Amy Klobuchar on War & Peace
DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender
KLOBUCHAR: The Congress has to have a check on this president. That's how the Constitution has been set up. And in particular, we're going to be having a vote on this coming up in the Senate, on the power of the president when it comes to declaring war. We're really focused right now on Iran, understandably, and some of the things this president has said and there's actually some bipartisan support for a resolution that he couldn't bring us into war with Iran without Congress approving it and with an authorization of military force. For me, especially when it comes to going to war, which you do not want to do unless you have a very good reason, you have to go to Congress.
V.P. Joe BIDEN: I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to trust that they weren't going to go to war, to stop what we thought to be Iraq's attempt to get a nuclear weapon.
Sen. Amy KLOBUCHAR: I wasn't in the Senate for that Iraq War vote, but I opposed that war from the very beginning. In my first campaign for Senate, I ran against a Republican who ran ads against me on it, but I stood my ground. When I got to the Senate, I pushed to bring our troops home. Then I have dealt with every issue, from Afghanistan to being part of an effort to improve the situation for our troops in a very big way with our education and with their jobs and also with their health care.
V.P. Joe BIDEN: I was part of that deal to get the nuclear agreement with Iran, bringing together the rest of the world, including some of the folks who aren't friendly to us. And it was working. It was being held tightly. There was no movement on the part of the Iranian government to get closer to a nuclear weapon.
Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG: Ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons will be a priority,
KLOBUCHAR: I would not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I think there are changes you can make to the agreement, some changes to the inspections, but overall, that is what we should do.
Q: How would you prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon?
KLOBUCHAR: I would start negotiations again [on the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal]. Because of the actions of Donald Trump, we are in a situation where Iran is starting to enrich uranium again in violation of the original agreement. So what I would do is negotiate. I would bring people together, just as President Obama did years ago, and I think that we can get this done. But you have to have a president that sees this as a number-one goal.
EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Joseph Biden, Jr.; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Seth Moulton; Tim Ryan; Eric Swalwell; Andrew Yang.
Other candidates have urged restraint, warning that allies in nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq still need American military support. Withdrawing all U.S. troops, they assert, could be a grave mistake and only make the situation worse.
Klobuchar: You always have to talk to everyone when it is American security and the world's security at stake. But he keeps having these summits and meetings that really don't produce anything. what This is about is making sure that there are measurable results, that we have a plan when we go in there and we just haven't seen that.
Q: Would you accept North Korea as a nuclear power?
Klobuchar: No, I would not. What I am saying is you need to have steps and measures. Talk is good, but if all it is, is talk it doesn't produce anything for national security for America and international security for our allies.
KLOBUCHAR: No, I would not. What I am saying is you need to have steps and measures. You have dates and you have times and you have a focus and you have a plan. Talk is good, but if all it is, is talk it doesn't produce anything for national security for America and international security for our allies.
I would make sure that if there is any possibility of a conflict--and we're having this debate in Congress right now--that he comes to Congress for an authorization of military force. I would do that.
After my election to the Senate, I wanted to do everything in my power to help end the war. In March 2007, I flew to Iraq; then I was tapped to give the national response to President Bush's weekly radio address. I spoke about our soldier's bravery and commitment but also about the need to withdraw our combat forces on a sensible timetable, train the Iraqi police, and transition to Iraqi governance.
In March 2007, I flew to Iraq; [then] I gave the national response to President Bush's weekly radio address. I spoke about the need to withdraw our combat forces on a sensible timetable, train the Iraqi police, and transition to Iraqi governance.
KLOBUCHAR: As of Thanksgiving, we’re going to have been in this war longer than WWII. If together with other countries we were able to solve that situation, we can work with others to solve this one.
KENNEDY: We need to listen to the commanders in the field. If they say we need more troops, than I want to make sure they have more troops.
KLOBUCHAR: Iraq has devolved into a civil war. I believe it’s time to transition to Iraqi authority and let this government run its own country. The way you do this is not by adding more troops, or by saying that we’ll have the same number of troops in 2010. It’s by beginning to bring our troops home, or to redeploy them.
KLOBUCHAR: I have never been one to say “Bring them all home tomorrow.” Despite my opposition to the war from the beginning, we have to be responsible about how we bring our troops home.
KENNEDY: She’s also come out against a bill funding body armor for our troops that a majority of Democrats join me in supporting.
