Lisa Murkowski on War & Peace
Independent Sr Senator (AK)
Surge of US troops worked in both Iraq & Afghanistan
A little further from home, but perhaps a more direct link for many of us, the surge of U.S. troops first in Iraq and now Afghanistan has worked to reduce violence and allow more domestic troops in those countries to be trained and placed in the field.
There's a sense within both countries that their governments are destined to succeed. While I support the decision to place more troops on the ground, I don't believe a political timeline should be set for when our troops will be withdrawn.
That's a decision that should be determined by the situation, and the commanders, on the ground. In my trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan this January, the announcement of a July 2011 drawdown date left
Afghani leaders with a trust deficit in the United States. They are not sure if the United States will finish the job. That uncertainty is helping the Taliban and al-Qaeda in their recruiting efforts.
Source: Vote-USA.org on 2011 Alaska Senate incumbents
, Jan 1, 2011
Prewar Iraq was a safe haven for terrorists
KNOWLES: “We were told about weapons of mass destruction and (connections) to al-Qaida, and today we know that’s not true,” Knowles said. He said he supported the doctrine expressed by Secretary of State Colin Powell when he was an
Army general: strike only when you have an overwhelming force, broad public support and an exit strategy. “We’re lost in a quagmire and alone in the world,” said Knowles, a Vietnam veteran. “We are bogged down as an occupying army,” while
America’s real threat, Osama bin Laden, remains free.
MURKOWSKI: Murkowski said Americans are engaging in “a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking” on the war. “We all agree that the world
is a better place, a safer place, without Saddam Hussein in power,” she said. She described prewar Iraq as a “safe haven for terrorists,” an assertion that was not reached by the Sept. 11 Commission.
Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate in Anchorage Daily News
, Oct 27, 2004
A democratic Iraq will be a role model for the Middle East
Q: Was the Iraqi invasion a successful step toward democracy in the Middle East or a setback?
KNOWLES: Based on the information of imminent threat presented to Congress by Bush, I supported the decision to invade Iraq. Knowing today this information
was false, we would be safer if we had used those forces for a full-scale assault on Al-Qaida and bin Laden, who remain an imminent threat to our security. It remains in the best interests of America and the world to continue efforts to bring peace and
stability to Iraq.
MURKOWSKI: Iraq will be a successful and stable democracy and the result will place greater pressure on other Middle Eastern nations to grant individuals greater civil rights and liberties. This will only come about if the US remains
committed to assisting Iraq make this transformation. If not, other groups who would like to play a greater role in their own government’s decision-making process are likely to be disillusioned and unlikely to push for reform.
Source: [Xref Knowles] AK Senate Debate, Q&A by Daily News-Miner
, Oct 10, 2004
Voted NO on redeploying non-essential US troops out of Iraq in 9 months.
Vote to transition the missions of US Forces in Iraq to a more limited set of missions as specified by the President on September 13, 2007: S.AMDT.3875 amends S.AMDT.3874 and underlying bill H.R.2764:
- The President shall commence the safe, phased redeployment of members of the US Armed Forces from Iraq who are not essential to the [new limited mission].
- Such redeployment shall begin not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.
- No funds under any provision of law may be expended to continue the deployment in Iraq of members of the US Armed Forces after 9 months.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LEVIN: "The amendment requires redeployment be completed within 9 months. At that point, funding for the war would be ended, with four narrow exceptions:"
Targeted operations against members of al-Qaida.
- Security for US Government personnel and infrastructure
- Training Iraqi security forces
- Equipment to US service men and women to ensure their safety
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. McCAIN: "This year, after nearly 4 years of mismanaged war, our military has made significant gains under the so-called surge. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since . Improvised explosive device blasts now occur at a rate lower than at any point since September 2004.
"Al-Qaida's leadership knows which side is winning in Iraq. It may not be known in some parts of America and in this body, but al-Qaida knows. We are succeeding under the new strategy.
"Given these realities, some proponents of precipitous withdrawal from Iraq have shifted their focus. While conceding, finally, that there have been dramatic security gains, they have begun seizing on the lackluster performance of the Iraqi Government to insist that we should abandon the successful strategy and withdraw U.S. forces. This would be a terrible mistake."
Reference: Safe Redeployment Of US Troops From Iraq Amendment;
Bill S.AMDT.3875 to H.R.2764
; vote number 2007-437
on Dec 18, 2007
Voted YES on designating Iran's Revolutionary Guards as terrorists.
Vote on a "Sense of the Senate" amendment, S.Amdt. 3017, to H.R. 1585 (National Defense Authorization Act), that finds:
- that it is a vital US national interest to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force;
- that it should be US policy to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of Iran;
- to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy;
- that the US should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.
Proponents support voting YES because:
Sen. LIEBERMAN: Some of our colleagues thought the Sense of the Senate may have opened the door to some kind of military action against Iran [so we removed some text].
That is not our intention. In fact, our intention is to increase the economic pressure on Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps so that we will never have to consider the use of the military to stop them from what they are doing to kill our soldiers.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Sen. BIDEN. I will oppose the Kyl-Lieberman amendment for one simple reason: this administration cannot be trusted. I am very concerned about the evidence that suggests that Iran is engaged in destabilizing activities inside Iraq. Arguably, if we had a different President who abided by the meaning and intent of laws we pass, I might support this amendment. I fear, however, that this President might use the designation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist entity as a pretext to use force against Iran as he sees fit. [The same was done with the Senate resolution on Iraq in 2002]. Given this President's actions and misuse of authority, I cannot support the amendment.
