Amy Klobuchar on War & Peace

DFL Sr Senator (MN); Democratic presidential contender


Require Congressional approval for war with Iran

Q: Would you be willing to limit the power of the president, which appears to be out of control? How can we get checks and balances working again in our government?

KLOBUCHAR: The Congress has to have a check on this president. That's how the Constitution has been set up. And in particular, we're going to be having a vote on this coming up in the Senate, on the power of the president when it comes to declaring war. We're really focused right now on Iran, understandably, and some of the things this president has said and there's actually some bipartisan support for a resolution that he couldn't bring us into war with Iran without Congress approving it and with an authorization of military force. For me, especially when it comes to going to war, which you do not want to do unless you have a very good reason, you have to go to Congress.

Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of N. H. primary , Feb 6, 2020

I opposed Iraq War from the very beginning

Sen. Bernie SANDERS [to Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar]: In 2002, when the Congress was debating whether or not we invade Iraq, I said that would be a disaster, Joe and I listened to what Dick Cheney and George Bush had to say. I thought they were lying. Joe saw it differently.

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I said 13 years ago it was a mistake to trust that they weren't going to go to war, to stop what we thought to be Iraq's attempt to get a nuclear weapon.

Sen. Amy KLOBUCHAR: I wasn't in the Senate for that Iraq War vote, but I opposed that war from the very beginning. In my first campaign for Senate, I ran against a Republican who ran ads against me on it, but I stood my ground. When I got to the Senate, I pushed to bring our troops home. Then I have dealt with every issue, from Afghanistan to being part of an effort to improve the situation for our troops in a very big way with our education and with their jobs and also with their health care.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

Trump is taking us pell-mell into war with Iran

Sen. KLOBUCHAR: We should be talking about what is happening right no: Donald Trump is taking us pell-mell toward another war. We have a very important resolution. We just found out today that four Republicans are joining Democrats to go to him and say: You must have an authorization of military force if you're going to go to war with Iran. That is so important, because we have a situation where he got us out of the Iranian nuclear agreement, something I worked on for a significant period of time. As president, I will get us back into that agreement.

V.P. Joe BIDEN: I was part of that deal to get the nuclear agreement with Iran, bringing together the rest of the world, including some of the folks who aren't friendly to us. And it was working. It was being held tightly. There was no movement on the part of the Iranian government to get closer to a nuclear weapon.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

No Iranian nukes, via reinstating joint nuclear deal

Q: President Trump said, "As long as I am president, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon." Would you?

Mayor Pete BUTTIGIEG: Ensuring that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons will be a priority,

KLOBUCHAR: I would not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. I think there are changes you can make to the agreement, some changes to the inspections, but overall, that is what we should do.

Q: How would you prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon?

KLOBUCHAR: I would start negotiations again [on the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal]. Because of the actions of Donald Trump, we are in a situation where Iran is starting to enrich uranium again in violation of the original agreement. So what I would do is negotiate. I would bring people together, just as President Obama did years ago, and I think that we can get this done. But you have to have a president that sees this as a number-one goal.

Source: 7th Democrat primary debate, on eve of Iowa caucus , Jan 14, 2020

We need to start bringing troops home from Afghanistan

A lot of this is negotiating. I think you've got to make sure that when you're dealing with the Taliban that you know exactly what they're up to, what's going to happen. You want to make sure a lot of the gains we made with women in government and the democracy gains that we made in Afghanistan stay the same. But, yes, I think we need to start bringing our troops home.
Source: CBS Face the Nation interview for 2019 Democratic primary , Aug 25, 2019

Keep the troops deployed abroad

Klobuchar on Overseas Deployments: Keep the troops deployed.

EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Michael Bennet; Joseph Biden, Jr.; Cory Booker; Peter Buttigieg; Seth Moulton; Tim Ryan; Eric Swalwell; Andrew Yang.

Other candidates have urged restraint, warning that allies in nations such as Afghanistan and Iraq still need American military support. Withdrawing all U.S. troops, they assert, could be a grave mistake and only make the situation worse.

Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues" , Jul 17, 2019

Talking to enemies good if there's results; Trump has none

Q: Do you support President Trump's meetings with the leader of North Korea?

