To: Members of Congress
From: The Democracy Project
We call for a full debate on whether to authorize the widening new war in Iraq and Syria. A congressional vote will allow citizens to hold their elected representatives accountable now and in 2016.
Since President Obama already says there is no military solution and the war will last at least three years, we urge a No vote.
If the new war is authorized, the following conditions must be debated and voted on:
1. A narrow definition of "the enemy" - the Islamic State - with no loophole to a wider war as occurred in the 2011-12 War on Terrorism authorization, where an open-ended mandate led to multiple wars and quagmires in many other countries;
2. Keep the presidential pledge that there will be no American ground troops, a pledge which already is being breached;
3. A sunset provision ending the war authorization in one year, thus requiring another Congressional approval before 2016;
4. An independent reporting mechanism for all casualties, civilian casualties, direct and indirect taxpayer costs, and measurements of progress;
5. A primary emphasis on diplomacy aimed at power sharing among disenfranchised communities and a prohibition against US funding of sectarian war.
Wars are easy for politicians to approve. But history shows that lives and resources are needlessly lost, and careers ruined, when they become quagmires.