America’s stand-off with Iran has apparently ended with no American casualties, but Democrats still want to rebuke Donald Trump for the strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will lead Democrats in a vote Thursday afternoon on a War Powers Resolution limiting Trump’s ability to intervene against Iran, according to multiple media reports.
“Last week, in our view, the administration conducted a provocative disproportionate airstrike against Iran which endangered Americans, and did so without consulting Congress,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference on Thursday.
After days of tensions raised fears of war, conflict with Iran subsided when President Trump, mirroring Iran, said in a speech Wednesday morning that he had no desire to escalate tensions further in the crisis set off by the killing of Iran’s top general. Trump said that Iran appeared to “stand down” with non-lethal missile attacks that Iran fired at bases housing American troops in Iraq.
Although a war has been averted for now, Democrats plan to vote on a bill that rebukes Trump for the strike on Soleimani and limits his ability to intervene against Iran in the future, according to The Hill. While the Trump administration has said that Soleimani, leader of the elite Quds force, was behind the deaths of hundreds of American troops and was plotting “imminent” threats against Americans, Democrats have complained that the strike was unauthorized, reckless, and came without notice from the White House.
The resolution slams Trump’s “provocative and disproportionate” strike and specifically blocks Trump from taking military action against Iran without Congress’s approval, Fox News reported. In a statement Wednesday, Pelosi said that Democrats were not satisfied with Trump’s speech laying out his plan for dealing with Iran, in which Trump announced that he would slap additional sanctions on the regime rather than seek military action.
The War Powers vote has set the stage for a deepening partisan divide over the Soleimani strike. Republicans hailed it as a decisive show of force against a terrorist regime, but Democrats have said it was a risky move and have questioned the U.S. intelligence justifying it.
“Hope that all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution,” President Trump tweeted Thursday. “Also, remember her ‘speed [and] rush’ in getting the Impeachment Hoax voted on [and] done. Well, she never sent the Articles to the Senate. Just another Democrat fraud. Presidential Harassment!”
Echoing Democrats, Republican Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) walked out of Wednesday’s “insulting” intelligence briefing complaining that the information presented was insufficient and that administration officials told them it would “embolden Iran” if they debated the strike, ABC reported. Responding to criticism, Vice President Mike Pence said that some of the “most compelling” intelligence backing up the strike was sensitive and could not be shared, according to NBC.
Republicans have accused Democrats and the mainstream media of sympathizing with Iran and its top general out of sheer hatred for the president, and criticism of the strike does indeed appear to be motivated by at least some political opportunism. Democrats have apparently discovered their pacifist roots and are looking to repeal the 2002 authorization of force in the Iraq War, according to NBC, but they have invited accusations of hypocrisy for ignoring President Barack Obama’s unauthorized 2011 intervention in Libya.
That intervention overthrew Moammar Ghaddafi and destabilized the country, but Pelosi said at the time that authorization was not necessary. Similarly, Hillary Clinton cheered when Ghaddafi was killed, something overlooked by Clinton supporters who tweeted the hashtag “I voted for Clinton” in protest of Trump’s strike, apparently ignoring the former secretary of State’s record on zealous military interventions.
Democrats may also vote on a resolution brought by Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Rep. Ro Khanna (CA) to defund military action against Iran — but all of the Iran bills will likely fail in the Republican-led Senate.