Dear Members of Congress:
As an interfaith organization founded in Los Angeles in response to the events of 9/11 with the mission “Religious Communities Must Stop Blessing War and Violence,” Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace is convinced that a just and lasting peace can be achieved only by good will and diplomacy. We must do our utmost to prevent an unnecessary and potentially disastrous war against Iran. We are therefore grateful that our California Senators Harris and Feinstein are co-sponsors of S.1039 - Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act of 2019.
In light of this imminent crisis, we are also urging Congress to approve two important amendments to military spending bills: 1) the bipartisan amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prohibit funds from being used for military operations against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress, and 2) the amendment already passed by the House repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), passed after 9/11 and used by Presidents to justify wars in over 19 countries.
The way of war and violence since 9/11 has proven an utter failure, especially in the Middle East. Since 9/11, the US has spent nearly 5 trillion dollars on regional wars, which have resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, an upsurge in violence and terrorism, and the largest refugee crisis since WW II.
The only way to achieve a stable peace is through international agreements and negotiations, as evidenced by the Iran Accord, which was signed in 2015 by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany and the European Union. This accord convinced Iran to suspend its nuclear program. But even though Iran has abided by the terms of this agreement, the US pulled out and imposed punitive sanctions on Iran, much to the dismay of other signatories and the detriment of the people of Iran. The decision by the US to choose the way of violence and threats instead of negotiations and treaties has destabilized the Middle East and exacerbated the current conflict with Iran.
We are poised on the brink of another Middle East war, directed by the same people who misled us into war with Iraq. Therefore, we urge Congress to immediately reclaim its authority under Article 1, Section 8, of the Constitution: “Congress [not the President] shall have power…to declare war.”
Congress needs to make it clear that no President may initiate a military intervention in Iran or anywhere else without Congressional approval. War is not the answer.
 This bill is being sponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM),Tim Kaine (D-VA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Rand Paul (R-KY).
 See costsofwar.org.
 See https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/05/john-bolton-replaying-his-iraq-war-playbook-with-iran
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