KLOBUCHAR: Of course I support body armor for our troops, I support winning this war on terror by being smart. We need to transition to Iraqi governance, we need to send the clear message that they have to take control of their own government, and that means no permanent military bases. The congressman & I differ on this. This means not saying 2010 we’re going to have the same number of troops. We need to be more accountable for the help that we’re giving Iraq.
KLOBUCHAR: The best way that we can protect our troops is to get this policy right, and I believe that that means changing course in Iraq. Clearly, at this late date in mid-October, we can’t bring a significant number home. We have to be reasonable. I have never been one to say “Bring them all home tomorrow.” I have never subscribed to one of those mandatory dates, because I understand that, despite my opposition to the war from the beginning, that we have to be responsible about how we bring our troops home.
Q: So you’re saying now that’s probably not doable. What about a “vast majority in 2007,” which is what you said also?
KLOBUCHAR: These predictions were built on the promises and the predictions of progress from this administration, and we simply haven’t seen that. So you have to be reasonable in what you’re going to do here.
KENNEDY: Let’s talk about what the 16 agencies said. They said that we are clearly activating terrorists in Iraq, having taken the challenge to them. But they also said we have to prevail. If we don’t prevail, it will greatly mushroom this threat, let it grow in size, and come to face our future generations. They said that if we, if we lose, that’s what will happen; if we win, we will greatly degrade what’s happening on the other side.
Whether it was their categorical (but false) assertions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or their repeated (but unsupported) claims of Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda, or their frequent (but untrue) assurances that America would go to war only with broad international support, or their constant (but divisive) attempts to “spin” the war by going after those who disagreed with them, the Bush-Cheney administration did not give honest information to the American people. This conduct has not only damaged America’s credibility throughout the world, but also undermined the American people’s confidence in our own government.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since . Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.
"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.
"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text]. That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.
Sponsor's introductory remarks: Sen. BIDEN: This bipartisan resolution opposes the President's plan to escalate the war in Iraq. This resolution says what we and many of our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, are against: deepening America's military involvement in Iraq by escalating our troop presence. Just as important, it says what we and many of our colleagues are for: a strategy that can produce a political settlement in Iraq. That's the only way to stop Shiites and Sunnis from killing each other and allow our troops to leave Iraq without leaving chaos behind.
Excerpts from Letter from 85 Senators to President Obama We all hope that nuclear negotiations succeed in preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapons capability. For diplomacy to succeed, however, we must couple our willingness to negotiate with a united and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime. We urge you to insist on the realization of these core principles with Iran:
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Enforcing Iran Nuke Deal," Jan. 25, 2017): More than anything else, the Iran nuclear deal must be kept because the alternative is a return to ever-heightening tensions and clamoring by hawks in both countries. From 2003 to 2014, years of unrelenting U.S. sanctions and confrontation, Iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000. The hostile approach generates a more expansive, less transparent Iranian nuclear program and increases the chances for another disastrous U.S. war in the Middle East. Let's hope the Trump administration chooses not to go that route.
Axios.com summary: The House passed a symbolic war powers resolution directing President Trump to halt the use of military force against Iran unless he obtains approval from Congress.
The big picture: A classified briefing on the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani [by the US military] left Democrats and even some Republicans deeply skeptical, with many claiming that officials did not provide evidence that there was an "imminent" threat from Iran. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said they will vote in favor of a similar resolution in the Senate [S J Res 68].
What opponents are saying: Former national security adviser and notorious Iran hawk John Bolton tweeted: "The 1973 War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Constitution allocated foreign affairs authority between the President and Congress. The Resolution should be repealed." Pres. Trump quote tweeted Bolton and added: "Smart analysis, I fully agree!"
What supporters are saying: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was one of the few Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution, stating on the House floor: "Killing Soleimani was the right decision, but engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation that would block funding for offensive military force against Iran without congressional authorization. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is also seeking to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used repeatedly to justify war in the Middle East in the wake of 9/11. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF in 2001, criticizing it as a "blank check."
Legislative outcome: H Con Res 83 Passed House 224-194-13 on 1/9/20; S J Res 68 passed Senate 55-45-0 on 2/13/20. Vetoed 5/6; Senate veto override failed 5/7/20.
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AL: Incumbent Richard Shelby(R) vs.U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks(R) vs.Ambassador Lynda Blanchard(R) vs.Katie Britt(R) vs.Judge Jessica Taylor(R) vs.Brandaun Dean(D) vs.
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