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Conservative Review

Fact check: No, Sen. Mike Lee is not an 'Iran helper'

The Wall Street Journal editorial page is attacking conservatives again. This time, the WSJ has labeled Senator Mike Lee, R-Utah, as an "Iran helper" because Lee is involved in an effort to prevent the United States from interfering in an Islamic civil war without authorization from Congress.

Saudi Arabia, run by Sunni muslims, is currently fighting a Shiite muslim group called the Houthis, who seized the capital of Yemen in 2014. The Houthis are backed by Iran. Under the Obama and Trump administrations, the United States has been providing aid to the Saudi coalition without authorization from Congress. Sens. Lee, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., have introduced a bipartisan resolution “to direct the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.”

The WSJ editorial writers calls Lee's demand for Congress to assert its constitutional duties a "gratuitous gift to Iran." They dismiss Lee's constitutional concerns, asserting that because the Houthis are backed by Iran, failure to take action against the Houthis and in support of the Saudis is actually aiding Iran.

The smear of Mike Lee as pro-Iran is absurd, but not unusual. Former U.S. Senator Jim Demint, R-S.C., rose to Lee's defense, noting that the WSJ editorial board has a long history of smearing constitutional conservatives.

The WSJ is not alone. The Washington Free Beacon has also noted that Sen. Lee's effort has received support from "fringe anti-Israel, pro-Iran groups" like the radial anti-war group Code Pink. Many quoted by the Free Beacon assert that Lee is making common cause with pro-Iran groups. This too is absurd. The fact that radical far-Left groups support Lee's effort does not take away from the fact that unauthorized intervention in the Yemeni civil war is unconstitutional. The situation in Yemen is far more complicated than pro-Iran/anti-Iran factions.

On the one hand, the United States is supporting the Saudis against the Iran-backed Houthis. At the same time, the United States is fighting Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula, which is backed by ... the Saudis. It's as if the Bloods and the Crips are waging gang warfare in the streets, and the United States is being asked to intervene for one side against the other. Both are criminal actors. But those who oppose unconstitutional intervention are accused of supporting one of the criminal gangs.

Senator Mike Lee's proposal simply requires the elected representatives of the American people to weigh in on intervention in Yemen. All he is asking for is a vote to "authorize—or decline to authorize—military engagement and define U.S. national interests." The American people ought to have a say in where their sons and daughters are shipped overseas to fight. This is why the American founders gave Congress the authority to declare war, not the president.

The Wall Street Journal's attempt to silence dissent from the pro-intervention foreign policy establishment as a "gift to Iran" is shameful.

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