The assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist edges us closer to war. We must understand the difference between Iran and Iraq and why a war with Iran would be disastrous. Iran is the 18th-largest country in the world and Iraq the 58th. Iran has 2,440 kilometers of coastline and Iraq has 58 kilometers. Iran has a literacy rate of 85.5% and Iraq 50.1%. Geographically, historically and culturally these are very different nations.

When the U.S. overturned the regime of Saddam Hussein, 4,486 U.S. soldiers were killed and more than a million Iraqis. The war cost the U.S. nearly $2 trillion. The costs both in soldiers and dollars for a war with Iran would, as one author put it, make the Iraq war resemble a warm-up exercise.

In 2002, Congress passed an Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) specific to the mission of the Iraq war. The 2002 AUMF was used to justify the killing of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. If not repealed it may be further abused for covert actions not having congressional approval.

The House has passed repeated legislation for its repeal and the Senate has had two bills for its repeal. The current Defense Appropriations Act should include the Amendments to Prevent War with Iran and Repeal the 2002 AUMF.

Our country is in a vicious cycle – there are so many domestic problems that demand attention that citizens rarely lobby Congress on defense issues. This leads to endless wars, the price of which has exacerbated domestic issues. Please help to stop this cycle. Call your Maine delegation and ask for: No War with Iran and Repeal the 2002 AUMF.

Sens. King and Collins, please speak out for these two amendments to the National Defense Appropriations Act.

Deborah P. de Rivera