Steve Cohen on War & Peace
Bush lied toget us into Iraq; focus on Afghanistan instead
The administration lied to get the US into this war. Following a high-tech, high-cost invasion they had no plan for the occupation, leading to high costs in lives and money. Now we have created the hot bed of terrorism we were supposed to have
How should it end? The administration must admit that many of the objectives given to support the “pre-emptive” invasion of Iraq can no longer be achieved. It’s time to agree honestly on what objectives can still possibly be attained.
All efforts should be made to achieve those objectives. These objectives will determine the timing for departure. Iraqis need to defend and police their country. Americans need to come home.
Our efforts should be continued in Afghanistan where the Taliban harbored Osama bin Laden and facilitated the horrific events of 9/11. Afghanistan is where we need to complete the job.
Source: 2006 House campaign website, cohenforcongress.com, “Issues”
, Nov 7, 2006
Voted NO on banning armed forces in Libya without Congressional approval.
RESOLUTION Declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of US Armed Forces in Libya, pursuant to the War Powers Resolution.
The House of Representatives makes the following statements of policy: The President shall transmit a report describing in detail US security interests and objectives, and the activities of US Armed Forces, in Libya since March 19, 2011, including a description of the following:
- The US Armed Forces shall be used exclusively to defend and advance the national security interests of the US.
- The President has failed to provide Congress with a compelling rationale based upon US national security interests for current US military activities regarding Libya.
- The President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the US Armed Forces on the ground in Libya unless the purpose of the presence is to rescue a member of the Armed Forces from imminent danger.
Congress has the constitutional prerogative to withhold funding for any unauthorized use of the US States Armed Forces, including for unauthorized activities regarding Libya.
Reference: Resolution on Libya;
; vote number 11-HV410
on Jun 3, 2011
- The President's
justification for not seeking authorization by Congress for the use of military force in Libya.
- US political and military objectives regarding Libya, including the relationship between the intended objectives and the operational means being employed to achieve them.
- Changes in US political and military objectives following the assumption of command by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
- Differences between US political and military objectives regarding Libya and those of other NATO member states engaged in military activities.
- The specific commitments by the US to ongoing NATO activities regarding Libya.
- The anticipated scope and duration of continued US military involvement in Libya.
- The costs of military, political, and humanitarian efforts concerning Libya as of June 3, 2011.
Voted YES on redeploying US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days.
To provide for the redeployment of US Armed Forces and defense contractors from Iraq. Requires within 90 days to commence the redeployment; and to complete such redeployment within 180 days after its commencement. Prohibits the use of DOD funds to increase the number of US forces serving in Iraq in excess of the number serving in Iraq as of January 1, 2007, unless specifically authorized by Congress. Authorizes retaining in Iraq US forces for providing security for diplomatic missions; for targeting al-Qaeda; and for training Iraqi Security Forces. Requires the President to transfer to the government of Iraq all interest held by the US in any military facility in Iraq.
Proponents support voting YES because:
This war is a terrible tragedy, and it is time to bring it to an end. This is a straightforward bill to redeploy our military forces from Iraq and to end the war in Iraq. This bill does not walk away from the Iraqi people.
It specifically continues diplomatic, social, economic, and reconstruction aid. Finally, this bill leaves all the decisions on the locations outside of Iraq to which our troops will be redeployed wholly in the hands of our military commanders.
Opponents support voting NO because:
This legislation embraces surrender and defeat. This legislation undermines our troops and the authority of the President as commander in chief. Opponents express concern about the effects of an ill-conceived military withdrawal, and about any legislation that places military decisions in the hands of politicians rather than the military commanders in the field. The enemy we face in Iraq view this bill as a sign of weakness. Now is not the time to signal retreat and surrender. It is absolutely essential that America, the last remaining superpower on earth, continue to be a voice for peace and a beacon for freedom in our shrinking world.
Reference: Out of Iraq Caucus bill;
Bill H R 2237
; vote number 2007-330
on May 10, 2007
Impeach Dick Cheney for lying about Iraq.
Cohen co-sponsored impeaching Dick Cheney for lying about Iraq
Sets forth articles of impeachment stating that Vice President Cheney:
Bill has 24 co-sponsors. Related Bill H.RES.799 came up for vote on Nov. 6, 2007, but was considered as "privileged matter," then failed a motion to table (kill the bill), and finally was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
Source: Motion to Impeach Vice President Richard Cheney (H.RES.333) 07-HR333 on May 4, 2007
- has purposely manipulated the intelligence process to deceive the citizens and Congress of the United States about a threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and about an alleged relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda, to justify the use of the U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq in a manner damaging to U.S. national security interests; and
- has openly threatened aggression against Iran absent any real threat to the United States, and has done so with the U.S. proven capability to carry out such threats, thus undermining U.S. national security.
