Retired military leaders sign letter urging Congress to bar ‘unauthorized’ war with Iran
By: Joe Gould, Defense News
WASHINGTON ― A group of retired military officers, including a chief of staff for Colin Powell, urged Congress to pass legislation to block a declaration of war with Iran without congressional approval.
In an open letter, the former officers said President Donald Trump made it clear that “there is no broader strategy to his desire for military conflict with Iran” and warned that it was “past time for Congress to step in and stop Trump’s constitutionally unsupported march to war.” The letter was organized by retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton of the progressive group VoteVets and its nonprofit affiliate, the Vet Voice Foundation.
“A full-scale military conflict with Iran would be a huge and costly undertaking,” the letter reads. “It’s a lesson we’ve learned before as a nation, at great cost. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us a lot in blood and treasure. We know that war with Iran would require hundreds of thousands of American service members to deploy and could result in even larger numbers of American casualties and injuries ― alongside an unknown number of civilian deaths.”
The letter endorses provisions in the House-passed 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that would bar “unauthorized” military force in or against Iran. From Rep. Ro Khanna, first vice chair of the House Progressive Caucus, and Rep. Matt Gaetz, known for his staunch support of the president on Fox News and on Twitter, co-sponsored the language.
Because there’s no corresponding language in the Senate bill, it will be the subject of negotiations to reconcile the bills. The officers urged that it be included in the final version of the NDAA.
The letter’s signatories include retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who worked for Powell; American Security Project CEO Stephen Cheney, who is a retired Marine one-star general; retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led the official military probe into prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; retired Brig. Gen. Lief Hendrickson; Rear Adm. Mike Mathis; Lt. Gen. Charles Otstott; Maj. Gen. Gale Pollock; Maj. Gen. Eric Olson and Capt. Larry Seaquist.
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