Many in Congress deeply regret having voted President Bush a blank check for war in October 2002. And they are frustrated at their inability to compel him to begin bringing the troops home.
Why, then, is Congress pushing for a new confrontation, with Iran, which could involve us in a war with a nation four times the size of Iraq?
In July, the Senate voted 97 to zero to censure Iran for complicity in the killing of U.S. soldiers by enhanced IEDs that Iran’s Quds Force is said to be providing Iraqi insurgents. Last week, the Senate voted 76 to 22 to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a "terrorist organization."
The Senate resolutions track the testimony of Gen. David Petraeus, who accused Iran of conducting a "proxy war" against us:
"Iran, through the use of the Quds Force, seeks to turn the Iraqi Special Groups into a Hezbollah-like force to … fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq."
The War Party is said to be readying a rollout of a big propaganda campaign for war on Iran like the one that stampeded us into the war in Iraq. President Bush got the ball rolling at the American Legion Convention:
"Iran … is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. … Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent and target Israel. … Iran is sending arms to the Taliban. … Iran’s active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. …
"Iran’s leaders cannot escape responsibility for aiding attacks against coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis."
And has Bush already authorized military action against Iran?
"I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities. … We’ve conducted operations against Iranian agents supplying lethal munitions to extremist groups."
Bush’s shifting rationale for war on Iran is consistent with what The New Yorker’s Sy Hersh reports. The case for war and the initial target list have been changed — from Iran’s nuclear program to Iran’s Quds Force.
If Iran is supplying enhanced IEDs to Iraqis to kill Americans, that is an act of war. And President Bush has the same right to go after the nests of terror as did President Nixon in ordering the 1970 invasion of the Viet Cong sanctuaries in Cambodia.
But while Nixon and LBJ bombed North Vietnam, we did not strike China or Russia, which were providing far more weaponry to the NVA and VC than Iran has provided Iraqi insurgents. And President Truman fired Gen. MacArthur, who wanted to go to the source, in China, of the men and weapons killing Americans in Korea.
The point here is this: If the United States has a case for war, why has Congress not held hearings to give us answers to the crucial questions, before Bush plunges us into that war?
How solid is the evidence Iran is providing roadside bombs to kill Americans? How solid is the evidence Tehran has approved of or assisted in these attacks?
If Tehran is complicit in the killing of Americans, is it being done in reprisal for what President Ahmadinejad described as terror attacks against Iran? While he did not name names, the Kurdish Pejak, an offshoot of the PKK, which has engaged in terror attacks against Turkey, has reportedly been operating inside Iran.
Jundallah, the Party of God, has been killing Iranian soldiers in Baluchistan. The Mujahideen-e-Khalq, which the State Department has labeled a terrorist group, is said to be operating against Iran.
Is Iran killing our boys because they think we are killing theirs?
U.S. air strikes on the Quds Force in Iran would bring retaliation, and escalation to U.S. strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities. This would solidify the mullahs and could lead to Iran’s distributing surface-to-air missiles to agents and proxies in the Middle East, the unleashing of Shia attacks against our allies and a hellish situation for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention attacks on Gulf tankers, $200-a-barrel oil, a worldwide recession and a 2,000-point plunge in the Dow.
Iran cannot want a war with the United States. If it did, it could have had that war any time in the last 30 years. But Iran did not start any war in those three decades.
If they do not want war, and as Sen. Joe Biden says, he does not want war, why is his Foreign Relations Committee not holding hearings on what exactly Iran is doing in Iraq, how advanced its nuclear program is, what Iran is asking to stop short of nuclear weapons, what Iran is willing to pay for peace with the United States, and what we are willing to offer to get them to back off in Iraq and give up nukes?
If we are going to war, Congress, not George Bush, should take us into it. Isn’t that how the Constitution reads?