Klobuchar: You always have to talk to everyone when it is American security and the world's security at stake. But he keeps having these summits and meetings that really don't produce anything. what This is about is making sure that there are measurable results, that we have a plan when we go in there and we just haven't seen that.

Q: Would you accept North Korea as a nuclear power?

Klobuchar: No, I would not. What I am saying is you need to have steps and measures. Talk is good, but if all it is, is talk it doesn't produce anything for national security for America and international security for our allies.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview , Jun 30, 2019

Would not accept North Korea as nuclear power

Q: Would you accept North Korea as a nuclear power?

KLOBUCHAR: No, I would not. What I am saying is you need to have steps and measures. You have dates and you have times and you have a focus and you have a plan. Talk is good, but if all it is, is talk it doesn't produce anything for national security for America and international security for our allies.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview series , Jun 30, 2019

Require that Trump consult Congress before war with Iran

Trump has made us less safe than we were when he became president. So what I would do is stand with our allies, and not give unlimited leverage to China and Russia, which is what he has done.

I would make sure that if there is any possibility of a conflict--and we're having this debate in Congress right now--that he comes to Congress for an authorization of military force. I would do that.

Source: June Democratic Primary debate (first night in Miami) , Jun 26, 2019

Supported regime change in Libya; supports Israeli military

Source: Truthout.org, "War and Peace," on 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 27, 2019

Keep US military presence in Syria

Klobuchar opposed President's Donald Trump's decision to withdraw troops from Syria. Earlier this month, Klobuchar highlighted her opposition by voting in favor of bipartisan legislation that rebuked Trump's position. At the time of the vote, all the senators who had already announced they were running in 2020 or had declared their intention to run voted against the bill.
Source: PBS News hour on 2020 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 10, 2019

2006: turn over governance of Iraq to the Iraqis

[At the Oct. 15, 2006 Senate debate , my Republican opponent Mark Kennedy and I] first discussed North Korea and then spent a lot of time talking about the war in Iraq. Kennedy called the war the "number one issue in this race" and repeated his position that although we had made some mistakes, we should stay the course. I noted that we had already spent $300 billion on the war and that while we should not suddenly pull out, we needed to turn the governing of the country over to the Iraqis and over time withdraw our troops. When I was given a chance to ask Kennedy a question, I asked him if he believed he was wrong to vote for the war in Iraq. He said he wasn't.
Source: 2006 MN Senate Debate in The Senator Next Door, p.213 , Aug 24, 2015

2007: Withdraw combat troops from Iraq on sensible timetable

The public mandate coming out of the 2006 election was to change the course of the war in Iraq. From 2003 to 2006, we lost more than 3,000 U.S. military men and women in the war, 45 of them Minnesotans. And besides the tragic loss of American and Iraqi lives in the military effort, our country had already spent more than $300 billion on the war.

After my election to the Senate, I wanted to do everything in my power to help end the war. In March 2007, I flew to Iraq; then I was tapped to give the national response to President Bush's weekly radio address. I spoke about our soldier's bravery and commitment but also about the need to withdraw our combat forces on a sensible timetable, train the Iraqi police, and transition to Iraqi governance.

In March 2007, I flew to Iraq; [then] I gave the national response to President Bush's weekly radio address. I spoke about the need to withdraw our combat forces on a sensible timetable, train the Iraqi police, and transition to Iraqi governance.

Source: The Senator Next Door, by Amy Klobuchar, p.232-3 , Aug 24, 2015

Work together with other countries to solve Iraq problem

KENNEDY: I’m very concerned when I hear Ms. Klobuchar say the answer is diplomacy, and that we ought to negotiate. With who? How are you going to negotiate with al Qaeda? How are you going to negotiate with Iranian-sponsored terrorists?

KLOBUCHAR: As of Thanksgiving, we’re going to have been in this war longer than WWII. If together with other countries we were able to solve that situation, we can work with others to solve this one.

Source: Minnesota 2006 3-way Senate Debate, sponsored by LWV , Oct 30, 2006

Iraq has devolved into a civil war; get US troops out

Q: Do we need more troops in Iraq?

KENNEDY: We need to listen to the commanders in the field. If they say we need more troops, than I want to make sure they have more troops.

