“It’s UnAmerican. It’s Unconstitutional”: Utah Senator Denounces The Iran Briefing As “Absolutely Insane”

An interesting thing occurred on Capitol Hill yesterday. A U.S. Senator demanded to be treated as an actual U.S. Senator. After the briefing by the Trump Administration on the “imminent” threat behind the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimanim, Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee came out of the hearing irate at what he described as the “worst military briefing” he had ever witnessed. Lee is one of President Donald Trump’s most committed supporters and a hawk. However, he has a quaint notion of being part of an independent branch of government with independent obligations under federal law. Lee refused to simply rubber stamp the position of the White House and denounced the “briefing” as offering no real evidence and little beyond platitudes. Sen. Rand Paul joined Lee in criticizing the briefing as clearly insufficient. In response to this principled position, both have been accused of “empowering the enemy” by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Defending the authority and functions of Congress is precisely what the Framers demanded in our system of checks and balances.

The White House has recognized that it must establish that the killing was justified to halt an imminent attack. The President and every top official stated that the evidence was clear. There is no reason why that clear evidence could not be shared with Congress. More importantly, Congress has a right to the information under the War Power Act. Democrats left the briefing and uniformly said that no evidence of imminent attack was given. Then Lee came out and said the very same thing. He was clearly agitated by what he saw as an insult to Congress:

“I want to state at the outset: I support President Trump. The briefing lasted only 75 minutes, whereupon our briefers left. This, however, is not the biggest problem I have with the briefing, which I would add was probably the worst briefing I’ve seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I’ve served in the United States Senate.

“I find this insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional. And it’s wrong. … They are appearing before a coordinate branch of government responsible for their funding, for their confirmation, for any approval of any military action they might take. They had to leave after 75 minutes while they were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and not debate this in public. I find that to be absolutely insane.”

Worse yet for the White House, the failure to share intelligence led Lee to change his mind and support a War Powers resolution introduced by Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine to curb Trump’s authority to take unilateral military action. He further stated that he resented the effort of the White House to tell Congress not to debate the issue on attacking Iran.

As someone who has long criticized the loss of congressional independence and authority to an ever-expanding Executive Branch, the moment was a rare and long-needed moment. Many of these senators only assert congressional authority when the White House is held by an opposing party. Most of the Democratic senators supported President Barack Obama as he circumvented Congress in a series of unilateral actions.

These senators are not anti-Trumpers. They are people of good faith who re seeking to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution and the American people. That is why these are profiles of courage in a time of cringing obedience on both sides of our political debate. One can disagree with their conclusions or, as a senator, what is necessary for supporting evidence, but we should all be able to commend their courage and integrity.

154 thoughts on ““It’s UnAmerican. It’s Unconstitutional”: Utah Senator Denounces The Iran Briefing As “Absolutely Insane””

  1. As many on the blog know, the Sunni Shiite dispute celebrated its 1000th birthday 600 hundred years ago. I am sure you will all want to join me in wishing these two groups, Happy Birthday — and the best of luck to them. Perhaps they will make better progress on their problems over the next couple of hundred years or so.

      1. I beg your pardon. That should have read “400 years ago”, not 600. The ongoing conflict between the two is pretty much as old as Islam itself.

  2. This looks like a typical Trump play for a press release. Create a crisis and then claim victory for solving it once things return to the status quo by holding a press conference so filled with inaccuracies I lost count.

    Meanwhile, Iranian state networks claimed that 80 “American terrorists” had been killed and that the bases had sustained heavy damage in what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called a “crushing response”.

    Perhaps one reason there won’t be at least a catastrophic escalation to this is that both countries currently have leaders that are more than comfortable lying to their populations. As long as the situation remains contained, both sides can say whatever they want about it.

    1. “This looks like a typical Trump play for a press release. Create a crisis…”

      Stevej, are you denying that Soleimani was the leader that orchestrated the deaths and injuries of many Americans? Are you denying that Iran is attempting to create nuclear weapons? Are you denying that Iran has stopped vessels in international waters? Are you denying that Iran policy is Death to America? Are you denying that Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism including Hezbollah and Hamas? Are you denying any terror threats in the western hemisphere by Iran?

      1. I’m saying Trumps latest press release doesn’t do anything about that. And again, the main promoter of terrorism is Saudi Arabia.

        1. “the main promoter of terrorism is Saudi Arabia.”

          Stevej, is Saudi Arabia the backer of Hezbollah or Hamas or any of the other state sponsored groups of terrorism? I’m not saying Saudi Arabia isn’t a threat today but can you tell us the terrorist activites of Saudi Arabia over the past year?

          “I’m saying Trumps latest press release doesn’t do anything about that.”

          What is the that you are talking about?

          1. They fund ISIS and Al Qaeda. Unlike the beltway crowd, who are payed off by them, I don’t give them extra credit for taking a little time to launder their money first so they put out press releases on how they do not approve of these groups activities.

