By Mark F. Gray
Maryland Congressman Anthony Brown (D-4th District), Vice Chair of the House Armed Services Committee and 30-year combat veteran, denounced President Donald Trump’s decision to engage Iran in a potentially major military conflict with fatal drone strikes, which he said “left us with little hope of reducing tensions or deterring Iranian aggression let alone their nuclear program.”
Brown issued a public statement following a clandestine military attack that led to the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, which has escalated tensions with Iran and destabilized a region of the Middle East that is already on edge. The Maryland Congressman, who represents Prince George’s County’s 4th District, chided President Trump, whose preemptive attack could have catastrophic consequences and may lead to war.
“President Trump has failed to effectively engage or counter Iran and has forced the United States into an endless cycle of escalation that risks wider war, endangers American lives and has made both the region and the world less safe,” read a portion of Brown’s statement. “With each escalation, Trump puts us closer to an unconstitutional and potentially catastrophic war that will cost us tremendously in blood and treasure.”
An American drone fired missiles into a convoy that was leaving the airport killing General Suleimani, who was known as the architect of nearly every major operation by Iran’s military forces over the last twenty years. His death has become an anti-American rallying cry for Iran during a time of growing political unrest. The strike has also become a serious escalation of tension between the United States and Iran that began with the death of an American contractor in Iraq in late December.
Trump and his supporters have been blaming the Obama administration for a foreign policy “mess” created in that region. They have routinely blamed the 44th president for the nuclear agreement he brokered between the two nations in 2015. However, Brown called out the Trump administration for not working to enforce the deal that was already in place.
“It didn’t have to be this way,” Brown wrote. “Donald Trump could have forced Iran to stay in compliance with the nuclear deal, while engaging our allies to challenge Iran’s malign behavior, human rights abuses and state sponsorship of terror. Instead, the President has gutted the State Department, attacked our intelligence agencies, ignored our military leaders and acted without customary consultation with Congress or our allies.”
“Our foreign policy is in a state of chaos,” he added.
United States officials continue to prepare for potential Iranian retaliation including the possibility of cyberattacks and terrorism in that region or around the world toward American interests and allies. Congressman Brown also said that diplomatic options should be explored before succumbing to military intervention.
“The only alternative to conflict is robust diplomacy,” Brown said. “We must reduce the risk of miscalculation and find an opening for creative dialogue with Tehran. It is time to turn the page on the Administration’s bankrupt policy in the Middle East of the last three years.”