KLOBUCHAR: Iraq has devolved into a civil war. I believe it’s time to transition to Iraqi authority and let this government run its own country. The way you do this is not by adding more troops, or by saying that we’ll have the same number of troops in 2010. It’s by beginning to bring our troops home, or to redeploy them.

Source: Minnesota 2006 3-way Senate Debate, sponsored by LWV , Oct 30, 2006

Solution in Iraq is diplomatic, not just military

You cannot solve a problem that you don’t admit exists. This war has basically devolved into a civil war. We have to realize that this solution isn’t going to be more boots on the ground, it’s going to be a diplomatic and political solution. This war, as of Thanksgiving, will have lasted longer than World War II. So I believe that we need to bring people together and help this country to come up with a diplomatic and political solution in addition to giving them the tools that they need.
Source: 2006 MN Senate debate, on Meet the Press , Oct 15, 2006

Transition to Iraqi governance; no permanent military bases

KENNEDY: Ms. Klobuchar says Iraq is a distraction. She has set out a specific timetable for bringing our troops home that would tell the terrorists when they can take over an oil-rich country as a sanctuary for terrorists.

KLOBUCHAR: I have never been one to say “Bring them all home tomorrow.” Despite my opposition to the war from the beginning, we have to be responsible about how we bring our troops home.

KENNEDY: She’s also come out against a bill funding body armor for our troops that a majority of Democrats join me in supporting.

KLOBUCHAR: Of course I support body armor for our troops, I support winning this war on terror by being smart. We need to transition to Iraqi governance, we need to send the clear message that they have to take control of their own government, and that means no permanent military bases. The congressman & I differ on this. This means not saying 2010 we’re going to have the same number of troops. We need to be more accountable for the help that we’re giving Iraq.

Source: 2006 MN Senate debate, on Meet the Press , Oct 15, 2006

Bring the troops home in a responsible manner

Q: You said, “2006 should be a year of transition in which we bring a significant number of our troops home.” This is October 2006. Is that still your position?

KLOBUCHAR: The best way that we can protect our troops is to get this policy right, and I believe that that means changing course in Iraq. Clearly, at this late date in mid-October, we can’t bring a significant number home. We have to be reasonable. I have never been one to say “Bring them all home tomorrow.” I have never subscribed to one of those mandatory dates, because I understand that, despite my opposition to the war from the beginning, that we have to be responsible about how we bring our troops home.

Q: So you’re saying now that’s probably not doable. What about a “vast majority in 2007,” which is what you said also?

KLOBUCHAR: These predictions were built on the promises and the predictions of progress from this administration, and we simply haven’t seen that. So you have to be reasonable in what you’re going to do here.

Source: 2006 MN Senate debate, on Meet the Press , Oct 15, 2006

Iraq war has cost $300B and fomented more terrorism

KLOBUCHAR: How come you won’t even admit that you were wrong about voting for this war when we are in the situation we’re in, when we’ve spent over $300 billion, when many members of your own party have admitted that this war was not the right direction, that in fact it has fomented terrorism? We now have 16 agencies of President Bush’s administration saying that this has added more terrorism in this world?

KENNEDY: Let’s talk about what the 16 agencies said. They said that we are clearly activating terrorists in Iraq, having taken the challenge to them. But they also said we have to prevail. If we don’t prevail, it will greatly mushroom this threat, let it grow in size, and come to face our future generations. They said that if we, if we lose, that’s what will happen; if we win, we will greatly degrade what’s happening on the other side.

Source: 2006 MN Senate debate, on Meet the Press , Oct 15, 2006

Fight for accountability for the run-up to the Iraq war

Immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the American people pulled together as one nation -- and much of the world community stood with us. I will fight for accountability for the run-up to the Iraq war. Trust in the integrity of our government and our leaders is essential to the health of democracy. I will continue to demand that the administration account for their actions that have brought us to this point.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Aug 15, 2006

Supported invading Afghanistan, but not Iraq

While I support the invasion of Afghanistan, I disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq. After 3 years, it has become obvious to those who favored the war & to those who opposed it that the Bush-Cheney administration was not truthful about the reasons they gave for invading Iraq, nor were they truthful about having a plan to secure the peace & protect our troops once we invaded.