            1. Do the Saudi’s still fund either of them? Can you show us? The Saudi’s have contributed to fighting the war against ISIS. The question is how much do they fund such terrorism at this point in time. The Saudi rulers have a problem with their own people and they have a problem defining who they are. We have to deal with the present and which direction the Saudi’s are moving. We know the Iranian leadership hate us and likely contributed in some fashion to 911 so one has to think about the complex nature of what we are dealing with. One requires a unified strategy. Don’t for a moment think I have any fondness for the Saudi’s. I’m being pragmatic.

              So far it can be shown that Iran is the largest sponsor of state terrorism while you haven’t demonstrated very much to prove Saudi today is a sponsor of state terrorism.

              1. Let me get this straight. They used to, but now they have redeemed themselves.

                “Well your honor, I have paid some hit men to do some work for me for the past couple of decades, but I stopped a couple years ago. I won’t do it anymore.”

                Is that how you want to leave it?

                “Then look at Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petrodollars – our very own money – to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them.” Donald Trump, 2015 and on the campaign trail as well. He’s right.

                1. Steve, you provided a bad analogy but I have to ask is pragmatism a lost idea to you? I guess you stick with the idea that enemies never talk to one another and can never build bridges.

      2. Incidentally, Trump’s farcical comment that Iran has caused the misery in Yemen is really something to behold. The United States and Saudi Arabia are responsible for the atrocities in Yemen that put anything Iran or Bashar al-Assad have done to shame.

        1. “The United States and Saudi Arabia are responsible for the atrocities in Yemen that put anything Iran or Bashar al-Assad have done to shame.”

          The war in Yemen is partly a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Before dealing with that tell me the specific atrocities done by the US that put anything Assad has done to shame.

            1. Steve, you haven’t shown me “the specific atrocities done by the US that put anything Assad has done to shame.”

              I assume you realize that you were exaggerating.

              Do you realize how long the war has been going on and its origins?

                1. controlling food supplies is a pretty common tactic in conflicts since stalin too

                  unintentional starvation as a byproduct of crazed socialist policies has happened even more

                  of course that doesn’t make it right. in either instance

                2. “Using starvation as a weapon was last practiced, as far as I know, by Stalin.”

                  Steve I realize how much easier it is to say what you did than to answer the questions. Perhaps you should take note of the origins of the war and take note as to why there is a war in the first place. Though I am not in love with either side the Stalinists would be the rebels. Trace what has happened since the Arab Spring. In Yemen it was supposed to lead to stability after the authoritarian dictator handed over power to his deputy. This led to open revolution which started the most severe food crisis which had always been an issue.

                  The fighting between two groups has caused devastation and starvation. It will require the cooperation of both sides to reduce the suffering. Yemen has developed into a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Iran has supported the revels and launched ballistic missiles at Riyadh along with sending weapons to the rebel forces.

                  There Steve you didn’t answer the questions so I answered some of them for you. I don’t think your comment was at all helpful. It was your emotions talking and maybe a bit of your ideology but it certainly wasn’t adding to the discussion.

                  In Yemen there are no men with white hats.

          1. tell me the specific atrocities done by the US
            _____________________________________
            tell me the specific atrocities done by Soleimani?

            1. Anon, I don’t waste such time any longer. In the past I did but after you ran away time after time along with changing your alias it proves to be a total waste of time.

              Soleiman’s role in terrorism in the middle east has been well described.

            2. Using mass starvation as a weapon, which is, among other things, being done in Yemen in addition to indiscriminate bombing, in my view, pretty much takes the cake. I know of some people who want to claim the United States is “merely assisting” Saudi Arabia. There was an absurd statement made by a United States Colonel, I believe it was, who said we merely refuel the Saudi planes in midair. We don’t know their specific mission, so we are not responsible. That’s the kind of guy Trump should have in his cabinet. Based on what Trump has done so far, they’d get along well together.

              I take it that you are implying Soleimani has not committed atrocities the way the term is generally used.

              1. I take it that you are implying Soleimani has not committed atrocities the way the term is generally used.
                _______________________________________
                What Soleimani did was no different then what the US has done. That is not to say I condone the actions of either.

          2. Most of the weapons the Al-Saud Krime Syndikat family employs are American-sourced.

            The Al-Saud Krime Syndikat beheads more persons annually that ISIS, including for homosexuality. Our ME ally Saudi Arabia is the most corrupt and evil military dictatorship extant. SA’s only saving grace to US rulers is that it’s an ally of Zionist Israel, a nation of zero national interest to the US except for fabricated reasons.

            1. Trohar, you might gain something as would most people by visiting this very short video.

              If You Hate Israel, You’re No Friend of the Jews

              1. this video is pretty amusing and smart as most of Praeger’s videos and it makes a sound fundamental point.

