Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is worried about the aggressive nature of the Trump administration’s policies toward Iran, and took Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to task today in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his warmongering remarks.
“Do you believe that the 2001 authorization to go war with those who attacked us on 9/11 applies to Iran or Iran’s Revolutionary Guard?” Sen. Paul asked Pompeo.
Secretary of State Pompeo tried to weasel out of the question by answering: “I’d prefer to just leave that to lawyers.”
Sen. Paul was not content to let the career bureaucrat slither away from the question and pressed him further.
“Well, I would think it would be a pretty important question that whether or not you think you have the right invade or declare war or engage in war with Iran,” Sen. Paul said.
The Kentucky Senator then referenced a recent decision by the Trump administration to classify the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the paramilitary group tasked with protecting the Islamic Republic of Iran, as a terrorist organization. Sen. Paul is worried that this declaration could lead to hostilities.
“Do you think that that somehow includes them in the 2001 [AUMF] and is that any part of the decision-making process with including this designation?” Sen. Paul asked.
Pompeo dodged the question yet again, saying that the designation “was not part of the decision-making process. The designation was a simple recognition of reality.” He then re-purposed an old Bush-era lie used to trick the public into accepting the Iraq War, claiming that Iran is connected to Al Queda without providing evidence.
“I am troubled that the administration can’t unequivocally say that you haven’t been given power. I can tell you explicitly you have not been given power or authority by Congress to have war with Iran,” Paul responded. “And in any kind of semblance of a sane world, you would have to come back and ask us before you go into Iran.”
The Trump administration has become increasing belligerent toward Iran in recent weeks, despite the fact that Trump reportedly believes that a regime change war is off the table in the nation. Much of it has to do with Trump’s close relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has agitated against the Iranians for decades.
“Thank you, my dear friend, President Donald Trump, for having decided to announce Iran’s Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization,” Netanyahu said in a tweet on Monday, as translated by the The Washington Post.
“Thank you for the answer to another important request that serves the interests of our country and the region,” he continued.
While the bonds between the recently re-elected Netanyahu and Trump may be admirable, Trump must be careful to remember his ‘America First’ mandate and refrain from using US military personnel to fight Netanyahu’s wars on his behalf.
Sen. Paul reminds focused on keeping Trump and the GOP focused on the importance of fidelity to the Constitution.
“You do not have the permission of Congress to go to war in Iran. If you want a war in Iran, you have to come to us. It’s the way the Constitution was written, and it needs to be very clear,” Paul reiterated to Pompeo and the rest of the Trump administration on Wednesday.
Trump would be wise to boot neocon Pompeo along with hawkish national security advisor John Bolton and murderous special representative Elliott Abrams from his administration before even more damage is done.