by Ed Flaherty
Last week, in a celebration of bi-partisanship, all four Iowa members of the US House of Representatives and both US senators from Iowa voted to train and arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. The U.S. has been attacking ISIS by air in Iraq since August 7th. Now, likely reassured by last week’s congressional vote, President Obama gave the Pentagon a green light for airstrikes within Syria, which began on Sept. 22nd.
Anyone who claims U.S. military actions in Iraq and the larger Middle East in the past 23 years have not been instrumental in birthing ISIS is either naïve or disingenuous. ISIS leaders have been trained by the U.S., and have been armed, both intentionally and unintentionally, with U.S.weaponry.
Congress has not authorized a war in Syria. Last week’s bill to support Syrian rebels explicitly states it is not to be construed as authorization for US armed forces to be introduced into hostilities. President Obama claims the authority to strike terrorists whenever and wherever. Our Iowa congressional delegation, after its recess and the November elections, needs to reassert its constitutional responsibility & power for any declaration of war.
Certainly Senator Harkin and Representative Latham can vote against a new war without fear of future elections. That could also be the case for Braley, King & Loebsack. And Senator Grassley can recall his courageous vote against the 1st Gulf War in 1991. Let us hope and urge another unanimous vote from the Iowa delegation, this time against another new war.