News Release

Trump Threatens War With Iran: Why is Congress AWOL? 

Trump tweeted: “Saudi Arabia oil supply was attacked. There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed.”

While much of the congressional leadership is silent, Rep. Justin Amash responded: “Under our Constitution, the power to commence war lies with Congress, not the president and certainly not Saudi Arabia. We don’t take orders from foreign powers.”

Bernie Sanders tweeted: “Mr. Trump, the Constitution of the United States is perfectly clear. Only Congress — not the president — can declare war. And Congress will not give you the authority to start another disastrous war in the Middle East just because the brutal Saudi dictatorship told you to.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Boyle, professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law. He is a leading expert on Congressional war powers.

He said today: “It’s certainly true that Congress is charged with deciding whether or not to declare war. But the Congress has failed to live up to its responsibility as the U.S. is waging war in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Niger and elsewhere without a constitutionally mandated declaration of war. The U.S. government is also providing critical assistance to Saudi Arabia in what is effectively a genocidal war in Yemen.

“Allegedly, the Houthis, faced with the international community’s refusal to restrain Saudi Arabia’s criminality, have resorted to attacking Saudi oil fields. This threatens to spiral into a major regional war. Of course, the Yemen war and a whole assortment of U.S. government actions violate the UN Charter, which prohibits both force and the threat of force to achieve political ends.”

The annual UN General Assembly meeting, which typically features heads of government addressing the body, is scheduled for Sept. 24.

Investigative reporter Gareth Porter noted in a tweet: “Here’s the previous time Pompeo claimed a drone strike on Saudi came from Iraq and WSJ reported it. This is yet another point where journalists must either serve the interests of the powerful or keep questioning until the truth has clearly been established.” See also accuracy.org news release:  Iran Attack? * Pretext for War * Impeaching Bolton.”