Kirsten Gillibrand on War & Peace
Democratic Senator (NY); Democratic Candidate for President (withdrawn)
First call to Iran, to avoid an unnecessary war
Q: What will be your first act as president?
President Trump is hell-bent on starting a war with Iran. My first act will be to engage Iran to stabilize the Middle East and make sure we do not start an unwanted, never-ending war.
Source: June Democratic Primary debate (second night in Miami)
, Jun 27, 2019
Withdraw from Yemen; Withdraw from Afghanistan
Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls
, Mar 27, 2019
- Opposing runaway military spending, voting against 47 percent of military spending bills since 2013.
- Her Peace Action voting record is 80 percent, reduced mainly by the same hawkish votes on Iran as Sanders from 2011 to 2013.
Gillibrand was an early cosponsor of Sanders's Yemen War Powers bill. She has also supported a full withdrawal from Afghanistan since at least 2011, when she worked on a withdrawal bill with then Sen. Barbara Boxer and wrote a letter to
State Department Secretaries Robert Gates and Clinton, asking for a firm commitment that U.S. troops would be out "no later than 2014."
- Gillibrand cosponsored the Anti-Israel Boycott Act in 2017 but later withdrew her cosponsorship when pushed by
grassroots opponents and the ACLU, and she voted against S.1, which included similar provisions, in January 2019.
- She has spoken favorably of Trump's diplomacy with North Korea.
Withdraw from Afghanistan & Syria
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls
, Jan 16, 2019
- Afghanistan and Syria: Withdraw from Afghanistan. Do not arm Syrian rebels.
- For years, Gillibrand has pushed for U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- She has opposed efforts to arm Syrian rebels and she slammed the airstrikes ordered
against Syria in the spring of 2018, saying that Trump did not have the authority to order them.
- Gillibrand also argued that President Barack Obama did not have authority to send U.S. troops to Syria.
End military aid to Saudi Arabia to attack Yemen
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls
, Jan 16, 2019
- Gillibrand co-sponsored legislation that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen.
- She has written that Saudi Arabia is using American weapons to "terrorize Yemeni civilians."
- In regards to the murder of journalist
Jamal Khashoggi, Gillibrand wrote that the U.S. should hold "the Saudi government to account."
- It is not clear where she stands on whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman personally was responsible for the killing.
Al Qaeda has metastasized; get troops out of Afghanistan
While Long criticized Obama for setting a 2014 withdrawal date for troops in Afghanistan, Gillibrand said she believes America should leave now.
Gillibrand said Al Quaeda has "metastasized" to other parts of the world. "I do not believe that we should
continue our investment of troops, troops' lives and our money in Afghanistan because the threat has moved," she said; the US needs a "counter-terrorism approach instead of a counter insurgency approach. We need narrow targeted missions," she said.
Source: New York Daily News on 2012 N. Y. Senate debate
, Oct 17, 2012
Timetable for drawing down troops from Afghanistan
Q: What timetable would you support for the removal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan?
A: I support the recent removal of combat troops from Iraq, as agreed to with the Iraqi government. I also support a timetable for drawing down troops from
Afghanistan as a political tool to help encourage the Afghan government to assume more responsibility for their own security.
Source: League of Women Voters 2010 Candidate Questionnaire
, Aug 11, 2010
Iraq: exit strategy & redeploy troops
- Establish an end point and an exit strategy
- Redeploy troops to focus on fighting terrorism
- Increase the resources available to first responders
- Invest in antiterrorism measures, including increased
infrastructure, port, air and rail security
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, gillibrand2006.com, “Issues”
, Nov 7, 2006
- Reform the G.I. Bill of Rights to take care of those who have served honorably
- Supports a comprehensive healthcare and education benefits plan for all veterans
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
Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment.
