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Congress Must Act to Head Off War

Thu, 05/16/2019 - 17:41

Alarmingly, the White House appears intent on creating conditions for armed conflict in the Mideast by escalating a confrontation with Iran. If there is one political opinion Americans should agree on it is that a new war is the last thing they want. And yet a faction in the White House, led by the war hawk National Security Adviser John Bolton and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, has redirected policy in a way that will put the region and possibly the lives of American troops at great risk.

The thinking is that this pair is leading President Trump blindly into war. That could be, but it is equally possible that Mr. Trump, a frequent practitioner of the art of distraction, may be eager to find a shiny new object to divert attention from his myriad scandals and criminal investigations. The Pentagon is said to be revisiting war plans for as many as 120,000 United States military personnel to move into place should Iran attack our forces or resume steps toward gaining a nuclear weapon. 

So far, the United States is acting alone, having unilaterally pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal about a year ago, which involved the European Union. None of the European capitals share the White House’s eagerness to stir up conflict, and for the most part scholars and foreign policy experts all see the aggression in this instance coming from the American side. 

Mr. Bolton is someone who should not have the president’s ear. He was among those who led the United States into the disastrous Iraq War. Nor does he or Mr. Trump appear to care about the lives, American or Iranian, that would be lost in a new and unnecessary fight. Congress must act to head off a reckless executive branch bent on toppling the Iran government and installing leaders more to its liking. And Americans need to resist the distractions of the Russia investigation and possible impeachment probes to demand that a peaceful solution, not violence, is at the core of U.S. foreign policy.

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