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President Trump's War Power Delusions

Doug Bandow
Reuters

Doug Bandow

Security, Americas

Donald Trump claims that he has right to unilaterally and irresponsibly go to war at his discretion. His aides appear to be creatively justifying that stance.

President Trump's War Power Delusions

We should celebrate the fact that President Donald Trump stepped back from war with Iran. But he followed up with even more violent rhetoric and the claim that he wasn’t even required to notify Congress of his plans, let alone to seek its authorization to launch military strikes. However, the decision for war is not his to make.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took a different approach. He claimed that war with Iran would be covered by the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force in response to Al Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11. That argument may be even worse since it subverts the Constitution through misdirection and deception.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a malign actor but that hardly sets it apart in the Middle East. To the contrary, Washington has consistently allied and partnered itself with malicious regional governments with malicious governments. In 1953, the United States helped overthrow the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, replacing it with the autocratic Shah. He had his own geopolitical ambitions, which he put before those of the United States. He also began the country’s nuclear program. Thus, if Iran ever develops nuclear weapons, then it will be a Persian bomb rather than an Islamic bomb, and the United States should consider itself the midwife.

By almost every standard, Saudi Arabia is worse than Iran.

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