Bipartisan Rigell-Lee letter to Pres. Obama on Iraq: respect Constitution on using force
Virginia Republican Scott Rigell and California Democrat Barbara Lee are leading a bipartisan letter to President Obama, urging the President to respect the Constitutional requirement to seek Congressional authorization before using military force in Iraq.
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Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. President:
We join you and with those in the international community who are expressing grave concern over the rise in sectarian violence in Iraq over the last days and weeks. The consequences of this development are particularly troubling given the extraordinary loss of American lives and expenditure of funds over ten years that was claimed to be necessary to bring democracy, stability and a respect for human rights to Iraq.
We support your restraint to date in resisting the calls for a “quick” and “easy” military intervention, and for your commitment not to send combat troops back to Iraq. We also appreciate your acknowledgement that this conflict requires a political solution, and that military action alone cannot successfully lead to a resolution.
We do not believe intervention could be either quick or easy. And, we doubt it would be effective in meeting either humanitarian or strategic goals, and that it could very well be counter-productive. This is a moment for urgent consultations and engagement with all parties in the region who could bring about a cease fire and launch a dialogue that could lead to a reconciliation of the conflict.
Any solution to this complex crisis can only be achieved through a political settlement, and nothing short of that can successfully bring stability to Iraq or the region and only if the process and outcome is inclusive of all segments of the Iraqi population.
As you consider options for U.S. intervention, we write to urge respect for the constitutional requirements for using force abroad. The Constitution vests in Congress the power and responsibility to authorize offensive military action abroad. The use of military force in Iraq is something the Congress should fully debate and authorize. Members of Congress must consider all the facts and alternatives before we can determine whether military action would contribute to ending this most recent violence, create a climate for political stability, and protect civilians from greater harm.
We stand ready to work with you to this end.
Barbara Lee Scott Rigell
Member of Congress Member of Congress