tv U.S. Senate Sen. Blumenthal on Iran War Powers Resolution CSPAN February 13, 2020 9:19am-9:31am EST
i would implore our colleagues to do the same. i know in a era of trump derangement syndrome, anything the president is for people are reflexively against. i think that falls in this country. and i don't fault the members of congress for wanting to make sure that the shared powers of congress and the president have under the constitution to wage w war, i don't question their motives in trying to find the appropriate balance, but here, i think we've stepped across the line, literally, to try to tie the president's hand as a punishment for conducting a fully authorized operation against one of the world's worst terrorists, something we should applaud, rather than conde condemn. >> i'm pleased to join my colleagues, many of whom have spoken already in support of
the joint resolution 68, which i am proud to co-sponsor. it prohibits an unauthorized, unconstitutional war with iran. it seeks to prevent the trump administration from stumbling into a real and reckless military conflict. i want to thank bipartisan colleagues who have provided leadership in this effort and it has been truly bipartisan as an effort. i appreciate their efforts and many other colleagues to reassert our constitutional war power and represents the will of the american people. americans do not want a new war. they do not want another endless military conflict that
harms our national interest without protecting our national security. the constitution trumps any statute, without congressional authorization and anything short of a declaration of war from the united states congress, starting a war with iran would be unconstitutional. congress did not authorize war with iran when it passed an authorization to use force against al qaeda more than 18 years ago in the wake of 9/11. congress did not authorize war with iran when it passed an authorization to use military force against saddam hussein's regime in 2002. very simply, congress has not
authorized war with iran in any way, shape, or legal form. the president authorizations for use of military force in no way cover starting a new war with iran. we cannot let the intent of either of those authorizations to be so distorted and stretched as to be a pretense for such a war. and that's why this resolution is so important. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of it tomorrow. but just as alarming as the lack of legal authorizations for war is the trump administration's lack of strategy. it isn't that we have a dangerous policy towards iran. it is that we have no policy, no strategy, and no end game,
which is the most dangerous situation of all. i'm pleased that we have deescalated the dramatic rise of tensions between the united states and iran and well served for both countries. we must continue the reducing not escalating the military tensions. but president trump's reckless actions that brought us so close to military conflict are still in play. we need to continue to deescalate, not raise the level of tension if possible. these kinds of reckless actions, in fact, brought us close to expulsion from iraq
and halted key training exercises with our allies in the counter isis mission. and as is the case with most of the trump administration's military strategy or lack of it, we are just lurching from one crisis to another with no objectives, no means to an end, no decision on ends. all putting our security and our allies at grave risk. and congress, not to its cred credit, has failed to conduct critical public oversight that is necessary to hold the administration accountable and to insist on a strategy, an end game, a set of objectives. the trump administration has kept congress and the american people in the dark under the guise of classification.
and i will say, on a personal note, at the end of so many of our classified briefings in the skiff, i will say to a military officer or to an intelligence community representative, our adversaries and our enemies know what you have just told it because you're telling us about what they're doing. and they know we know. and we know they know. in fact, they know a great deal about what we are doing. the only ones who don't know are the american people. they're kept in the dark. the trump administration cannot wage war while hiding behind classification gag rules. behind closed doors, the trump administration tried to make the claim that there was a, quote, imminent threat, end quote, to justify the strike against soleimani.
i disagree. the trump administration failed to provide the evidence in any setting. classified or not, to support this claim. and the american people deserve to know our path in order with iran. there's no possible reason our goals must be kept secret from members of congress or people that we represent and we certainly must prevent a reckless administration from pursuing a war when it is unwilling to account to the american people. in sort. there is a fundamental purpose that's served by declarations of war. it gives the people who will have to sacrifice in that war a voice in the decision. we represent those people. the families of soldiers and marines and airmen and sailors, whose lives will be in harm's
way, as well as themselves. it gives a voice to the experts in this body who may have a perspective and a wisdom on these topics that is a useful check on the executive branch. and let us not forget that military actions conducted without a strategy, without consent of the american people have real consequences for all who serve our nation in uniform. we continue to hear reports about the number of troops who have suffered brain injuries in the iran strike against iraq military bases. the total is now up to 109 american service members. the president of the united states has minimized those injuries, headaches, but in
fact, traumatic brain injury, concussion, post traumatic stress are among the most painful and damaging wounds of war. in part because they are invisible and they are sometimes minimized. so let us never forget the consequences of war. the consequences to our econo economy, to our faith in the american democracy, to the credibility of our leaders, to our people in lives lost and damaged. and that is true, especially of a war that has never been authorized by congress and fails to have the support of the american people. that's why this vote is so
important today. there are many, many reasons to vote in favor of senate joint resolution 68. i call on my colleagues to send a clear, unmistakable message to this administration. you do not have congressional authorization. you do not have the support of the american people. you do not have permission from this congress under the constitution to wage war or begin it against iran. thank you, mr. president, i yield the floor. >> the u.s. senate about to gavel in to start the day. lawmakers are expected to continue work on an iran war powers resolution which seeks to bar any u.s. military action against iran without prior congressional approval. final votes on this measure are