                However it is a perplexing thing is that the Left wing critics of Israel are often Jewish such as Noam Chomsky. Now we enter into a complicated subject with some nuance, and, not being Jewish myself, I’ll try and be fair to all sides, as I see them, as a regular mensch out here in flyover.

                Marx was of course Jewish as was Trotsky. And many of the early Soviet leadership were of Jewish ancestry. Not religious Jews of course because indeed they were Marxists. Trotsky believed that antisemitism was a function of class conflict, due to the historical affluence of jewish moneylenders, tax farmers, and peddlers, who may have exploited the workers etc or however they reckoned the class conflicts in feudal societies. I am not sure if i described this right, you can read him on the subject here. Just keep in mind that Trotsky is one of the greatest influences on the contemporary American Left, long decades after Stalin’s assassin shoved an icepick in his skull during his retirement in Mexico. I will break this link up so it doesnt get blocked by the filter:

                https://www.marxists.org/ archive/trotsky/1940/xx/jewish.htm

                Trotsky was killed (1940) prior to Israel’s formation of course so Israel was not a factor for him when he was in power in the USSR before Stalin edged him out. Later Soviet policy towards Israel was a vacillating phenomenon. An interesting story if you like history and its nuances.

                What many people may not realize is that Zionism itself was a secular movement. Early in the phenomenon, Jewish religious leaders often rejected it. That is now a small minority position, but again, an interesting story if one is interested, which finds certain interesting manifestations to this current day such as the exemption of haredim from compulsory service in Israel.

                The issue of Zionism seems to continue to trouble left wing and liberal jews in America, if I may hypothesize, perhaps, because they are fundamentally anti-nationalist in any sense, and that includes suspicion towards Jewish nationalism in turn. But these left wingers who hate nationalists of any kind now, are not so much marxists now per se but more of what we would now call globalists, which is a contemporary manifestation of the kind of materialistic universalism that at one time captivated the minds of people like Marx or Trotsky, and now, appears to animate Geo Soros and a lot of his donees among the NGOs and socalled civic organizations he funds and controls. Hence we see the strange situation that a lot of the contemporary left wing critics of Israel, may have affiliations with a Jewish billionaire.

                This marks a big difference from a hundred years ago, when the Jewish billionaires such as the Rothschilds were big supporters of Zionism,

                https://www.jweekly.com/1997/03/21/the-rothschilds-generations-of-nurturing-zionism/

                Today, the European “far right” has seen through a lot of the foggy thinking of earlier generations which was mired in outdated feudal alliances, and has eschewed and rejected antisemitism. Marine Le Pen actually expelled her own father from the French party the FN over this.

                While I would not say that they are pro-Israeli or pro-Jewish, there has been a sea change in attitudes among European nationalists and populists.

                In this link, the Jerusalem post explores the changing situation there with some subtlety and nuance

                jpost.com/Opinion/The-relationship-between-Israel-and-Marine-Le-Pen-485474

                At the bottom of this we can see how Israel takes a nuanced view towards Trump, one of its allies, at the same time the Jewish voices on the Left in America are some of his most hateful critics. This is an irony, but I hope I have helped tease out some of the threads which help make sense of it, as it relates to the underlying political theories which diverge among the “Left” and all the rest.

                1. Kurtz, there are many facets to this question too numerous to even summarize in this type of blog. I don’t think there is any one person or small group of persons that can together have sufficient answers. Thomas Sowell touched on one answer in his book on culture where he discusses what happens when a group of outsiders out performs the native people. But that is only a small tidbit of a much wider question.

                  Thanks for your interesting post.

  3. “Col. Lawrence Wilkerson Calls Out Trump’s Lies on Iran”

    JANUARY 09, 2020

    By Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan

    President Donald Trump brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran by ordering the assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the second most powerful figure in Iran. After Soleimani and four others were killed in a U.S. drone strike at Baghdad International Airport Friday, Trump, offering no evidence, alleged that Soleimani was orchestrating imminent attacks on American personnel. We should be skeptical when Trump, or any leader, invokes secret “intelligence” to justify their violent actions. Perhaps no one knows this better than Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. He witnessed, and participated in, the effort by President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and others to promote lies to justify the disastrous, illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.

    “That effort led to a war of choice with Iraq — one that resulted in catastrophic losses for the region and the United States-led coalition, and that destabilized the entire Middle East,” Wilkerson wrote in a New York Times editorial in 2018 titled, “I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.” Wilkerson continued, “the Trump administration is using much the same playbook to create a false impression that war is the only way to address the threats posed by Iran. This war with Iran … would be 10 to 15 times worse than the Iraq war in terms of casualties and costs.”

