J Street is deeply alarmed by the Trump administration’s targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani. This highly dangerous step, taken without congressional authorization, could trigger a disastrous escalation costing the lives of thousands and lead our country into a devastating new war of choice in the Middle East.
Soleimani was a malicious actor responsible for deadly attacks on US service personnel and the Iranian regime’s targets throughout the region, including many civilians. At the same time, the assassination of such a senior figure is an extremely reckless step taken by an out-of-control administration that has repeatedly signaled its contempt for diplomacy and its interest in provoking an armed conflict with the Iranian regime. Carrying out a strike that is likely to be viewed as an act of war, without explicit congressional debate or authorization, shows flagrant contempt for the Constitution.
Since the president’s disastrous decision to unilaterally violate the JCPOA nuclear agreement and implement a so-called “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran has only become more dangerous and aggressive, hardliners have been strengthened at the expense of moderates and the region has been further destabilized. The president and his saber-rattling advisers bear tremendous responsibility for the current crisis — they are leading us eagerly towards an abyss that will endanger American servicepeople, our allies in Israel and the Middle East and millions of Iranian civilians caught in the crossfire.
Congress must now take immediate, decisive action to prevent a new war which the American people do not want. They must pass legislation making explicitly clear that the president does not have authorization to go to war with Iran, and that any such war would represent a clear violation of the constitution. They must force every member of Congress to take a vote that will make publicly clear whether they stand against war or stand with this president.