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Tom Udall on War & Peace

Democratic Jr Senator; previously Representative (NM-3)

 


Chemical weapons are despicable, but avoid Syrian civil war

Q: Have you changed your mind on Syria?

UDALL: No, I haven't changed my mind. The most important thing here is that what Bashar al-Assad did was a heinous act. It's despicable--women and children dying as a result of chemical weapons. And I think it's pretty clear that he did this. But the big question for the Congress right now is what is the most effective way to move forward. And I think the American people don't want to be embroiled in a Middle Eastern civil war. This is an act of war that we're going to take. We haven't exhausted all of our political, economic, and diplomatic alternatives. We ought to be rallying the world. All the world agrees, you shouldn't use chemical weapons.

Q: The world has not been rallied. Are you not concerned about inaction?

UDALL: I don't think we have inaction. We're doing more than any other country in the region. We have moved effectively there to provide defenses to our allies. We're rallying the international community in terms of humanitarian aid.

Source: Meet the Press 2013 on 2014 New Mexico Senate race , Sep 8, 2013

Staying in Afghanistan will not make America safer

Last month President Obama announced plans for withdrawing by next summer the approximately 30,000 American troops sent to Afghanistan as part of the 2009 surge. We commend the president for sticking to the July date he had outlined for beginning the withdrawal. However, his plan would not remove all regular combat troops until 2014. We believe the US is capable of achieving this goal by the end of 2012. America would be more secure and stronger economically if we recognized that we have largely achieved our objectives in Afghanistan and moved aggressively to bring our troops and tax dollars home.

Sometimes our national security warrants extreme sacrifices. In this case, however, there is little reason to believe that the continuing commitment of tens of thousands of troops on a sprawling nation-building mission in Afghanistan will make America safer. Al Qaeda's presence in Afghanistan has been greatly diminished. Al Qaeda has a much larger presence in a number of other nations.

Source: 2011 official Senate press release, "Let's Not Linger" , Jul 4, 2011

Time to start working on a troop pullout

Asked about the war in Iraq, Pearce invoked images that recalled the falling domino theory during the Vietnam war, in which he served, and said other Middle East leaders have told him that if Iraq falls, it could mean the downfall of other moderate regimes in the region and Israel and that will push oil prices to astronomical levels.

Udall said it’s time to start working on a troop pullout and it’s also necessary to ensure that medical and other benefits are in place for returning soldiers.

Source: [Xref Pearce] 2008 N.M. Senate Debate , Aug 22, 2008

Voted YES on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation: This vote is on referring the impeachment resolution to a Congressional Committee to decide further action (not on impeachment itself).

Congressional Summary: Resolved, That President George W. Bush be impeached for committing the following abuses of power:

Proponents' arguments for voting YEA: Rep. Kucinich: Now is the time for this Congress to examine the actions that led us into this war, just as we must work to bring our troops home. This resolution is a very serious matter and I urge the Committee on Judiciary to investigate and carefully consider this resolution.

Rep. Wasserman-Schultz: Impeachment is a lengthy process which would divide Congress and this nation even more deeply than we are divided right now. Referring this resolution to the House Judiciary Committee is the constitutionally appropriate process that should be pursued.

Rep. Ron Paul: I rise, reluctantly, in favor of referring that resolution to the House Judiciary Committee for full consideration, which essentially directs the committee to examine the issue more closely than it has done to this point.

Reference: The Kucinich Privilege Resolution; Bill H.RES.1258 ; vote number 2008-401 on Jun 11, 2008

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

Voted NO on declaring Iraq part of War on Terror with no exit date.

Reference: Resolution on Prevailing in the Global War on Terror; Bill HRES 861 ; vote number 2006-288 on Jun 12, 2006

Voted NO on approving removal of Saddam & valiant service of US troops.

States that the House of Representatives:
  1. affirms that the United States and the world have been made safer with the removal of Saddam Hussein and his regime from power in Iraq;
  2. commends the Iraqi people for their courage in the face of unspeakable oppression and brutality inflicted on them by Saddam Hussein's regime;
  3. commends the Iraqi people on the adoption of Iraq's interim constitution; and
  4. commends the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and Coalition forces for liberating Iraq and expresses its gratitude for their valiant service.
Reference: War in Iraq Anniversary resolution; Bill H Res 557 ; vote number 2004-64 on Mar 17, 2004

Voted NO on authorizing military force in Iraq.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq: Passage of the joint resolution that would authorize President Bush to use the US military as he deems necessary and appropriate to defend U.S. national security against Iraq and enforce UN Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. It would be required that the president report to Congress, no later than 48 hours after using force, his determination that diplomatic options or other peaceful means would not guarantee US national security against Iraq or allow enforcement of UN resolutions and that using force is consistent with anti-terrorism efforts. The resolution would also give specific statutory authorization under the War Powers Resolution. Every 60 days the president would also be required to report to Congress on actions related to the resolution.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hastert,R-IL; Bill HJRes114 ; vote number 2002-455 on Oct 10, 2002

Voted NO on disallowing the invasion of Kosovo.

Vote on an amendment to the "Kosovo and Southwest Asia Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act" which would prohibit the use of funds for any invasion of Yugoslavia with U.S. ground forces except in time of war.
Reference: Amendment introduced by Istook, R-OK; Bill HR 1664 ; vote number 1999-119 on May 6, 1999

Condemns anti-Muslim bigotry in name of anti-terrorism.

