Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released the following statement on the situation in Iran.

“Yesterday I received a briefing from Department of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel and Department of State Secretary Mike Pompeo and have a better understanding of the intent behind the recent actions taken by the Administration. There was not an imminent threat to the United States’ homeland and the citizens within our borders. But there was a threat to our servicemembers and American personnel in the region. Make no mistake, Soleimani was a terrorist who killed many Americans troops, and his death brings a measure of justice to those Gold Star Families. However, Article I of the Constitution is clear that before the President commits United States Armed Forces to war against Iran, the American people’s representation in Congress must authorize the use of military force. Therefore it is imperative we use this pause as an opportunity for Congress and the Administration to discuss the appropriate pathway forward in the region.

“I agree with the President, and past Presidents, that Iran should never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, and that intrusive international inspections of nuclear facilities must be sustained. I believe exhausting diplomatic efforts before using additional military force is an integral and pragmatic step in deescalating tension in the region. Additionally, I remain deeply concerned about the safety of American military and diplomatic personnel stationed in the region.  It is our sacred duty and responsibility to ensure that when we send Americans into harm’s way, we provide them with a clear objective and comprehensive strategy, as to not needlessly put them at risk. While we are all grateful that there were no American casualties in Tuesday night’s attack, it has caused the nation to pause and reflect about America’s role in achieving peace in the region.

“As a U.S. Senator from West Virginia, and a member of the Senate Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees, I am convinced that we cannot solely bomb our way to peace in the Middle East. As the greatest super power and hope of the world, we must not only exercise our superior military might or our superior economic might, but also exercise our super diplomacy. We are at a pivotal moment in this country. The toxic partisan atmosphere in Washington is eroding the trust and civility between the branches of government, threatening the cooperation necessary to reach a clear strategy on how to proceed. When it comes to the security of our country, we should not be Democrats or Republicans – we must always be Americans.”

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