Has Congress given George Bush a green light to
For he is surely behaving as though it is his call alone. And evidence is mounting
that we are on a collision course for war:
Iran has detained several Iranian-Americans, seemingly in retaliation
for our continuing to hold five Iranians in Iraq.
The UN nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency,
says Iran is making progress in the enrichment of uranium and denying it access
to Iran's nuclear sites.
Bush is calling on Russia and China to toughen sanctions.
A flotilla of U.S. warships, including the carriers Stennis and Nimitz,
has passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf.
U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell has told CNN there is "very credible
intelligence" Iran is funding Sunni extremists engaged in the roadside bombing
of U.S. troops.
CBS reports the United States has engaged in the industrial sabotage
of Iran's nuclear program by making the equipment Iran acquires on the black
market unusable or destructive.
ABC reports that Bush has authorized the CIA to mount a "black" operation
to destabilize Iran, using "non-lethal" means. The absence of White House
outrage over the leak suggests it may have wanted the information out.
ABC.com reports U.S. officials are supporting a militant group, Jundallah,
in the "tri-border region" of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Jundallah, a
Sunni Islamist group seeking independence for Baluchistan, claims to have killed
hundreds of Iranians.
While U.S.-Iran discussions have begun, there are reports Vice President Cheney
and the neocon remnant, along with the Israelis, are opposed to talks and believe
that the only solution to Iran's nuclear program is military. Whether this is
part of a good-cop, bad-cop routine to convince Tehran to suspend enrichment,
we do not know.
But this much is sure. If the U.S. government is aiding Islamic militants who
are killing Iranians, and Iran is providing roadside bombs to Iraqi militants,
Sunni or Shia, to kill Americans, we are in a proxy war. And it could explode
into a major war.
So the questions come. Where is the Congress, which alone has the power to
take us to war? Why are the Democratic candidates parroting the "all-options-are-on-the-table!"
mantra, when as ex-Sen. Mike Gravel noted in the first Democratic debate, this
means George W. Bush is authorized to attack Iran?
Why does Congress not enact the resolution Nancy Pelosi pulled down, which
declares that nothing in present law authorizes President Bush to launch a preemptive
strike or preventive war on Iran – and before launching any such attack, he
must get prior approval from both houses of Congress?
If we are going to war, is it not imperative that, this time, we know exactly
why we must go to war, what exactly the threat is from Iran, what are the likely
consequences of a U.S. attack on a third Islamic country, and what are the alternatives
For there are arguments against war, as well as for war – and the former are
not receiving a hearing, as both parties compete in their fulminations against
Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the new Hitler of the Middle East.
What are those arguments?
On Iran's nuclear progress, there is a real question as to whether they are
producing purified uranium. Iran's refusal to let the IAEA see what it is doing
suggests it may be covering up failure.
Second, though Iranians sound bellicose, Iran has not started a single war
since the revolution of 1979. Indeed, Iran was the victim of a war launched
by Saddam Hussein, whom we secretly supported. Not within living memory has
Iran invaded or attacked another country.
But in the last 110 years, peace-loving Americans have fought Spain, Germany
twice, Austria-Hungary, Japan, Italy, North Korea, North Vietnam, Iraq twice,
and Serbia. We have intervened militarily in the Philippines, Cuba, Mexico,
Panama, Nicaragua, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Lebanon, and Grenada. We bombed
Libya. Now, a case can be made for most of these wars, whose fallen we honor
on Memorial Day.
But the point is this. Why would Iran, with no air force or navy that can stand
up 24 hours against us, no missile that can reach us, no atom bomb, and no ability
to withstand U.S. air and sea attack, want a war with us that could mean the
end of Iran as a modern nation and the possible breakup of the country, as Iraq
is breaking up?
Whether one is pro-war or antiwar, ought we not – if we are going into another
war – do it the right way, the constitutional way, with Congress declaring war?
Or does the Democratic Congress think that what is best for America is to let
"the decider" decide?
Because that is what George Bush is doing right now.
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