February 17 2020
Most members of Oregon's congressional delegation released statements Friday condemning President Donald Trump's decision to assassinate Iranian general Qassim Suleimani.
The U.S. senators and representatives focused primarily on the need for congressional approval to declare war.
"If we are not careful, President Trump's impulsive recklessness will lead the United States into yet another endless war in the Middle East," Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said in a statement.
DeFazio stressed that the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to declare war, not the president.
"If he intends to engage U.S. forces in hostile action, President Trump must immediately convene Congress, share the intelligence that precipitated this strike, and ask for authority under the War Powers Act," DeFazio said. "There is still time to stop this risky escalation, but Congress must assert its constitutionally-granted war powers immediately to do so."
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., echoed that sentiment in his statement.
"In the interest of national security, Congress needs to reassert its constitutional responsibility before any further escalation," Blumenauer said. "We cannot trust this administration to act responsibly on its own and it is past time to stop the endless wars."
Trump Says Killing Of Iranian General Was Necessary To "Stop A War,' Not "Start One' Oregon's Democratic senators, Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both spoke about the potential backlash against Americans in their statements.
"President Trump has justified his decision to assassinate a senior Iranian official as a deterrent against future Iranian attacks on Americans. The opposite could very well be true, with Iran feeling compelled to respond," said Merkley, who also serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
"The president has taken a step that could very well lead to escalating warfare with Iran and have profound consequences for American security."
Wyden called Trump's decision to assassinate Suleimani a "reckless escalation that will take us further down the road to ruinous war."
"A president has the responsibility to ensure that all necessary steps have been taken to protect vulnerable American military and civilian targets before taking such a precipitous act," he said. "Given Trump's awful record on foreign policy I'm extremely concerned that he has not prepared for the fallout, which could put more American lives at risk."
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., also spoke on the recklessness of Trump's actions.
"The President and his national security team have not articulated a long-term strategy. They have neither justified the risky and inflammatory action they have already taken nor demonstrated that they are pursuing the best course of action to keep our troops and our country safe," Bonamici said in a statement.
"A great strength of the United States is the ability to show restraint when provoked," she said. "I urge the President to stop escalating this confrontation with Iran and avoid starting another futile war that Congress has not authorized."
Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., did not condemn the president's actions outright, but said in a statement: "It's important that Congress gets a full briefing on the situation and the Administration's strategy going forward."
He called Suleimani the "mastermind behind some of the deadliest terrorist attacks on American men and women who wore our nation's uniform." But stated, "It's obvious Iran will respond and America must be vigilant."
Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., did not immediately respond to request for comment.
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Photo: A boy carries a portrait of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who was killed in the U.S. airstrike in Iraq, prior to the Friday prayers in Tehran, Iran, Friday Jan. 3, 2020. Iran has vowed “harsh retaliation” for the U.S. airstrike near Baghdad’s airport that killed Tehran’s top general and the architect of its interventions across the Middle East, as tensions soared in the wake of the targeted killing. Vahid Salemi/AP