September 19, 2019

Duckworth unloads on Trump over possible attack on Iran

In a fiery speech, the Democratic senator and combat veteran demands the president seek a declaration of war from Congress before launching a military assault.

Source: Crain's Chicago Business


Vowing to “do our troops justice,” U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., today demanded President Donald Trump ask Congress for a declaration of war before launching any attack on Iran.

In a fiery speech delivered on the Senate floor, as tensions build over an assault on Saudi Arabia oil fields, the combat-veteran lawmaker accused Trump of effectively outsourcing to Saudi officials the decision on whether there will be a U.S. military response to the attack.

“We have not authorized (Trump) to ensnare us in another endless, useless war,” said Duckworth, who lost both of her legs below the knee in the Iraq conflict. “I will not stand idly by and let a single one of our troops shed blood in an avoidable conflict because Donald Trump has abdicated matters of war and peace to a despot who regularly disparages human rights and openly murders journalists."

Duckworth’s reference was to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who effectively runs the Arab nation and has been accused of being responsible for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just finished a meeting with bin Salman, a meeting that was arranged after Trump tweeted over the weekend the U.S. was “locked and loaded,” knows who was responsible and was “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!”

Said Duckworth today: “The president does not have the authority to declare war. Only Congress does . . . and certainly not MBS.” If Trump has a case, she added, he should come to Congress to make it. “And then we should vote.”

Duckworth got very personal in her speech. It will be interesting to see if Trump tweets at her. 

“It’s shameful, it’s terrifying that we have a commander in chief that comes to military decisions by temper tantrum and then announces them by tweet,” she said. Unfortunately, she added at another point in her speech, Trumps has “a bizarre tendency to bow down and kiss up to the world’s cruelest tyrants,” a reference not only to bin Salman but also to Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Trump’s approach to all three leaders had indeed been unorthodox. The president has argued he can advance U.S. goals by forging personal relationships.

Iran has denied being behind the Saudi attacks, but Trump administration officials insist they have strong proof that it was.

By:  Greg Hinz