For Immediate Release
May 22, 2018
Emily Latimer, (202) 604-2330
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) spoke on the floor today urging support for her amendment in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that upholds Congress’s constitutional power to declare war. The congresswoman’s amendment strikes the language of Section 1225 of the FY2019 NDAA that authorizes the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to develop and implement a strategy to counter the “destabilizing activities of Iran” and only afterwards inform Congress. The amendment will be on the House floor for a vote tomorrow, May 23.
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said:
“Make no mistake – the authorization in Section 1225 of the underlying bill authorizes our U.S. military to go to war with Iran, which is one of the main reasons why I voted against this bill in committee. This provision authorizes the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to ‘develop and implement a strategy with foreign partners to counter the destabilizing activities of Iran.’
“The provision does not define what destabilizing activities they want our troops and taxpayer dollars to counter. It does not define a clear objective or end-state for our troops to achieve. In addition, this provision shuts the American people out from this decision entirely by circumventing Congress’s constitutional responsibility to declare war and giving unilateral power and unending authorization to ‘counter Iran’ to this and future Administrations – without defining in any way, shape, or form what the objective really is.
“It sidelines Congress and the American people entirely, with the only requirement being that the Administration report to Congress after their plan is being implemented, and only for the next 4 years, while the authorization for war has no expiration date.
“It gives after-the-fact license for what is already happening in the Middle East. Since 2015, without express Congressional authorization, US troops have been providing direct military support to Saudi Arabia in Yemen through information sharing, logistical support, and refueling Saudi warplanes which have dropped U.S.-made bombs on Yemeni civilians. The most recent attack was on a Yemeni wedding party, with two rounds of bombing killing more than 20 people and wounding dozens of others. This Saudi-led interventionist war has created one of the worst humanitarian disasters in history, worsening a situation that has led to mass starvation, cholera outbreaks, devastation, thousands of civilian deaths, and tens of thousands of injuries.
“It gives total authority to the Administration to keep US troops in Syria, or any other country in the Middle East, as long as they deem it necessary – an intention clearly stated by members of this Administration. To name a few examples, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said last month that US troops would stay in Syria indefinitely until their goals are accomplished…