January 13, 2020

Nancy Pelosi’s House of Representatives passed a non-binding War Powers Resolution on Thursday, 224-194, mostly along partisan lines. The resolution purports to limit President Trump’s authority to engage in hostile action against Iran.  Eight Democrats, including NJ Rep Josh Gottheimer (NJ-5), voted against the resolution. Three Republicans and an Independent former Republican voted The Squad.

Congressman Chris Smith voted against the resolution and made the following statement on the House floor:

On H. Con. Res. 83

By Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)

Madam Speaker, according to ABC News, General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs said that the “Dec. 27 attack on the Iraqi base near Kirkuk that killed a U.S. civilian contractor and wounded several U.S. and Iraqi forces…was designed and intended to kill, and [Soleimani] approved it.  I know that 100 percent.”

General Milley said that the trigger for the drone strike that killed Soleimani was “clear, unambiguous intelligence indicating a significant campaign of violence against the United States in the days, weeks, and months,” and that the administration would have been “culpably negligent” if it didn’t act.

Former Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on NBC’s Meet the Press that “whether Soleimani was a terrorist or a general in a military force that was engaged in armed attacks against our people, he was a lawful military objective.”

Madam Speaker, Soleimani is responsible for killing over 600 Americans and disabling thousands more.  He is directly responsible for massive death and injury of innocent civilians in the region.  In the last two months alone, he orchestrated 11 attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq—killing an American contractor and wounding four soldiers—and for the attack on our embassy in Baghdad.

After yesterday’s classified briefing by America’s top diplomatic, military and intelligence leaders, I came away convinced that the action by President Trump was justified, proportionate and above all necessary to protect American lives.

That said, it is astonishing that the resolution under consideration by the House today has absolutely no legal power, is non-binding—and by design can neither be signed nor vetoed by the President.

Remarkably, the text of H. Con. Res. 83 also sends a mixed message.  While purporting to “terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran…”  the non-binding resolution goes on to say that such a prohibition is null and void if “such use of the Armed Forces is necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its Armed Forces, consistent with the requirement of the War Powers Resolution.”

Imminent armed attack on our Armed Forces and diplomats is precisely the Trump Administration’s justification for the drone strike against Soleimani.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, no president used drone strikes more than President Obama who ordered 542 drone strikes killing an estimated 3,797 people including 324 civilians.”

Read online here.