    Back in 2003, Col. Wilkerson helped Powell prepare his infamous Feb. 5, 2003, speech before the United Nations Security Council. “My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources,” Powell said. “These are not assertions. What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.” His presentation included numerous slides, audio clips and a sample vial, purportedly containing anthrax, which Powell gingerly held aloft for the cameras. The speech lasted over two hours and, it turns out, was riddled with lies and fabrications. Powell would later describe his performance as a permanent “blot” on his record. But it did the job. Six weeks later, “shock and awe” began: The Bush/Cheney administration indiscriminately bombed Iraq.
    “All across the region, the chaos that we’re looking at was produced by the United States invasion in 2003,” Wilkerson observed on the “Democracy Now!” news hour this week. “I watched as the intelligence was cooked, as principals in the George W. Bush government were sold by that intelligence or helped to warp that intelligence, as was the case with Dick Cheney, and I watched the inevitable march to war.”

    Among the similarities that Wilkerson sees between the lies that led to war in 2003 and today are Trump surrogates appearing on TV or, now, Twitter, lying to the public. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted after the assassination that Soleimani “assisted in the clandestine travel to Afghanistan of 10 of the 12 terrorists who carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States.”

    “Pence’s words are laughable,” Wilkerson said on “Democracy Now!” “Soleimani and his entourage were actually helping us in Afghanistan in 2001, early 2002, to fight the Taliban. We got indispensable help from Iran in that regard.”

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been one of the most vocal and omnipresent defenders of Trump’s assassination of Soleimani. “We are going to lie, cheat and steal, as Pompeo is doing right now, as Trump, [Defense Secretary] Esper, Lindsey Graham [and] Tom Cotton [are] doing right now, and a host of other members of my political party, the Republicans, are doing right now … to continue this war complex.” Wilkerson said. “That’s the truth of it. And that’s the agony of it.”

    Col. Wilkerson is not the only Republican critical of Trump’s actions. Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee spoke to the press Wednesday, reacting to what he said was “probably the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issue.” He called the briefing “absolutely insane,” and described how the briefers discouraged a debate on Iran in Congress: “I don’t care whether they’re with the CIA, with the Department of Defense or otherwise to come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It’s un-American, it’s unconstitutional and it’s wrong.”

    Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who has witnessed the war-makers behind closed doors, firsthand, is not optimistic about the prospects for peace: “Ever since 9/11, the beast of the national security state, the beast of endless wars, the beast of the alligator that came out of the swamp, for example, and bit Donald Trump just a few days ago, is alive and well,” he concluded on “Democracy Now!” “America exists today to make war.”

    https://www.democracynow.org/2020/1/9/col_lawrence_wilkerson_calls_out_trump

  4. James Risen:

    https://theintercept.com/2020/01/09/donald-trump-iran-suleimani-murder/

    Excerpt:

    If we had a real Congress, there would be a congressional investigation into whatever lame, paper-thin legal rationalizations have been written by government lawyers to back up this murder. Instead, we are left with the nagging realization that Trump has just found a new loophole to circumvent the assassination ban.

    But such actions prompt responses. Iran’s parliament has passed a bill designating all U.S. military forces terrorists.

    The threat of retaliation has always been one of the most potent arguments against the use of assassination as a national security tool: It can prompt other countries to target Americans for assassination. And if international strictures against assassination are eliminated, we will be one step closer to the abandonment of the laws of war.

    1. Nonsense. Rand Paul is simply another of those in Congress who would prefer that Americans be the victims of attacks. The President didn’t need any approval from Rand Paul or others of his ilk to take out mass murderer and designated terrorist Soleimani.

      If you want to hear genuine common sense on the Iran story, see this video:

    2. My caveat to Rand Paul would be that the actions taken by Trump took place in so-called “Iraq” and had to do with supposedly deterring military activities in so-called “Iraq.” So you can claim that the 2002 AUMF applies because it is dealing with the aftermath of removing Saddam Hussein.

      What Paul ought to be doing is noting the absurdity of an 18 year old use of force resolution in the first place. It has turned 18 years old and will continue indefinitely because the mission involves putting our troops in the middle of multiple disputes that are multi-centuries old or longer. Resolving those disputes is not their job and won’t be accomplished within the next couple of centuries or so if then.

    3. Re Lindsay Graham’s pro-war monologues: no body dead or living can talk up a war as well as Graham. He is the sharpest orator who ever lived to talk up reasons to fight endless military excursions the US is guaranteed to lose. In this regard he is one of the best artists who ever lived.

      May he rot in hell forever for it.

  5. No, Senator Mike Lee is not acting in good faith. Nor is he complaining because of any purported Constitutional issues. Lee is strictly a RINO, has repeatedly opposed President Trump on a broad array of issues, and is simply grandstanding because he knows that leftist media outlets like CNN and MSNBC will prominently feature him and his agenda because he is in sync with the Democrats, not the President. There is no Constitutional issue involved. Soleimani was designated a terrorist and supporter of terrorism by the U.S. and by the European Union. That designation occurred under the Obama administration. The Quds Force, the entity he led is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (IRGC), which is considered a terrorist organization by Canada, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United States. President Trump officially designated the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in April, 2019. The President did not need any Congressional authorization to take action against mass murderer/terrorist Soleimani.

