Iraq, Ferguson Are Two Sides of the Same Coin: Shoot First, Ask Questions Maybe

Ian Schlakman - Green Party candidate for U.S House of Representatives for Maryland's 2nd District - calls on Congress to change course on the escalating violence in Iraq and Ferguson, Missouri.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, President Obama affirmed that the United States will continue airstrikes in Iraq. "In June, I asked Congress to assert itself and take back the 'blank check' that it wrote to the executive branch to wage war," Schlakman noted. "Instead, Congress went on summer recess and left President Obama to escalate airstrikes. This spring, I said that Congress and the President ignore reality when they think they can impose our will on a foreign nation from the sky. Now it is almost fall and we are still shooting first."

"The President expressed his hope that building partnerships in Iraq will prevent 'mission creep' for American forces, but he has been vacationing and doesn't seem to be building the necessary coalition. Congress needs to step in and reassert its Constitutional authority to wage war only as a last resort. The President is using airstrikes as a knee-jerk reaction."

President Obama also discussed the ongoing violence in Ferguson, Missouri during Monday's press conference. Schlakman says that both situations exemplify the current American governing philosophy: shoot first, ask questions maybe.

"If it weren't for the outrageous response from the Ferguson police force and continued actions in the streets of Ferguson and in social media, Michael Brown's killing would have been just another un-investigated or under-investigated shooting of a young black man by police."

"In Iraq and Ferguson, the default position has been to shoot first and investigate options for peaceful resolution only when public backlash is great enough to register in public opinion polls. So far, violence has not given way to peaceful solutions in either situation."

"It is not surprising," Schlakman noted, "that there is a direct link between our philosophy for controlling the Middle East and for controlling communities of color in America. The overly militarized police forces in many American cities are using surplus military equipment given to them through a federal program approved by Congress in 1994. Last week I pledged to introduce legislation to end this program if elected to Congress. I am happy that a few members of Congress have pledged to introduce similar legislation in September, but I have no expectation it will pass. The Congressional and Presidential impulses to shoot first and ask questions - maybe - is too strong."