Monday, February 05, 2007

The Drumbeat Gets Louder

Digby has company in saying "we can't let it happen again":
It isn't just us dirty hippy bloggers or even magazine writer James Fallows who are suggesting strongly that the congress step in right now to stop an attack on Iran. Here's Leonard Weiss, senior science fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and Larry Diamond, senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution in today's LA Times:
Iran is still years away from being a nuclear threat, and our experience with "preventive war" in Iraq should teach us a thing or two. Launching another such war without international approval would leave us even more politically isolated and militarily overstretched. Attacking a Middle Eastern country � one much stronger than Iraq and with the ability to cut off oil supplies from the Strait of Hormuz � could inflame the region, intensify Shiite militia attacks on our soldiers in Iraq and stimulate terrorist attacks on Americans and U.S. interests worldwide.

But recklessness, not prudence, has been the hallmark of this administration's foreign policy. Beyond this, the president and vice president subscribe to what some call the "unitary executive," which is a fancy way of saying they believe that Congress cannot prevent the president from doing almost anything he wants. The 1973 War Powers Act, passed in the wake of our disastrous war in Vietnam, allows the president to put U.S. troops in a combat situation under certain conditions before obtaining any congressional authorization to do so. When Bush signed the Iraq war resolution, he issued a statement challenging the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, indicating that he could take the nation to war without obeying its restrictions. Unfortunately, even if the president were to agree to the act's restrictions, he could still attack Iran and have up to 90 days before being required to get congressional authorization for the attack.

What to do? Congress should not wait. It should hold hearings on Iran before the president orders a bombing attack on its nuclear facilities, or orders or supports a provocative act by the U.S. or an ally designed to get Iran to retaliate, and thus further raise war fever.

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has warned the administration that it had better seek congressional authorization for any attack on Iran. But we need Senate and House hearings now to put the Bush administration on notice that, in the absence of an imminent military attack or a verified terrorist attack on the United States by Iran, Congress will not support a U.S. military strike on that country. Those hearings should aim toward passage of a law preventing the expenditure of any funds for a military attack on Iran unless Congress has either declared war with that country or has otherwise authorized military action under the War Powers Act.

The law should be attached to an appropriations bill, making it difficult for the president to veto. If he simply claims that he is not bound by the restriction even if he signs it into law, and then orders an attack on Iran without congressional authorization for it, Congress should file a lawsuit and begin impeachment proceedings.
This is precisely what the hippy blogger Arthur Silber has been saying, although he wisely says that Democrats should have the articles of impeachment drafted in advance.

They continue:
It is, of course, possible that the president's truculent language and actions toward Iran are a bluff, an attempt to rein in its irresponsible behavior.

But the administration's mendacious and incompetent course of action in taking the nation to war with Iraq gives us no reason to provide the president with the benefit of any doubt. And stiffening economic sanctions � at a time when Iran's economy is ailing and the regime is losing popular support � offers a better and safer prospect of exerting leverage.

Another war of choice would only pour fuel on the fires of the Middle East. And the history of this administration shows that if Congress does not constrain this president, he could well act recklessly again, in ways that would profoundly damage our national interest.
Setting aside the morality and legality of attacking Iran without provocation (or a trumped up provocation), the situation is even more dangerous today than it was in 2002 when they started the insane drumbeat for war with Iraq without any real justification. This time, the president of the United States is both a proven liar and proven incompetent. You can't predict what kind of miscalculations people can make when dealing with a superpower that has this kind of reputation and track record. Needless provocation is the last thing the US should be doing right now.

Christy Hardin Smith wrote an impassioned post today, based on my piece and the James Fallows article, entreating people to write to their congressional reps on this issue.

It's a good idea. This is serious stuff and serious people from all over the place are saying that steps must be taken to stop this now. We can't let it happen again.


Blogger Shelly said...

I agree completly I have a bother in law in Iraq. We need all this crap to stop!!!

10:52 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

The sad reality is that those in charge (BushCo) don't have anyone of "theirs" in Iraq and so (because that's all they seem to care about) they don't care about those poor souls who have agreed to risk their lives serving their country and who, as a reward, have been betrayed so callously.

Everyone is going to have to stand up and say: No more! if it's ever going to stop.

12:08 AM  
Blogger liberal journal man said...

Bush challenge the constitutionality of the War Powers Act? I must be psychic.

4:31 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

Who could have predicted that a war criminal would do something like that? How can people possibly believe this guy's lies?

It's just the same old same old.

10:32 PM  

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