Member of the Out-of-Iraq Congressional Caucus.
Cohen is a member the Out-of-Iraq Congressional Caucus
The Out of Iraq Caucus was created in June 2005 to unite members of the House in favor of returning American troops from Iraq. The group's chair, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) said the following when announcing its formation:
"The Out of Iraq Congressional Working Group is a newly formed effort whose sole purpose is to be the main agitators in the movement to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Our efforts will include the coordination of activities and legislation designed to achieve our goal of returning our troops home. Through floor statements, press conferences, TV and radio appearances and other actions, we will provide leadership for the American Public who has been waiting too long for our collective voices against the war."
In a speech on the floor of the House shortly after the group's first meeting, Waters emphasized that the group was not calling for an exit from Iraq on any specific date. Rather, she said it more generally opposed a continued U.S. presence in the country. Waters promised that the caucus would do the following towards this aim:
Source: Out-of-Iraq Caucus website 07-OIC0 on Jan 23, 2007
- Provide support to other members of Congress and caucuses who wish to leave Iraq.
- Provide support to citizens and organized national groups who wish to leave Iraq.
- Organize workshops and seminars for the purpose of encouraging an exit from Iraq.
- Travel across the country to explain the rationale for their position.
- Be available to meet with the families of service members who have been killed or injured in Iraq.
Strengthen sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition.
Cohen co-sponsored strengthening sanctions on Syria & assist democratic transition
A bill to strengthen sanctions against the Government of Syria, to enhance multilateral commitment to address the Government of Syria's threatening policies, to establish a program to support a transition to a democratically-elected government in Syria.
Syria Accountability and Liberation Act - States that US sanctions, controls, and regulations relating to Syria shall remain in effect until the President certifies that Syria has ceased support for terrorism, has dismantled biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons programs and has committed to combat their proliferation, respects the boundaries and sovereignty of all neighboring countries, and upholds human rights and civil liberties.
Source: Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (S2917/HR2332) 08-S2917 on Apr 24, 2008
Imposes specified trade, assistance, and military sanctions, as appropriate, on persons or countries that transfer goods or technology so as to contribute to Syria's biological, chemical, nuclear, or advanced conventional weapons programs.
- Imposes specified sanctions aimed at Syria's energy sector.
- Sets forth diplomatic measures intended to isolate the government of Syria.
- Directs the President to provide assistance to support a democratic transition in Syria. Authorizes appropriations.
Boycott & sanctions against Iran for terrorism & nukes.
Cohen signed Iran Threat Reduction Act
Source: H.R.1905 11-HR1905 on May 13, 2011
- Declares that it is US policy to deny Iran the ability to support acts of foreign terrorist organizations and develop unconventional weapons and ballistic missiles.
- Urges the President to initiate diplomatic efforts to expand the multilateral sanctions regime regarding Iran.
- Directs the President to impose specified sanctions on a person who knowingly makes specified investments with respect to Iran's ability to develop petroleum resources; or exports to any items that would contribute to Iran's ability to acquire or develop chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons, or acquire or develop destabilizing numbers and types of advanced conventional weapons.
- Defines sanctions to include: prohibitions on loans from US financial institutions; prohibitions on foreign exchange; prohibitions on property transactions; and export and procurement sanctions.
- States that a determination to impose sanctions under this Act shall not be reviewable in any court.
Authorizes financial and political assistance to entities that support democracy in Iran.
- Imposes visa, property, and financial sanctions on persons identified as officials of the government of Iran, security services, or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
- Directs the President to develop a National Strategy to Counter Iran.
- Requires a report on the Central Bank of Iran's activities to facilitate Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear missile capacities, and promote terrorism.
Terminates the provisions of this Act when Iran:
- has dismantled its efforts to develop or acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;
- no longer provides support for acts of international terrorism; and
- poses no threat to US national security, interests, or allies.
Terminate funding for Iraq War on Dec. 31, 2011.
Cohen signed Iraq Withdrawal Accountability Act
A BILL: To prohibit the use of funds to maintain United States Armed Forces and military contractors in Iraq after December 31, 2011.