Udall co-sponsored the Resolution on bigotry against Sikh Americans:

Title: Condemning bigotry and violence against Sikh Americans in the wake of terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001.

Summary: Declares that, in the quest to identify, locate, and bring to justice the perpetrators and sponsors of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the civil rights and liberties of all Americans, including Sikh-Americans, should be protected.

Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR255 on Oct 4, 2001

Iran must accept long-term intrusive nuke inspection.

Udall signed demanding that Iran accept intrusive nuclear inspection

Excerpts from Letter from 85 Senators to President Obama We all hope that nuclear negotiations succeed in preventing Iran from ever developing a nuclear weapons capability. For diplomacy to succeed, however, we must couple our willingness to negotiate with a united and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime. We urge you to insist on the realization of these core principles with Iran:

Iran must clearly understand the consequences of failing to reach an acceptable final agreement. We must signal unequivocally to Iran that rejecting negotiations and continuing its nuclear weapon program will lead to much more dramatic sanctions, including further limitations on Iran's oil exports.

Opposing argument: (Cato Institute, "Enforcing Iran Nuke Deal," Jan. 25, 2017): More than anything else, the Iran nuclear deal must be kept because the alternative is a return to ever-heightening tensions and clamoring by hawks in both countries. From 2003 to 2014, years of unrelenting U.S. sanctions and confrontation, Iran went from 164 centrifuges to 19,000. The hostile approach generates a more expansive, less transparent Iranian nuclear program and increases the chances for another disastrous U.S. war in the Middle East. Let's hope the Trump administration chooses not to go that route.

Source: Iran Nukes Letter 14LTR-NUKE on Mar 18, 2014

Hold Assad accountable for slaughter of civilians.

Udall signed holding Assad accountable for slaughter of civilians

Excerpts from Letter from 14 Senators to Secretary of State Tillerson: A February 7 Amnesty International report asserts that up to 13,000 people have been methodically executed at the Saydnaya Prison as part of a calculated campaign of extrajudicial execution authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government.

Assad's actions--including the confirmed use of chemical weapons—provide sufficient documentation exists to charge Bashar al-Assad with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Russia, [despite its support of the Assad regime], must join the international community in seeking to hold Assad accountable, stop enabling the slaughter of the Syrian people, and undertake efforts to remove Iran-affiliated fighters from Syria.

Opposing argument: (ACLU blog, "Protect Syrian Civilians," 4/4/2017): Following the April 4 chemical attack, the president launched cruise missiles. There is no doubt that that the use of chemical weapons against civilians in northern Syria was illegal and immoral. However, the ACLU objected to President Trump unilaterally launching strikes without advance congressional authorization. The Constitution is clear that only Congress can declare war and authorize the use of our armed forces, absent an emergency need to stop a sudden attack.

Opposing argument: (Heritage Foundation, "Terrorism Report"): [The US should] support measures to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable to the Syrian people. Assad must answer for his crimes, and the Syrian people should be given discretion as to how this process is conducted. Their options could include trial in a domestic court, inviting the International Criminal Court into Syria, or establishing a truth and reconciliation commission. Such a measure might also help to reduce the flow of foreign fighters into Syria.

Source: Syria Letter 17LTR-SYR on Feb 22, 2017

No military force against Iran without Congress approval.

Udall 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: Congressional vote 20-SCR33 on Jan 9, 2020

Sponsored bill to oppose Israeli annexation of West Bank.

Udall co-sponsored Resolution on Israeli Annexation

Congressional summary: A resolution affirming the United States commitment to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and noting that Israeli annexation of territory in the West Bank would undermine peace,, harm Israel's relationship with its Arab neighbors, threaten Israel's Jewish and democratic identity, and undermine Israel's security.

Aljazeera summary, 4/22/20: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that it was Israel's decision whether to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and the US will offer its views on this to the new Israeli government in private. "As for the annexation of the West Bank, the Israelis will ultimately make those decisions," Pompeo told reporters. Israel's intention--in accordance with President Trump's Middle East plan--to annex the Jordan Valley and illegal Jewish settlements would defy international law. Last year, the Trump administration said it would no longer abide by a 1978 State Department legal opinion that the settlements were "inconsistent with international law".

Letter to Secretary Pompeo from 13 members of Congress on 6/30/20: We express our deep concern over the planned annexation of occupied Palestinian territory by the government of Israel. Annexing parts of the West Bank will perpetuate and entrench human rights violations against the Palestinian people, including limitations on freedom of movement and mass expropriation of privately-owned Palestinian land. Furthermore, Israel has stated it will not grant citizenship to Palestinians living in annexed territory or to the many more Palestinians living in the isolated enclaves that Israel will opt not to annex, paving the path toward an apartheid system. Already existing Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, amount to a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Legislative outcome: Never reached a vote.

Source: S.Res.234 20-SRes234 on Jun 5, 2019

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Udall signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. 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;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. 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:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. 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;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. 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

Other candidates on War & Peace: Tom Udall on other issues:
NM Gubernatorial:
Deb Haaland
Gary Johnson
Gary King
Jay Block
Jeff Apodaca
Joe Cervantes
John Sanchez
Michelle Lujan-Grisham
Rebecca Dow
Steve Pearce
Susana Martinez
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Bob Walsh
Gary Johnson
Gavin Clarkson
Maggie Toulouse Oliver
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Martin Heinrich
Mick Rich

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