Stumbling into war, conflict with Iran!

Since the June 13 attack on a pair of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated significantly.

Jun 28, 2019

Since the June 13 attack on a pair of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, tensions between the United States and Iran have escalated significantly. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps is the likely culprit of both this and a similar attack in May on four commercial vessels in the gulf, although conclusive proof has yet to emerge. US Central Command has provided what it claims is video evidence of Iran’s involvement in the most recent incidents, and seems bent on using it as justification for military action. Yet even if it turns out that Iran was responsible, it is imperative that both countries aim for a diplomatic resolution to a growing crisis that could have dangerous consequences for the entire Middle East.

A conflict with Iran is entirely avoidable. The United States should stop issuing threats and baiting Iran’s leaders and instead work with allies to find a diplomatic solution. It’s also important to recall that Congress, not the President, is constitutionally charged with making decisions about when and where to go to war.

Congress must reassert its role in foreign policy and vote to end the eighteen-year-old Authorisation for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that granted the Bush administration war-making powers after 9/11 and was abused by the Obama administration in justifying military action in Syria and elsewhere.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has hinted the same AUMF could be used to launch a war against Iran. That would not only be illegal, but also potentially disastrous for a region already in turmoil thanks to decades of misguided U.S. policy and military action.

This crisis is largely one of the Trump administration’s own making. As of this writing, the President and his advisors still have the opportunity to steer away from the collision course they have set. -- The Editors, Commonweal

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