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Heinrich: President needs to reveal plan

If President Donald Trump has a plan to deal with Iran, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich would like to hear it.

The New Mexico Democrat called on the administration “to outline a coherent plan to Congress and the public before matters get even worse” after the president’s remarks Wednesday following Iran’s missile attack against bases in Iraq that hosted U.S. and coalition troops.

The president indicated a possible deescalation of tensions with Iran with the missile strikes not involving casualties. Trump said he was open to negotiations with the Iranian leadership on a number of issues, including the development of nuclear weapons. He called for economic sanctions, but no further military strikes.

But Heinrich did not find the remarks reassuring.

“I remain deeply concerned that the President has been woefully unable to articulate a strategy for dealing with Iran that de-escalates what is currently a quite dangerous path,” the senator said. “The White House’s reckless approach to foreign policy has made Iran’s behavior dramatically more unpredictable and has placed a target on the back of Americans throughout the region.”

New Mexico Republican Party Chairman Steve Pearce praised the president’s remarks.

“The fact that Iran ‘appears to be standing down’ after the strike shows that Iran understands our military might and potential future consequences,” the former congressman said. “The President has allowed Iran to save face by not responding to the latest missile attack. They have the good judgment not to hit any Americans. It’s good to see our Western allies, like Britain and Italy standing strong with us and now on military standby. President Trump today demonstrated great leadership and a sound understanding of the Middle East region. It is evident he is working to de-escalate rising tensions, while staying tough when it comes to Iran trying to become a nuclear power.”

But Emile Nakhleh, director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at UNM and a former CIA officer, told the Journal he was concerned about the lack of a strategic plan.

TORRES SMALL ON WAR POWERS VOTE: U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small joined her New Mexico Democratic colleagues in voting for the House war powers resolution on Thursday.

“I continue to appreciate the President’s public statements outlining a potential for continued deescalation with Iran,” she said. Torres Small said the vote “sets us on a course for constitutionally required collaboration between the president and Congress, so we can face continued tensions with Iran. The consequences of a prolonged military conflict are a responsibility we must bear together.”

The resolution would not prevent the military from acting in America’s self-defense, but would require congressional approval for further prolonged military action against Iran, her office said. The resolution would also not impact other counter-terror activities in the Middle East that were authorized through the 2001 or 2002 Authorization of Use of Military Force.

SENATORS SPUR SPY MUSEUM CHANGES: The International Spy Museum is making changes requested by Heinrich and Senate colleagues Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who felt the museum misrepresented of the CIA’s torture program, sanitized depictions of how techniques were applied and suggested that torture is effective in stopping terrorist attacks.

The senators requested a more accurate depiction. The museum responded in a letter to the senators that it was in the process of making changes to the exhibit.

“We are pleased that the museum has confirmed it is moving forward with changes to its interrogation exhibit, to include reference to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. We also welcome the invitation to visit with museum leadership, historians, and curators to ensure that the changes being implemented reflect the truth about the brutality and ineffectiveness of torture,” Heinrich, Wyden and Feinstein said in a letter.


Scott Turner: sturner@abqjournal.com

 

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