Michael Bennet on War & Peace
Democratic Presidential Challenger; CO Senator
EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Joseph Biden, Jr.; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Amy Klobuchar; Seth Moulton; Tim Ryan; Eric Swalwell; Andrew Yang.
Other candidates have urged restraint, warning that allies in nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq still need American military support. Withdrawing all U.S. troops, they assert, could be a grave mistake and only make the situation worse.
Truth Test: CLAIM: "Senator Michael Bennet supports the Iran deal."
VERDICT: TRUE. Sen. Bennet voted in favor of the deal.
CLAIM: "A nuclear Iran is a threat to the entire world" and "Michael Bennet is jeopardizing our safety."
VERDICT: OPINION. Both sides of the debate over the Iran deal have experts who'll argue the merits and detriments of the deal.
THE POLITICS BEHIND THE AD: It's hard to avoid comparisons to the 1964 "daisy ad" from President Johnson's campaign. Both ads feature children, countdowns and nuclear explosions--and both ads were meant to evoke the same emotional response.
BENNET: My position is that we ought to begin bringing our troops home in July '11. And there will be troops there, they'll have to leave troops there, and I recognize that. But this is the longest shooting war in our country's history.
Q: But if a significant number of combat forces must remain to achieve US goals, you'd be for it or against it?
BENNET: I would have to look at it then, but what I want to make clear is that I believe the president needs to honor the commitment that he made to begin bringing our troops home. I don't know what "significant" is. I imagine that there will be a substantial number of troops there for the foreseeable future.
Q: And you could support that?
BENNET: I believe what the American people need to see that our commitment there is coming to an end.
Bennet's view was even briefer, saying U.S. goals in Afghanistan should be to destroy al-Qaida groups on the Pakistan border and then to support the Pakistan military to make certain that country's nuclear weapons are secure from terrorists. Then U.S. troops should be brought home.
Faith2Action.org is "the nation's largest network of pro-family groups." They provide election resources for each state, including Voter Guides and Congressional Scorecards excerpted here. The Faith2Action survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: 'Set a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan '
Excerpts from Letter from 85 Senators to President Obama We all hope that nuclear negotiations succeed in preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapons capability. For diplomacy to succeed, however, we must couple our willingness to negotiate with a united and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime. We urge you to insist on the realization of these core principles with Iran:
Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Enforcing Iran Nuke Deal," Jan. 25, 2017): More than anything else, the Iran nuclear deal must be kept because the alternative is a return to ever-heightening tensions and clamoring by hawks in both countries. From 2003 to 2014, years of unrelenting U.S. sanctions and confrontation, Iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000. The hostile approach generates a more expansive, less transparent Iranian nuclear program and increases the chances for another disastrous U.S. war in the Middle East. Let's hope the Trump administration chooses not to go that route.
Axios.com summary: The House passed a symbolic war powers resolution directing President Trump to halt the use of military force against Iran unless he obtains approval from Congress.
The big picture: A classified briefing on the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani [by the US military] left Democrats and even some Republicans deeply skeptical, with many claiming that officials did not provide evidence that there was an "imminent" threat from Iran. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said they will vote in favor of a similar resolution in the Senate [S J Res 68].
What opponents are saying: Former national security adviser and notorious Iran hawk John Bolton tweeted: "The 1973 War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Constitution allocated foreign affairs authority between the President and Congress. The Resolution should be repealed." Pres. Trump quote tweeted Bolton and added: "Smart analysis, I fully agree!"
What supporters are saying: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was one of the few Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution, stating on the House floor: "Killing Soleimani was the right decision, but engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation that would block funding for offensive military force against Iran without congressional authorization. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is also seeking to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used repeatedly to justify war in the Middle East in the wake of 9/11. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF in 2001, criticizing it as a "blank check."
Legislative outcome: H Con Res 83 Passed House 224-194-13 on 1/9/20; S J Res 68 passed Senate 55-45-0 on 2/13/20. Vetoed 5/6; Senate veto override failed 5/7/20.
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