From The Nation
(Image by (From Wikimedia) Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America / , Author: See Source) Details Source DMCA
Commentators portrayed President Trump's brief speech Wednesday morning on Iran as an attempt to dial down tensions at a moment when the threat of war has loomed large. Trump, who last week ordered the airstrike that killed Iranian Quds force commander Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, did not answer Iran's retaliatory missile attack on US bases in Iraq with a missile attack of his own. And, amid the usual bombast, he sent signals that, as USA Today wrote, "appeared to offer the Iranians an olive branch, signaling the United States does not seek a war with Tehran."
Lots of attention has been paid to his declaration: "The United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it."
Yet two very different members of Congress immediately recognized a fundamental flaw in the president's response. Because Trump announced Wednesday, "As we continue to evaluate options and response to Iranian aggression, the United States will immediately impose additional punishing economic sanctions on the Iranian regime. These powerful sanctions will remain until Iran changes its behavior."
To that, US Representative Ilhan Omar replied, "This makes no sense. Sanctions are economic warfare. They have already caused medical shortages and countless deaths in Iran. You cannot claim to want deescalation and then announce new sanctions with no clear goal. This is not a measured response!"
Lest anyone think that is simply the reaction of a progressive who has often questioned the wisdom of imposing sanctions, one of the most conservative members of Congress also objected to more sanctions.
"Direct, firm, and peaceful engagement with Iran is more likely to bring about positive change than are further sanctions and warfare," declared Michigan Representative Justin Amash, who has been elected and reelected as a libertarian-leaning Republican, but who last year switched to independent status because of his differences with the president.