    Perhaps Professor Turley, the Democrats, and the RINOs would be happier if Soleimani had committed some more mass murders before the President took any action?

    But that’s the approach to take when the U.S. actually wants to get deeply involved in a war. That’s the approach taken by Presidents Clinton and Bush, when they repeatedly passed on taking out Osama bin Laden and when they ignored urgent intelligence reports in the months and days leading up to the 9/11 attacks that a plan code-named “The Big Wedding” was well underway.

    For example, in late July 2001, Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil learned that Osama bin Laden was planning a “huge attack” on targets inside America. The attack was imminent, and would kill thousands, he learned from the leader of the rebel Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which was closely allied with al-Qaeda at the time. Muttawakil sent an emissary to pass this information on to the US Consul General, and another US official, including US intelligence services.” Sources confirmed that this message was received, but it was ignored. [Independent, 9/7/02, Reuters, 9/7/02] And in June 2001, German intelligence warned the US, Britain, and Israel that Middle Eastern terrorists were planning to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as weapons to attack “American and Israeli symbols which stand out.” Within the American intelligence community, “the warnings were taken seriously and surveillance intensified” but the US still chose to do nothing. This warning came from Echelon, a spy satellite network that is partly based in Germany. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 9/11/01, Washington Post, 9/14/01] And in the second week of August 2001, two high-ranking agents from the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, came to Washington and warned the CIA and FBI that 50 to 200 al-Qaeda terrorists had slipped into the US and were planning an imminent “major assault on the US” aimed at a “large scale target” [Telegraph, 9/16/01, Los Angeles Times, 9/20/01, Ottawa Citizen, 9/17/01 Fox News, 5/17/02]. Near the end of August, France also gave a warning that was an “echo” of Israel’s. [Fox News, 5/17/02]. This is just a small sampling of the many warnings that the US Government received, but chose to ignore.

    But President Trump sought to avoid war, and not to follow the approach of his critics, that seem to prefer Americans to be vulnerable to attacks and to be the victims of attacks.

    As for Senator Mike Lee and what he’s really all about, see this segment about him from the Lou Dobbs show:

  6. NATO should just wipe Itan off the face of the Earth.

    …..

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-51055219

    Iran mistakenly shot down Ukraine jet – US media

    Iran mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian plane that crashed on Wednesday near Tehran with 176 people on board, US media report.

    US officials say they believe the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was hit by a missile, CBS says.

    Ukraine earlier said it was examining whether a missile strike brought down the aircraft – but Iran ruled this out.

    The crash came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.

    Russian-made Tor missile system in Iran. File photoAFP/Getty Images
    Iran is known to have Russian-made Tor missile defence systems
    CBS News quoted US intelligence sources as saying a satellite detected infrared “blips” of two missile launches, followed by another blip of an explosion.

    Meanwhile, Newsweek quoted a Pentagon and senior US intelligence officials, as well as an Iraqi intelligence official, as saying they believed the Ukrainian plane was hit by a Russian-made Tor missile.

    US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he had “suspicions” about what happened to the plane.

    Amid tensions heightened by the US killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on 3 January, Iran has said it will not hand over the recovered black box flight recorders to Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer, or to the US.

    Mobile phone footage appears to show the plane in the moments before it came down
    Under global aviation rules Iran has the right to lead the investigation, but manufacturers are typically involved.

    What does US media report?

    In separate reports, CBS News and Newsweek said US and Iraqi intelligence officials were confident the Ukrainian plane was brought down by a missile fired by Iran.

    CBS published a brief report on Twitter. It said this information was based on US intelligence, which sources said picked up signals of a radar being turned on.

    US satellites also reportedly detected two missile launches shortly before the Ukrainian plane exploded.

    Meanwhile, Newsweek quoted US and Iraqi officials as saying they believed the aircraft was hit by a Russia-built Tor M-1 surface-to-air missile system

    1. Said by Anonymous @ 3:22 PM

      “NATO should just wipe Itan off the face of the Earth.”

      Said like a good little neocon.

    2. Trump said in his speech our quarrel is not with the people of Iran who have a long and important history.

      He also said we do not seek regime change

      I approve of both those messages

      He also said Sulemani was a dangerous terrorist.

      I think he was a legitimate target.

      The War Powers of Congress have been much abdicated by Congress and that’s their fault not whomever is President. Adversaries of the US are busy trying to break stuff and kill people and the POTUS has a responsibility to act promptly and decisively. Congress is also full of notorious leakers who can’t be trusted not to endanger our security for their own narrow opportunities. They are scurrilous dogs most of them.,

      I think every Democrat who is whining about this now, that failed to complain about Obama’s drone attacks, is a total hypocrite. Rand Paul I think is OK but he’s a fool for showing up with this other Republican who’s talking garbage about the briefing.

      The Iranians shooting down a civilian plane is more proof of their despicable tactics.

      The Saudis are a despicable lot too, perhaps, but they’re roughly aligned with US strategic interests.

      In any use of force, noncombattant civilians should not be targeted, nor legitimate diplomats.

      It’s crystal clear that Sulemani was a combattant warlord and not a civilian, and the notion he was on a mission of diplomacy is false and laughable. Nobody believes that just as Pompeo said.

      So far I am ok with Trump on this episode. The analogy to preceding years of over-reaching in the Middle east is not apt.

  7. Obama Finds Predator Drones Hilarious

    The Atlantic
    May 3, 2010

    Operating for years in Afghanistan and Pakistan as an officially secret counterterrorism program, the drones have drawn controversy for their notoriously high civilian casualty rate, the anti-American rage they provoke in the region, and for the dubious constitutionality of assassinating foreign nationals. So when Obama incorporated a Predator Drone joke into his Correspondents Dinner routine, it raised some eyebrows:

    “The Jonas Brothers are here; they’re out there somewhere. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don’t get any ideas. I have two words for you, ‘predator drones.’ You will never see it coming. You think I’m joking.”

  8. The sequence was a perfect example of shock tactics as first one (President) then two (RINO Paul representing the left) and then three Constitutionalist (Lee) demonstrated how badly things have become without stating the reason for no prior notice and briefings were due to the one sides penchant for joining the other side (the Iranians and US Socialists) in this case.

    But notice how fast was the briefing to the most important audience. The Citizens of Our Constitutional Republic received the FIRST Briefing brief as it was but then the situation is far from being over and care must be taken for the left not to sell out our military.

    The street theater presented by 1, 2, and 3 was the perfect, undeniably accurate, condemnation of the socialist party one whatever name they are using today,

  9. “GOP senator who erupted over Iran briefing shares awful new details

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/01/09/gop-senator-who-erupted-over-iran-briefing-shares-awful-new-details/

    Excerpts:

    Now, in the interview with NPR’s Rachel Martin, Lee has gone into more alarming detail. Lee reiterated that officials “were unable or unwilling to identify any point” at which they’d come to Congress for authorization for the use of military force. Then this exchange happened:

    MARTIN: What kind of hypotheticals were you putting to them in hopes of understanding when the administration sees a need for Congressional authority?

    LEE: As I recall, one of my colleagues asked a hypothetical involving the Supreme Leader of Iran: If at that point, the United States government decided that it wanted to undertake a strike against him personally, recognizing that he would be a threat to the United States, would that require authorization for the use of military force?
    The fact that there was nothing but a refusal to answer that question was perhaps the most deeply upsetting thing to me in that meeting.

    Obviously, this was an extreme hypothetical. But the point of it was to discern the contours of the administration’s sense of its own obligation to come to Congress for approval of future hostilities. And it succeeded in doing just that, demonstrating that they recognize no such obligation.

    “It would be hard to understand assassinating a foreign head of state as anything other than an act of war,” Josh Chafetz, a Cornell law professor and the author of a book on Congress’ hidden powers, told me. “It’s appalling that executive-branch officials would imply, even in responding to a hypothetical question, that they do not need congressional authorization to do it.”

    Trump has entered a new era of warfare by openly authorizing the assassination of another nation’s military leader, using an armed drone, says David Ignatius.

    “If the administration won’t concede that this is a clear example of when they would have to go to Congress, it’s hard to imagine what would be,” Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, added. “This underscores just how completely irrelevant they view Congress to be in the war powers conversation.”

    In the NPR interview, Lee also disclosed that at one point in the briefing, an official “discouraged us from even having a debate on the Senate floor” about whether Congress should pass new measures constraining Trump’s authority to launch future military actions without authorization.

    1. This was a stupid question. They couldn’t answer it. It was even stupider for him to spell it out for the press.

      As for a “new era” of war, we have been in it with Iran since they stormed our EMBASSY back in 1979.

      IRAN does not follow the conventions of war per Western standards and now we have got that clear in the military and yet our civilian leaders lag far, far behind.

      Want to know about Quds battalions and their very cunning and successful use of low intensity warfare concepts, strategies and tactics, most of all at the small unit level? Here’s a book which laid it out years ago, relevant as ever

      https://www.amazon.com/Tactics-Crescent-Moon-Militant-Methods/dp/0963869574

      btw this was on General Mattis’ “must read” list … i read it long before i ever heard of Mattis, but gratified to know I was well informed.

      Sulemani was a master of these methods, and killing him was a master stroke. The more i hear people whine about it in the press, the more I know it was a very smart move!

      1. I agree that Mike Lee’s “hypothetical” about the President’s right to kill the Supreme Leader of Iran was an unanswerable question because a responsive answer requires it to be more fully detailed.

        I also don’t think General Solameini’s death was an assassination. He was there while militia under Quds Force tutelage and control were overrunning our Embassy to Iraq and had killed an American at a joint Iraqi-US base. That made him a part of an enemy force attacking Americans in Iraq.

        The attack was allowable under the Laws of Armed Conflict as i understand them (perhaps there are subtleties I don’t understand, but that whole line of reasoning doesn’t seem to have been explored).

        I don’t know if that argument had been made to the Senators during the briefing. If it was not made, why not?

        Those were questions that might reasonably be asked of the administration by the Senate. There ought to have been answers researched and ready.

    2. This is consistent with Trump’s claim that Article II empowers him to do whatever he wants. He doesn’t listen to anyone who tells him otherwise. It wouldn’t shock me if he went ahead and killed some other military or political leader of another country, even after Congress passes a specific law saying he can’t, if he thought it would benefit him politically. And, that’s what this really was about–diverting attention away from impeachment and providing fodder for his campaign commercials and fundraising.

      He is a malignant narcissist. Everything in his orbit is all about him: power, glory, adulation, praise. Anyone who criticizes him, tells him he’s wrong, or otherwise interferes with his pathological need for praise, attention, glory, and perceived power, must go. Trump is dangerous now because he is apparently getting away with killing Soulimani and lying about there being an imminent threat. They’re also lying about not being able to explain what the imminent threat was on the grounds that the information is classified.

        1. Here’s Obama saying it out loud….his favorite thing about being president is that he can do “whatever he wants.” And we all watched him do it, for eight long years.

          1. It is official: Pelosi is nucken futz

            https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51053200

            US House to vote on limiting Trump war powers

            The US House of Representatives is set to vote on a resolution that aims to limit President Donald Trump’s ability to make war on Iran.

            The largely symbolic measure seeks to mandate congressional approval for any conflict with Iran, except in cases of an imminent attack against the US.

            It is expected to pass the Democratic-held House, but faces tougher prospects in the Republican-controlled Senate.

            Even if the measure clears Congress, it would not reach the president’s desk for a potential veto because it is a concurrent resolution and lacks the force of law.

            The measure cites the 1973 War Powers Act, which granted Congress the ability to check the president’s power to commit the US to armed conflict.

            But the legal questions remain unresolved over whether Congress can use a concurrent resolution to bind the president.

            House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Thursday she did not believe Mr Trump had made the US safer after last week’s drone strike that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

            Mr Trump, a Republican, meanwhile tweeted that he hoped “all House Republicans will vote against Crazy Nancy Pelosi’s War Powers Resolution”.

            Doug Collins of Georgia claimed Democrats were “in love with terrorists” and grieving more for Soleimani than for US service personnel killed by the Iranian commander.

            “They mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani,” he told Fox News.

      1. Natch,

        a– he didn’t say that.
        b– narcissist, puxxy grabber, etc. you’re like a broken record!
        c– Trump is dangerous? Actually Sulemani is dangerous, dangerous to the citizens and soldiers of “the great satan, America,” dangerous to kaffirs like you and me outside the “ummah” not paying the “jizyah” non-believer tax, and Trump made the world safer for Americans by green-lighting his termination. You can send him a letter thanking him, would be my suggestion

        have a great day

        1. it wasn’t funny then, and it’s not funny now

          when we have a drone strike on U.S. soil, Americans* may begin to understand (*…those Americans who don’t already understand…)

          “Presidents have tremendous power in life-or-death decisions …

          https://www.washingtonpost.com › opinions › 2019/02/25

          Feb 25, 2019 – President Barack Obama makes a statement on Afghanistan at the White … reportedly bragged, “Turns out I’m really good at killing people.”

          Is Trump feeling the same way?

          1. Says the azzwipe Anonymous who thinks he is Zeus….you are more like Xerxes. You need to unplug and get some fresh air

            1. Anonymous at 3:41 made his comment while looking in the mirror…

              You give yourself away: You’re a hater

      2. Shaddup Natacha. Do you remember that malignant narcissist who preceded Trump? You know, the one who had almost no experience running anything but his mouth in all his self-glorifying speeches? Do you remember Obama doing what he wanted, bypassing Congress, going outside the law and the Constitution, lying to the American people, etc etc etc….all to further his personal political agenda? Of course you don’t.

        1. And yet, Obama always consistently enjoyed higher approval ratings than Trump, still has a higher approval rating, both here and abroad.

