Americans around the country rallied over the weekend, calling for peace as the United States sits on the brink of a new war in the Middle East.
Protests against a potential war with Iran took place in nearly 100 towns and cities. The demonstrations were organized by Code Pink, ANSWER Coalition, Muslim Peace Fellowship, Veterans for Peace and the United Antiwar Coalition, among other groups, many of which formed at the beginning of the United States’ previous big military adventure abroad in Iraq. Indeed numerous signs protesters carried could have been lifted straight out of 2003.
Marching down Michigan Ave from Wacker #NoWarWithIran pic.twitter.com/8LX3rV1Oiv
— Chicago DSA 🌹 (@ChicagoCityDSA) January 4, 2020
“U.S. troops out of Iraq,” read one placard raised by demonstrators in Times Square, where hundreds gathered on Saturday.
A smaller demonstration occurred at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, Queens later that day. Local elected leaders there, including state Sen.Jessica Ramos and City Councilmember Jimmy von Bremer, spoke out against the potential war.
In Park Slope on Friday evening, about a thousand people gathered in front of Charles Schumer’s home near the Brooklyn Museum, urging the Democratic Senator to do everything in his power to prevent a further escalation of tensions with the Islamic Republic.
Events have transpired rapidly since the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport on Thursday evening. Iran vowed revenge for the assassination of one of its top commanders. President Trump, who personally ordered the fatal drone strike, pledged military hits on Iranian cultural establishments should it retaliate. The members of Iraq’s parliament, meanwhile, voted over the weekend to expel all U.S. troops from the country and to submit a complaint to the United Nations against the United States for violating its sovereignty. They, in turn, have faced threats of “sanctions like they’ve never seen” from Trump.
On Sunday, Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) announced a War Powers Resolution in the House. It follows a similar measure introduced by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) in the Senate on Friday. As the Pentagon begins the deployment of thousands of troops to Iraq and Kuwait, both would limit the president’s ability to start a new war.
“Let’s not mince words: the assassination of Qassem Soleimani was an act of war undertaken without Congressional authorization, in violation of the Constitution of the United States of America,” Rep. Omar said in a statement.
(Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) introduced a measure of their own in the Senate on Friday that would bar military funding for war against Iran.)
Philadelphia is out to say #NoWarWithIran! pic.twitter.com/rqqdg82vT7
— agitator in chief (@soit_goes) January 4, 2020
War Powers Resolutions are given a priority under the rules governing Congress and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said representatives could vote on the measure as early as this week. Yet since 9/11 members of both major parties in Congress have handed the executive branch extraordinary war-making abilities, which now rest in the hands of Trump, the most volatile president in modern history. The president has the technological ability to conduct targeted killings anywhere on the globe with the press of a button and what he and his supporters believe are the legal means of doing so.
Facing an expected impeachment trial in the Senate and a difficult election year ahead, Trump has shifted the national conversation to the threat of impending war. On Monday morning, he called for a swift end the impeachment proceedings, demanding that Democrats abandon their efforts to oust him because “I am so busy.”
In launching the strike against Soleimani, who had long been the subject of reverence in Iran and curried favor with the country’s old guard leadership, Trump appears to have borrowed a page from a prophecy he directed at President Obama back in 2011.
“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate,” Trump remarks in a video blog posted on Nov. 16, 2011. “He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected — and as sure as you’re sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.”
Trump on Nov. 16, 2011:
“Our president will start a war with Iran because he has absolutely no ability to negotiate. He’s weak and he’s ineffective. So the only way he figures that he’s going to get reelected — and as sure as you’re sitting there — is to start a war with Iran.” pic.twitter.com/usZFLiHnBw
— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) January 3, 2020
Over a three year period, from 2011 to 2013, Trump repeatedly warned Obama would start a war with Iran to shore up domestic support. Now with Trump himself in the White House that appears to be the very direction he is taking the country unless reasonable people stop him.
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