In January of 1991, one of the first votes I cast in Congress was against the war in Iraq.
I remember it well. Almost all Republicans supported the war effort, as did a number of Democrats. I didn’t, and I walked off the floor thinking “well, I’ll probably be a one-term congressman now.”
But I will repeat something today that I said back then because I think it is still applicable:
And that is that the challenge of our time is not simply to begin a war that will result in the deaths of many people — young Americans and innocent families overseas — but the real challenge of our time is to see how we can use our power in a different way to stop aggression and keep our people safe. Because if we are not successful right now, then I think all this world has to look forward to in the future for our children is war, and more war, and more war… as if we haven’t had enough war already.
A decade after that first war in Iraq, I voted against yet another war in the same country.
That was the right vote.
And it is almost beyond impossible to imagine that after nearly 17 years of that war in Iraq — a war that upended the regional order of the Middle East and resulted in an untold loss of life — that this administration is putting us on such a dangerous path toward more war.
This time with Iran.
Apparently, for some, decades of constant war is not enough.
Let us not forget that when Trump took office, we had a nuclear agreement with Iran, negotiated by the Obama administration along with our closest allies. Countries from all over the world came together to negotiate that agreement, which put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program.
The wise course would have been to stick with that nuclear agreement, enforce its provisions, and use that diplomatic channel with Iran to address our other concerns with Iran, including their support of terrorism.
Unfortunately, Trump followed his reckless instincts and listened to right-wing extremists, some of whom were exactly the same people that got us into the war in Iraq in the first place.
Now, as you all know, last week President Trump ordered the assassination of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, along with the leader of an Iraqi militia.
Trump justified the assassination of Soleimani by claiming that it was necessary to prevent ‘imminent’ attacks on U.S. forces, but his administration has offered no evidence to back that claim up, even in a classified setting.
Then he claimed that there were plans to attack U.S. embassies, again offering no evidence. And now, unbelievably, we find out that Trump himself told people he was under pressure to deal with Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.
Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions for selfish reasons and without regard for the Constitution.
As a United States senator, I will do everything I can to rein in this reckless president and prevent a war with Iran.
As president, I will offer a different vision for how we exercise American power: one that is not demonstrated by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to bring countries together and forge international consensus around shared challenges.
A test of a great nation is not how many wars we can fight or how many governments we can overthrow, but how we can use our strength to resolve international conflicts in a peaceful way.
I cannot do it alone. But maybe, just maybe, instead of spending $1.8 trillion a year globally on weapons of destruction, we can lead the world to address the issues that affect us all, like the existential threat of climate change.
So our job is to offer a different vision — a vision that one-day human beings on this planet will live in a world where international conflicts are resolved peacefully, not by mass murder.
Thank you for your continued support of that vision.
Taking us into a war without congressional authorization would be unconstitutional and illegal. The United States Congress must do everything it can to prevent war with Iran. The Constitution is very clear: It is Congress, not the president, who decides when we go to war.
Please add your name if you agree: