Carper Statement on Aborted Military Strike Against Iran

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), senior Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released the following statement regarding reports that President Trump was moments away from striking Iran on Thursday in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone. On Wednesday, Senator Carper opposed moving to National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 until the Senate votes on his bipartisan bill with Senator Udall –  the Prevent Unconstitutional War with Iran Act – which would prevent the Trump Administration from taking military action against Iran without the approval of Congress. Senator Carper, the only Vietnam veteran serving in the U.S. Senate, has repeatedly warned against war with Iran.

Calling off the strikes on Iran last night was ultimately the right outcome. But the fact that we came that close to responding in such a disproportionate way, or that it was even an option being considered, is alarming. We do not need more chaos. What we need is a coherent strategy from this Administration and consultation with Congress.

“According to reports, it was President Trump’s hawkish appointees who wanted to strike Iran, and it was top military officials at the Pentagon who urged caution. What’s more, critical decisions like this continue to be made in the absence of a Senate-confirmed Secretary of Defense and at the behest of individuals like Mr. Bolton, who has been pushing for war with Iran for over a decade. And while the President did not follow through on a military attack last night and cooler heads did prevail, it is my fear that, without measured individuals like former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in the room, those determined to go to war will continue bringing us closer and closer to the brink.

“Last night’s episode underscores the urgent need for Congress to take a vote on my amendment with Senator Udall to ensure that the President must seek congressional approval before engaging in any hostilities with Iran. It also highlights the need for the Administration to provide classified briefings to Congress immediately. Our country has seen the dangers of being led into wars and conflicts based on misinformation and lies. We cannot, once again, stumble into an endless war in the Middle East that puts American lives at risk.”