Congress makes the following findings:
- The Agreement Between the US and the Republic of Iraq states that the deadline for withdrawal of US Armed Forces from Iraq is December 31, 2011.
- The American people support the withdrawal of US Armed Forces from Iraq by the agreed upon deadline of December 31, 2011, and during the campaign of then presidential candidate Barack Obama, the President stated that he would end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home.
- It is estimated that the US will save tens of billions of dollars by bringing all US Armed Forces and military contractors safely home from Iraq by the agreed upon deadline of December 31, 2011.
Leaving US Armed Forces in Iraq beyond the deadline is not in US security interests, strategic interests, and economic interests.
STATEMENTS OF POLICY:
Source: H.R.2757 11-HR2757 on Aug 1, 2011
- It is the policy of the US to withdraw all US Armed Forces and military contractors from Iraq by December 31, 2011.
- No funds may be used to maintain US Armed Forces or military contractors in Iraq after December 31, 2011.
- No funds may be used to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of US Armed Forces in Iraq.
- No funds may be used to exercise United States control over any oil resource of Iraq.
- Exceptions: shall not apply to the use of funds for US Armed Forces for protection of the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq.
Defund US military presence in Afghanistan.
Cohen co-sponsored Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act
It is the policy of the United States to ensure that funds made available for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan are to be used only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.
Funds appropriated or otherwise made available under any provision of law for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated and expended only for purposes of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize the use of funds for the continuation of combat operations in Afghanistan while carrying out the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to prohibit or restrict the use of funds available to carry out diplomatic efforts or humanitarian, development, or general reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.
Source: H.R.200 13-HR0200 on Jan 4, 2013
No military force against Iran without Congress approval.
Cohen voted YEA the Iran War Powers Resolution
Axios.com summary: The House passed a symbolic war powers resolution directing President Trump to halt the use of military force against Iran unless he obtains approval from Congress.
The big picture: A classified briefing on the killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani [by the US military] left Democrats and even some Republicans deeply skeptical, with many claiming that officials did not provide evidence that there was an "imminent" threat from Iran. Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) said they will vote in favor of a similar resolution in the Senate [S J Res 68].
What opponents are saying: Former national security adviser and notorious Iran hawk John Bolton tweeted: "The 1973 War Powers Resolution is unconstitutional. It reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Constitution allocated foreign affairs authority between the President and Congress. The Resolution should be repealed." Pres. Trump quote tweeted
Bolton and added: "Smart analysis, I fully agree!"
What supporters are saying: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) was one of the few Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution, stating on the House floor: "Killing Soleimani was the right decision, but engaging in another forever war in the Middle East would be the wrong decision." Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced legislation that would block funding for offensive military force against Iran without congressional authorization. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is also seeking to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used repeatedly to justify war in the Middle East in the wake of 9/11. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against the AUMF in 2001, criticizing it as a "blank check."
Legislative outcome: H Con Res 83 Passed House 224-194-13 on 1/9/20; S J Res 68 passed Senate 55-45-0 on 2/13/20. Vetoed 5/6; Senate veto override failed 5/7/20.
Source: Supreme Court case 20-SCR33 argued on Jan 9, 2020
Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.
Cohen signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act
Expresses the sense of Congress that:
- diplomatic efforts to address Iran's illicit nuclear efforts, unconventional and ballistic missile development programs, and support for international terrorism are more likely to be effective if the President is empowered with explicit authority to impose additional sanctions on the government of Iran;
- US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
- the people of the United States have feelings of friendship for the people of Iran and regret that developments in recent decades have created impediments to that friendship.
States that it should be US policy to:
- support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
- encourage foreign governments to direct state-owned and private entities to cease all investment in, and support of, Iran's energy sector and all exports of refined petroleum products to Iran;
- impose sanctions
on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
- work with allies to protect the international financial system from deceptive and illicit practices by Iranian financial institutions involved in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups.
Source: S.908&HR.2194 2009-S908 on Apr 30, 2009
- Amends the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to direct the President to impose sanctions if a person has made an investment of $20 million or more (or any combination of investments of at least $5 million which in the aggregate equals or exceeds $20 million in any 12-month period) that directly and significantly contributed to Iran's ability to develop its petroleum resources. (Under current law the sanction thresholds are $40 million, $10 million, and $40 million, respectively.)
- Establishes additional sanctions prohibiting specified foreign exchange, banking, and property transactions.
- Includes refined petroleum resources.
Page last updated: Jun 14, 2020