Reference: Sense of the Senate on Iran;
Bill S.Amdt. 3017 to H.R. 1585
; vote number 2007-349
on Sep 26, 2007
Voted NO on redeploying US troops out of Iraq by March 2008.
Begins the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq within 120 days of enactment of this joint resolution with the goal of redeploying by March 31, 2008, all US combat forces from Iraq, except for a limited number essential for protecting US and coalition personnel and infrastructure, training and equipping Iraqi forces, and conducting targeted counter-terrorism operations. Such redeployment shall be implemented as part of a diplomatic, political, and economic strategy that includes sustained engagement with Iraq's neighbors and the international community in order to bring stability to Iraq.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
Our troops are caught in the midst of a civil war. The administration has begun to escalate this war with 21,000 more troops. This idea is not a new one. During this war, four previous surges have all failed. It is time for a different direction. It is time for a drawdown of our troops.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
This resolution calls for imposing an artificial timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground or the consequences of defeat; a defeat that will surely be added to what is unfortunately a growing list of American humiliations. This legislation would hobble American commanders in the field and substantially endanger America's strategic objective of a unified federal democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself and be an ally in the war against Islamic fascism. The unintended consequence of this resolution is to bring to reality Osama bin Laden's vision for Iraq; that after 4 years of fighting in Iraq the US Congress loses its will to fight. If we leave Iraq before the job is done, as surely as night follows day, the terrorists will follow us home. Osama bin Laden has openly said: America does not have the stomach to stay in the fight. He is a fanatic. He is an Islamic fascist. He is determined to destroy us and our way of life.
Reference: US Policy in Iraq Resolution;
; vote number 2007-075
on Mar 15, 2007
Voted NO on redeploying troops out of Iraq by July 2007.
Voting YEA on this amendment would establish a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. Voting NAY would keep the current situation without a timetable. The amendment states:
- The President shall redeploy, commencing in 2006, US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007, leaving only the minimal number of forces that are critical to completing the mission of standing up Iraqi security forces and conducting specialized counterterrorism operations.
- The President should maintain an over-the-horizon troop presence to prosecute the war on terror and protect regional security interests.
- Within 30 days, the administration shall submit to Congress a report that sets forth the strategy for the redeployment of US forces from Iraq by July 1, 2007.
Opponents of the Resolution say:
- This amendment would withdraw American forces from Iraq without regard to the real conditions on the ground.
- The consequences of an American retreat would be terrible for the security of the
American people at home.
- Our commitment is not open-ended. It is conditional on the Iraqis moving toward self-government and self-defense.
Supporters of the Resolution say:
Reference: Kerry Amendment to National Defense Authorization Act;
Bill S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766
; vote number 2006-181
on Jun 22, 2006
- Congress talks almost incessantly about the situation in Iraq as if on 9/11 the situation involved Iraq. Of course, it didn't. We were attacked by al-Qaida operating out of Afghanistan on 9/11.
- One of the theories we hear is that somehow staying in Iraq is necessary because all the terrorists will come into Iraq, and then they wouldn't be able to attack us anywhere else. Some call this the roach-motel theory. The fact is, al-Qaida is operating in 60 to 80 countries. Yet our resources are only heavily focused on this Iraq situation.
- In terms of differences from other Iraq amendments: This is binding, not just a sense of the Senate.
- Secondly, we have a date; other amendments are open-ended.
- Thirdly, this has an over-the-horizon force specifically to protect our security interests.
Voted NO on investigating contract awards in Iraq & Afghanistan.
To establish a special committee of the Senate to investigate the awarding and carrying out of contracts to conduct activities in Afghanistan and Iraq and to fight the war on terrorism. Voting YES would: create Senate special committee to investigate war contracts, taking into consideration: bidding, methods of contracting, subcontracting, oversight procedures, allegations of wasteful practices, accountability and lessons learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Reference: Committee to Investigate War Contracts;
Bill S Amdt 2476 to S 1042
; vote number 2005-316
on Nov 10, 2005
Voted NO on requiring on-budget funding for Iraq, not emergency funding.
Amendment to express the sense of the Senate on future requests for funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. A YES vote would:
Reference: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act;
Bill S.AMDT.464 to H.R.1268
; vote number 2005-96
on Apr 20, 2005
- Request all future funding for ongoing military operations overseas, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, be included in the President's annual fiscal year budget proposal
- Call for the President to submit to Congress by Sept. 1, 2005, an amendment to his annual fiscal budget, that details estimated costs for ongoing military operations overseas.
- Ask that all future funding requests for ongoing military operations overseas appear in the appropriation bills in which such expenditures are normally included.
Voted YES on $86 billion for military operations in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Vote to pass a bill that would appropriate $86.5 billion in supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan, in Fiscal 2004. The bill would provide $10.3 billion as a grant to rebuild Iraq. This includes:
Reference: FY04 Emergency Supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan;
; vote number 2003-400
on Oct 17, 2003
- $5.1 billion for security
- $5.2 billion for reconstruction costs
- $65.6 billion for military operations and maintenance
- $1.3 billion for veterans medical care
- $10 billion as a loan that would be converted to a grant if 90% of all bilateral debt incurred by the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, would have to be forgiven by other countries.
Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment.
Murkowski 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.
Murkowski 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.
Murkowski 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.
Murkowski 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.
Murkowski 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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