Whether it was their categorical (but false) assertions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or their repeated (but unsupported) claims of Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda, or their frequent (but untrue) assurances that America would go to war only with broad international support, or their constant (but divisive) attempts to “spin” the war by going after those who disagreed with them, the Bush-Cheney administration did not give honest information to the American people. This conduct has not only damaged America’s credibility throughout the world, but also undermined the American people’s confidence in our own government.

Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Aug 15, 2006

Iraq war needed moral compass of int’l cooperation

I have opposed this war from the beginning. The president did not work with other countries, like we saw in past wars. We didn’t have that moral compass this time. This war was done differently -- we went in alone and without a plan. We’ve spent over $300B. I oppose this war. We need to reduce our troops, and we need to leave Iraq in a responsible manner. We need a significant change in course in 2006. 17
Source: MN 2006 Senate debates - MPR interview , Jan 26, 2006

Fight for a clear plan to bring our troops home safely

I will fight for a clear plan to bring our troops home safely. We need to change course. 2006 should be the year that the Iraqi government decreases its dependency on the United States. It should be a year of transition in which we bring a significant number of our troops home. As with any effective plan, there should be a realistic time-frame based on specific milestones and benchmarks, with honest and current information from the administration about the status of our efforts, the training of the Iraqi forces, and the restoration of basic services to Iraq. In fact, the leaders of Iraq’s otherwise sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis agreed that there should be a time frame for the drawdown of American troops. If the president is unwilling to provide a plan, Congress should direct the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do so. I oppose establishing permanent military bases in Iraq.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Fight for accountability for the run-up to the Iraq war

I will fight for accountability for the run-up to the Iraq war. Trust in the integrity of our government and our leaders is essential to the health of democracy. I will continue to demand that the administration account for their actions that have brought us to this point. And there must also be accountability from those who unjustly profited from this war through illegal contracts, kickbacks and fraud that have hurt the interest of the citizens of both Iraq and the United States.
Source: 2006 Senate campaign website, www.amyklobuchar.com, “Issues” , Jan 18, 2006

Voted YES 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:

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:"

  1. Security for US Government personnel and infrastructure
  2. Training Iraqi security forces
  3. Equipment to US service men and women to ensure their safety
Targeted operations against members of al-Qaida.

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 [2003]. 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 NO 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:

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 YES 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; Bill S.J.Res.9 ; vote number 2007-075 on Mar 15, 2007

No troop surge: no military escalation in Iraq.

Klobuchar co-sponsored opposing troop surge: no military escalation in Iraq

Sponsor's introductory remarks: Sen. BIDEN: This bipartisan resolution opposes the President's plan to escalate the war in Iraq. This resolution says what we and many of our colleagues, Democrats and Republicans, are against: deepening America's military involvement in Iraq by escalating our troop presence. Just as important, it says what we and many of our colleagues are for: a strategy that can produce a political settlement in Iraq. That's the only way to stop Shiites and Sunnis from killing each other and allow our troops to leave Iraq without leaving chaos behind.

Source: Bipartisan Resolution on Iraq (S.CON.RES.2 ) 07-SCR2 on Jan 17, 2007

Iranian nuclear weapons: prevention instead of containment.

Klobuchar co-sponsored Resolution on Iran's nuclear program

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives, that Congress--
  1. Reaffirms that the US Government has a vital interest in working together to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  2. warns that time is limited to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  3. urges continued and increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran until a full and sustained suspension of all uranium enrichment-related activities;
  4. expresses that the window for diplomacy is closing;
  5. expresses support for the universal rights and democratic aspirations of the people of Iran;
  6. strongly supports US policy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability;
  7. rejects any US policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to the Iranian nuclear threat.
Source: HRes568/SR41 12-SJR41 on May 24, 2012

Iran must accept long-term intrusive nuke inspection.

Klobuchar 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.

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

Sanctions on Iran to end nuclear program.

Klobuchar signed Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act

    Expresses the sense of Congress that:
  1. 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;
  2. US concerns regarding Iran are strictly the result of that government's actions; and
  3. 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:
  1. support international diplomatic efforts to end Iran's uranium enrichment program and its nuclear weapons program;
  2. 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;
  3. impose sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian financial institution engaged in proliferation activities or support of terrorist groups; and
  4. 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

Other candidates on War & Peace: Amy Klobuchar on other issues:
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Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)

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Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
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Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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