President Donald Trump‘s authorization of a drone strike to kill Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani has led to worries that it will escalate tensions in the region, with some suggesting the possibility of the U.S. going to war with Iran. In response, Michigan Representative and Independent Justin Amash took to Twitter to say that Trump does not have the power to make such a decision.
“There’s a reason our Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war,” Amash tweeted Thursday. “Every American may be intimately affected by a violent conflict. Soleimani was evil. But our system demands consent for war from the people, acting through their representatives and senators in Congress.”
Amash noted today that the powers that authorize the use of U.S. military, including the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force and 2002 AUMF, as well as the War Powers Resolution, check the president’s ability to bring the country’s troops into armed conflict without the approval of Congress. The 39-year-old congressman also noted the 10 USC §127e only provides funding authorization for special operations to combat terrorism — not an authorization of war.
“The president has the power, when seconds matter, to prevent an imminent attack on the United States, but the Pentagon and administration officials have presented contradictory statements about whether this was the justification.”
Per Hill Reporter, Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides Congress authorization to declare war. Regardless, many presidents have used their Article II powers to bring the country into armed conflict without an official declaration from Congress.
Amash has been open about his belief that Trump has no intention of ending foreign wars, as he pledged during his campaign. The libertarian congressman noted that Trump had doubled the number of troops in Afghanistan and says that — despite reductions — more soldiers remain in the region than when former President Barack Obama left office.
After Trump removed troops from Syria, Amash expressed his belief that the decision was not indicative of getting America out of the Middle East.
“He himself has increased our troop presence. He vetoed legislation that would have limited U.S. involvement in the Yemen war. He is a fraud.”
Not everyone agrees with Amash. Several lawmakers have reportedly claimed that killing Soleimani was justified, especially following the recent protests in Baghdad that led to the attack on the U.S. embassy in the Iraq capital. In addition, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker noted that Soleimani had killed many Americans, although he expressed concern over Trump’s long-term strategy toward Iran.