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Schakowsky Statement on Petroleum Infrastructure Attacks in Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and founding member of the No War with Iran Caucus, issued the following statement:

“The attacks over the weekend against a Saudi petroleum facility are extremely serious and merit robust investigation and an appropriate response. However, President Trump’s bellicose war rhetoric before the dust even settled is inappropriate and dangerous.

”Why would we go to war on behalf of Saudi Arabia as the President indicated he’s considering? Were U.S. citizens harmed or killed in the attack? No.

“Has the U.S. economy been immediately impacted in a devastating way? No.

“In fact, the President assured Americans that U.S. oil reserves and output will make up for the temporary slowdown of Saudi oil into the international market.

“After only three days can we verify with 100% certainty that the attack was organized and planned by the government of Iran? Although it may turn out to be the case, no, we cannot. Too much remains unclear and unverified.

“Americans have had enough war in the Middle East and President Trump does not have the authority to go to war in this context. Under our Constitution, that power is firmly placed in the hands of the Congress. Our existing AUMF authority does not cover this scenario. It is time for the Senate and House to step up and speak in a clear, unified, voice on this issue.

“And why should we trust a word this President says? If this Administration wants us to believe them at a time like this, they shouldn’t lie shamelessly all the time. Their credibility is long gone, and it will take a whole lot to bring it back, if it ever actually existed.

“Keep in mind, as we listen to the drums of war from the White House, we don’t have a National Security Advisor, confirmed Director of National Intelligence, coherent NSC process, or cabinet members willing to give the President opposing views for consideration. Nor do we have Republicans in the Senate willing to stand up to the President. Instead we have a West Wing filled with sycophants, an uninfluential Secretary of Defense, and a hyper-political Secretary of State. This is no way to deal with issues of war and peace. 

“Since the Iranian Revolution, Iran has been a nefarious regional actor. If it turns out they are responsible for this cowardly act they must be held responsible. But that does not mean dragging the U.S. into all out war. I served on the Intelligence Committee for eight years. I know we have tools that can be used to inflict appropriate retribution, and reestablish deterrence, shy of war. We also have diplomacy that should always be tested.

“Pulling out of the Iran Deal has brought us to this point. How has the pull-out helped us? Has Iran’s nuclear program been further set back in the interim? No. Instead Iran has hinted it is preparing to restart elements of their program. Have the new Iran sanctions changed Tehran’s bad behavior? No, in fact it’s getting worse. Do we still have strong diplomatic channels for dispute resolution? No, Trump has done away with that. Instead we are left with an Iran that is more likely to pursue nuclear weapons and flex its muscles in response to the Administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign. Has the world united behind the President’s policy? No, we are out in the cold alone, with only a handful of regional nations supportive of our posture. The President’s spite for President Obama’s landmark achievement has made us, and our regional allies, including Israel, less safe.

“No war with Iran will be easy, short, cheap, or free of massive casualties on both sides. And what is the endgame? We may want regime change in Iran, but that can only come from within. We may want Iran to give up its ballistic missiles and support for terrorism worldwide. But despite the great strength and talent of the U.S. military, that will not be achieved with bombing runs and troop deployments. That will only come with time, diplomacy, smart power, and with the help of allies.

“Finally, in Washington, some of those who grandstand the most about Israel’s security are forgetting a very important thing in the context of a potential U.S. war with Iran. Iran’s terrorist proxy, Hezbollah, sits perched on Israel’s norther border. They are the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor, in possession of an enormous cache of weaponry that includes powerful rockets, ballistic missiles, anti-tank/air/ship munitions. Were we to attack Iran, Iran may unleash their terrorist proxies against our allies. That is exactly why they situated them there in the first place. Let’s be smart before we rush headfirst into a scenario we will be unable to control that jeopardizes our allies and partners.

“Saudi Arabia is not an ally; they are a regional partner at best. We have not forgotten their recent murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the humanitarian disaster they have caused in Yemen, or their dissemination of ideologies that have contributed to global terrorism. For the President to state that he is “waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed” is beyond the pale. I never thought I’d see the day when the American President put the U.S. military into the hands of a Saudi prince. And the Republicans remain silent?

“My constituents do not want Iraq War 3.0: Iran Edition. They, and I, do not want to invade and occupy Iran with hundreds of thousands of troops for decades, and suffer massive loses, which would be required to have any chance to dislodge the Iranian regime. We do not want to bomb Iran and close the Straits of Hormuz and further jeopardize the world’s energy supply. None of this is in our national interest.

“We must calm the rhetoric, work with allies, and be smart. If Iran is in fact responsible, they must be held accountable by the international community. No nation state should get away with such an act of war. But war is not the solution. I call on the President and his Secretary of State to scale it back, look at other options, and work with our partners to deescalate tensions and find a productive path forward.”

 

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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
     
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
    repPhoto    
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills