Donald Trump isn’t backing down from his threat to target “52 Iranian sites… some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture.” While all of Trump’s actions regarding Iran over the last week have raised a lot of concerns, the threat to strike cultural sites, where innocent people, including tourists, could be is especially disturbing and perhaps even illegal. The New York Times writes:
Such a move could be considered a war crime under international laws, but Mr. Trump said Sunday that he was undeterred.
“They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people,” the president said. “And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”
If Trump were to order a move on cultural sites, some people are saying government employees have a duty to speak up.
This actually would fall into the rare category of offense where the military would be obligated to disobey trumps orders or face war crimes trials as individuals. https://t.co/2QWJlOdQ6V
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) January 6, 2020
If you work in DOD or the IC, and have been tasked with identifying Iranian cultural or civilian targets to intentionally strike in violation of DoD rules and federal law, please blow the whistle through your leadership and to HPSCI/SSCI.
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) January 4, 2020
The threat of any action against Iran is causing a strong reaction from Democratic Congressional leaders, who have been left in the dark. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued this statement late Sunday night:
Last week, the Trump Administration conducted a provocative and disproportionate military airstrike targeting high-level Iranian military officials. This action endangered our servicemembers, diplomats and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.
As Members of Congress, our first responsibility is to keep the American people safe. For this reason, we are concerned that the Administration took this action without the consultation of Congress and without respect for Congress’s war powers granted to it by the Constitution.
This week, the House will introduce and vote on a War Powers Resolution to limit the President’s military actions regarding Iran… It reasserts Congress’s long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further Congressional action is taken, the Administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days.
This is welcome news but not enough. Congress should finally vote to repeal 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, so the executive has no choice but to seek proper authorization for ANY ongoing military engagements in the Middle East. The stakes right now could not be higher. https://t.co/Uk7yvrvBSB
— Rep. Joe Kennedy III (@RepJoeKennedy) January 6, 2020
Watch more from ABC News above.