1. Statement
  2. Middle East & Iran, U.S. Wars & Militarism

Diana Ohlbaum Statement On Congressional Action To Stop War With Iran

By Diana Ohlbaum, July 16, 2019

Recently, FCNL joined Senators, House members, and many other faith groups at a rally calling for legislation to prevent unauthorized war with Iran, an issue FCNL has been working hard on for months, if not years.

The rally took place on July 16, at the House Triangle on Capitol Hill. Diana Ohlbaum, Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, offered the following remarks:

Contact: Tim McHugh, Friends Committee on National Legislation, media@fcnl.org; 202-903-2515

If there is one thing our nation should have learned over the last 18 years, it is that War is Not the Answer.

Our ever-expanding and endless wars around the globe demonstrate that there are no military solutions to the challenges that face us. We cannot make ourselves more secure by making others less secure.

Do not be fooled by talk of so-called “limited strikes”: any war with Iran would be devastating, and the greatest toll would fall upon the poorest and most vulnerable populations. We must all work persistently to prevent this possibility.

That’s why, over the last few months, we at the Friends Committee on National Legislation have been mobilizing thousands of Quakers and other activists to stand up and tell Congress they don’t want another senseless war in the Middle East. We joined with hundreds of faith leaders in calling on our elected officials to seek real diplomatic and humanitarian solutions to the current crisis and refrain from military confrontation with Iran.

On Friday, Congress listened.

We applaud the distinguished Members of Congress who led and sponsored a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Bill that passed the House by a vote of 251-170. The Khanna-Gaetz amendment would prohibit an unauthorized war with Iran and take our countries off the fast-track to violent confrontation.

The Khanna-Gaetz amendment is very simple. It reasserts the requirements of the Constitution that Congress has the power of the purse. Congress, not the president, decides if and when our country goes to war.

As a matter of conscience, FCNL opposes all war. As a matter of public policy, we believe, as the Founders intended, that Congress must debate and vote before introducing U.S. Armed Forces into hostilities.

The Senate now has an opportunity to do the right thing and prevent war before it starts. If they think it’s a hard vote now, how much more difficult will it be after a war has started? Will it be easier to cut off funds once we have troops on the battlefield?

We will be working with Quakers, other people of faith and our broader network around the country to urge the conferees on this year’s defense policy bill to choose the path of peace by adopting the Khanna-Gaetz language to prevent an unauthorized war with Iran.

Thank you.

Diana Ohlbaum

  • Senior Strategist and Legislative Director for Foreign Policy

Diana Ohlbaum directs FCNL’s foreign policy lobbying team and leads an effort to replace the current U.S. foreign policy paradigm of military domination and national superiority with a more ethical and effective one based on cooperation and mutual respect.