Bush and Cheney are gearing up for a new war, and opponents in Congress are writing him an angry letter. Wow!
By Dave Lindorff
Even as one faction of the American government, the military and the corporatocracy grow collectively more alarmed about the possibility of a US attack on Iran, the Bush/Cheney administration and its allies seem increasingly moving towards just such a new war.
Okay, so Sen. James Webb (D-VA) and 29 other US Senators who oppose such a mad plan have done what? They've written a letter to the president telling him that he cannot attack Iran without express approval in advance from the Congress.
A letter! Boy, that'll stop him.
What's the matter with these people?
A few months back, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution authored by war cheerleader Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), declaring the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to be a "global terrorist organization." In President Bush's pathologically twisted view of his power, that resolution gave him all the go-ahead he needed, because Bush and his legal apologists claim that back on Sept. 18, 2001, Congress, in passing an Authorization for Use of Military Force against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, were actually declaring a War on Terror--a conflict without end and without borders. Under this crazy logic, any attack on a terrorist or terrorist organization is simply another battle in that "war."
If Sen. Webb and his colleagues really want to stop the president from further murderous madness, they need only revoke that 2001 AUMF. A simple resolution declaring it ended, and stating that the war on terror is not a war would do the trick.
Why hasn't the Congress done this?
Are they afraid the president will call them "soft on terror"?
No doubt he would, but I think most Americans have grown weary of Bush's name calling. People are pretty aware now that the raised and lowered colored alert flags, the periodic dire warnings of impending doom, all conveniently timed to coincide with moments when the president or his allies are facing legal or political difficulties, are just cheap scare politics.
Any member of Congress with a scintilla of courage could easily make that case to constituents.
People know this president is a whack job and that the vice president is a liar.
So why doesn't someone propose revoking the 2001 AUMF?
The aircraft carriers, loaded with Tomahawk missiles and the largest bomber fleet ever assembled, are in place. Stealth bombers are being retrofitted to carry a new 15-ton bomb. The army has built a base right near the Iranian border in Iraq. There was the bizarre case of the six missing nuclear missiles. The verbal threats against Iran are increasing. US special forces are reportedly already operating in Iran, encouraging and perhaps participating in acts of terror against the regime and its military forces there.
Oil prices are starting to rise to unseen levels as commodities traders bet on the impact of a closing of the Persian Gulf to oil traffic.
Time grows short to stop a catastrophe.
If Congress doesn't act soon to pull the legal rug out from under the president, we could well see a catastrophe. If the US does attack Iran, the global economy will go into a tailspin as oil soars past $200/barrel. The war in the Middle East would become a vast regional conflagration. US troops in Iraq, already thinly stretched, would come under attack from all sides. A draft would certainly be required.
And if the Iranians respond to a US attack with asymetrical warfare by attacking targets in the US, we could see military rule at home.
This is no time for members of Congress to write letters to the president. It's time for them to revoke the 2001 AUMF and to tell the president that an attack on Iran would be an impeachable offense.
In fact, why wait? It's time for them to impeach him now! This is just his latest crime in the making. And even threatening a war of aggression against a nation that doesn't pose an immediate threat is a violation of the UN Charter, a treaty that the US signed years ago and is bound by.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is "The Case for Impeachment" (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net