In January of 1991, one of the first votes I cast in Congress was against the war in Iraq.
I remember it well. Almost all Republicans supported the war effort, as did a number of Democrats. I didn't, and I walked off the floor thinking "well, I'll probably be a one-term congressman now."
But I will repeat something today that I said back then, because I think it is still applicable:
And that is that the challenge of our time is not simply to begin a war that will result in the deaths of many people -- young Americans and innocent families overseas -- but the real challenge of our time is to see how we can use our power in a different way to stop aggression and keep our people safe. Because if we are not successful right now, then I think all this world has to look forward to in the future for our children is war, and more war, and more war... as if we haven't had enough war already.
A decade after that first war in Iraq, I voted against yet another war in the same country.
That was the right vote.
And it is almost beyond impossible to imagine that after nearly 17 years of that war in Iraq -- a war that upended the regional order of the Middle East and resulted in untold loss of life -- that this administration is putting us on such a dangerous path toward more war.
This time with Iran.
Apparently for some, decades of constant war is not enough.
Let us not forget that when Trump took office, we had a nuclear agreement with Iran, negotiated by the Obama administration along with our closest allies. Countries from all over the world came together to negotiate that agreement, which put a lid on Iran's nuclear program.
The wise course would have been to stick with that nuclear agreement, enforce its provisions, and use that diplomatic channel with Iran to address our other concerns with Iran, including their support of terrorism.
Unfortunately, Trump followed his reckless instincts and listened to right-wing extremists, some of whom were exactly the same people that got us into the war in Iraq in the first place.
Now, as you all know, last week President Trump ordered the assassination of a top Iranian general, Qassem Soleimani in Iraq, along with the leader of an Iraqi militia.
Trump justified the assassination of Soleimani by claiming that it was necessary to prevent "imminent" attacks on U.S. forces, but his administration has offered no evidence to back that claim up, even in a classified setting.
Then he claimed that there were plans to attack U.S. embassies, again offering no evidence. And now, unbelievably, we find out that Trump himself told people he was under pressure to deal with Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate.
Once again, we see Trump making enormously consequential national security decisions for selfish reasons and without regard for the Constitution.