Lieberman or any other existing provision of law or resolution authorizes the President to attack Iran. Instead, the President will have to get specific statutory authorization from the Congress to use force against Iran.
The text of the joint resolution is below:
Clarifying that the use of force against Iran is not authorized by the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law.
Whereas the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq (Public Law 107-243) authorized the President "to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq";
Whereas, on September 26, 2007, the Senate agreed to a provision, Senate Amendment 3017 to Senate Amendment 2011 to H.R. 1585, stating the sense of the Senate that, "the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region";
Whereas, on September 26, 2007, the Senate also stated the sense of the Senate "that it is a critical national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq";
Whereas, on October 25, 2007, the Department of State designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction under Executive Order 13382 in relation to concerns about their role in proliferation activities;
Whereas, on October 25, 2007, the Department of the Treasury also designated 9 IRGC-affiliated entities and 5 IRGC-affiliated individuals, as derivatives of the IRGC, as well as Iran's state-owned Bank Melli and Bank Mellat and 3 individuals affiliated with Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), as proliferators of weapons of mass destruction or supporters of terrorism under Executive Order 13382;
Whereas, on October 25, 2007, the Department of the Treasury also designated the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) as a supporter of terrorism for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, and designated Iran's state-owned Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier, under Executive Order 13224; and
Whereas any offensive military action taken by the United States against Iran must be explicitly authorized by Congress: Now therefore be it
Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That nothing in the Authorization for the Use of Force Against Iraq (Public Law 107-243), any act that serves as the statutory authority for Executive Order 13382 or Executive Order 13224, any resolution previously adopted, or any other provision of law including the terms of Executive Order 13382 or Executive Order 13224 shall be construed to authorize, encourage, or in any way address the use of Armed Forces of the United States against Iran.