Congress should make it more difficult for presidents to use military force, said Robert Gates, the former defense secretary who served under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
Speaking with reporters at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor on Friday, the former Pentagon head said Congress had abdicated too much power to the executive branch on matters of war.
“The hurdle for the use of military force, particularly in the absence of an immediate threat of the United States, imposed by requiring a congressional act, would not necessarily be a bad thing,” Gates said. “I think the bar for preventive war ought to be very high. Iraq was a preventive war. An attack on Iran would be a preventive war. ... To make a decision to go to war purely on the basis of intelligence assessments and absent smoking guns, I think, is a very iffy matter. I think the bar against that ought to be very high.”
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