Gillibrand co-sponsored Resolution on Iran's nuclear program
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the nuclear program of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, that Congress--
- Whereas, since at least the late 1980s, Iran has engaged in a sustained pattern of illicit and deceptive activities to acquire nuclear capability;
- Whereas the UN Security Council has adopted multiple resolutions since 2006 demanding the full suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities by Iran, particularly possible military dimensions;
- Whereas, in Nov. 2011, the IAEA issued an extensive report that documents "serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme";
- Whereas top leaders of Iran have repeatedly threatened the existence of the State of Israel;
- Whereas the Department of State has designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984;
- Whereas Iran has provided weapons, training, & funding to terrorist groups, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Shiite militias in Iraq;
Whereas Iran had forged a "secret deal" with al Qaeda to facilitate the movement of al Qaeda fighters and funding through Iranian territory;
Source: HRes568/SR41 12-SJR41 on May 24, 2012
- Reaffirms that the US Government has a vital interest in working together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
- warns that time is limited to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
- urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until a full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities;
- expresses that the window for diplomacy is closing;
- expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
- strongly supports US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
- rejects any US policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Sponsored shutting down Iranian foreign reserves.
Gillibrand co-sponsored Iran Sanctions Loophole Elimination Act
Congressional Summary:Prohibits US-based correspondent accounts or a payable-through accounts by a foreign financial institution that knowingly:
- conducted or facilitated a significant transaction on behalf of the Central Bank of Iran, or another Iranian financial institution, or a person involved in the energy, shipping, and shipbuilding sectors of Iran
- Authorizes sanctions pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Arguments for and against bill: (New York Times, May 8, 2013): Seeking to escalate pressure on Iran, a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would deny the Iranian government access to its foreign exchange reserves, estimated to be worth as much as $100 billion. The legislation would be the first major new sanction confronting Iran since its inconclusive round of negotiations last month on its disputed nuclear program.
Sponsors of the legislation contend that Iran is not bargaining in good
faith while it continues to enrich uranium. Part of the reason, they say, is that Iran has been able to work around the worst effects of the sanctions by tapping its foreign currency reserves overseas, which are largely beyond the reach of current restrictions. "Closing the foreign currency loophole in our sanctions policy is critical in our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability," the sponsors said.
Critics said the new legislation risked further alienating Iranians who suspect that the sanctions' true purpose is not to pressure Iran in the nuclear negotiations, but to cause an economic implosion that would lead to regime change. "When we've cemented a sanctions escalation path, we're creating a trajectory toward actual confrontation," said the founder of the National Iranian American Council, a Washington group that opposes sanctions. Some Iranian leaders, he said, see the sanctions "as a train that can only go in one direction and has no brakes."
Source: S.892 13-S892 on May 8, 2013
Iran must accept long-term intrusive nuke inspection.
Gillibrand 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.
- Iran has no inherent right to enrichment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Any agreement must dismantle Iran's nuclear weapons program and prevent it from ever having a path to a nuclear bomb.
- Iran has no reason to have an enrichment facility like Fordow, and that the regime must give up its heavy water reactor at Arak.
- Iran must submit to a long-term and intrusive inspection and verification regime.
- Iran must not be allowed during these negotiations to circumvent sanctions.
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
No military force against Iran without Congress approval.
Gillibrand 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: Supreme Court case 20-SCR33 argued on Jan 9, 2020
Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.
Gillibrand signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act
Expresses the sense of Congress that:
- 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;
- US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
- 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:
- support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
- 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;
- impose sanctions
on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
- 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
- Amends the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996 to direct the President to impose sanctions if a person has made an investment of $20 million or more (or any combination of investments of at least $5 million which in the aggregate equals or exceeds $20 million in any 12-month period) that directly and significantly contributed to Iran's ability to develop its petroleum resources. (Under current law the sanction thresholds are $40 million, $10 million, and $40 million, respectively.)
- Establishes additional sanctions prohibiting specified foreign exchange, banking, and property transactions.
- Includes refined petroleum resources.
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Page last updated: Jul 15, 2020