          1. Sure….that’s what happens when an empty suit POTUS like Obama spends most of his time working really really hard at keeping his popularity numbers high. Obama spent more time throwing parties at the White House for all the celebrities he schmoozed with and cultivated to be his propagandized mouthpieces and useful idiots….and enjoyed an ass-kissing sycophantic media completely infatuated with him in spite of the fact that his administration spied on journos, lied to journos, and jailed journos….and who made regularly scheduled appearances on The View, the late night comedy shows, got piped in at all the Hollywood award shoes via satellite feed….and had his wife and family plastered on covers of glossy magazines with fawning glowing cover stores at every check out…..then, sure…Obama got high popularity ratings.

            But make no mistake…Obama’s low approval numbers (like in the 20s!) on his policies is always overlooked by the media. Fact is that Obama did a disastrous job as president.

            But sure…he won the popularity contest…and that’s only because he worked really hard at it.

      3. Natacha – if Trump is mentally unstable and believes he can do whatever he wants, then why is Pelosi still standing? Or Schumer? Or CNN? Wouldn’t he be pretty busy conducting drone strikes on everyone who’s ever insulted him, from the comfort of the Oval Office?

        It is not OK to make things up or make false accusations of severe mental illness about someone for political gain, or to help Russia.

        1. Karen S — Many trained psychologists, very many, have noted that Donald Trump is not mentally normal, in several different ways.

          1. Don’t forget that Karen S supported (and still supports) Rocky A$AP, in spite of his conviction in Sweden.

          2. AND NOT ONE OF THEM HAD HIM AS A PATIENT NOR EXAMINED HIM

            THUS BY THE STANDARDS OF PSYCHOLOGY THEIR OPINIONS MEAN NOTHING

    3. Even after the War Powers Act of 1973 was passed, Presidents have always been empowered to act without consulting Congress under their Constitutional mandate to respond to “clear and present danger” to Americans or American interests. It’s a valid question whether the President’s Tweets satisfied the provision of the War Powers Act to report armed responses authorized by the President with 48 hours.

      But talk about Trump committing acts of war is disingenuous. Solameini was in Iraq while a militia he equipped, trained and controlled was attacking out Embassy to Iraq and had killed an American at a joint Iraqi-US base in an illegal rocket attack.

      If an act of war had been committed, it’s a valid inference that it was with Solameini’s knowedge, consistent with his prior tactics as Commander of the Quds Force, and his auhorization of those attacks may reasonably be inferred. Solameini was a clear and present danger to Americans in Iraq and to America’s interests. That made him a valid leadership target in an attack which complied with the Law of Armed Conflict.

      The attack was proportional in scope to the attack which provoked it. Depriving the Shiite militia which attacked us of their leader was a valid military objective, namely disrupting their command and control capability to reduce their combat efficiency. In fact, focussing on leadership targets made our attack more humane that an massive committment of our infantry in country to engage the enemy, with much higher attendant death and injury all around than our drone attack inflicted.

    1. See how the Democrat party’s operatives embedded in the federal bureaucracy– which definitely includes NPR– leap upon any lack of unity as a show of weakness.

      This Lee guy, whom I’d never heard of before, and Senator Paul, whom I respect, should be mindful of how this will be taken by the Democrats who are considerably more “un-American” than the Donald is.

      1. That doesn’t mean Mitch McConnell has to turn into Nancy Pelosi and shut down dissent in his own party. Ultimately, a Republican Senate whose members are free to ask hard questions garners much more respect than the totalitarian horror show Nancy Pelosi and her floor leaders run in the House.

      2. Mike Lee:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Lee_(American_politician)

        “Patriot Act

        In February 2011, Lee was one of two Republicans, along with Rand Paul of Kentucky, to vote against extending the three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that deal with roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” terrorism suspects, and the government’s ability to seize “any tangible items” in the course of surveillance.[32] He voted in the same manner in May 2011.”

        You wouldn’t believe what’s taking place on U.S, soil… There’s been a despicable lack of oversight and we’re in deep shit.

  10. Of course any briefing on military action should follow standard protocol. There is no need to create problems.

        1. Duh. The point is to handle this rogue Senator just like the Democrats do….get word to him that he is a blasphemer, have him declare that he had “misspoken”…and then force him to publicly say the exact opposite.

          You *must* tow the party line when you are a Democrat. You will NOT step out of line. If that’s not authoritarian rule, then tell me what is.

            1. Obviously it’s not a problem with both parties. Google “Rep. Adam Smith” and notice the cowed meekness with which he “admitted” he had “misspoken” about the futility of Pelosi’s holding the Articles of Impeachment back.

              Then read Mike Lee, Susan Collins and Rand Paul discussing openly their support for a War Powers Act resolution and failing to be cowed by the Senate Majority Leader.

              Mitch McConnell stays in his lane and doesn’t seek to intimidate other Senators into complying with the party line. Nancy Pelosi is the Kim Jong-Un of Congress.

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