Our Mad Mad World: We Have to Forget an “American” Victory in Iraq.    
 We Have to Forget an “American” Victory in Iraq.13 comments
picture11 Nov 2006 @ 18:30, by Paul Quintanilla

Solving the Iraq mess is not a matter of American goodwill. If goodwill could prevail then "we," the American people, would set things straight in Iraq.

We would abide by Colin Powell's "Pottery Barn rule."

But that overall "goodwill" may actually be part of the problem. For by attempting to impose an American solution on the Iraq quagmire we may only be making matters much worse.

A majority of Iraqis, according to most recent surveys, do not desire an American presence in Iraq. And the Arabic world has long been tired of a strong western presence. Nor, for that matter, does the United States have an honorable history in the region, supporting, as it has, many dictatorships. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and, yes, in Iraq - Saddam Hussein - when it was convenient for us to do so. When we desired to advance our own strategic interests.

But to resolve the current Iraq mess we may not actually have a right to impose our will - our American vision and political and economic systems - on the Iraqis. Even though we may be convinced ours is by far the best and most beneficial way to proceed. And that eventually they would be grateful.

Like it or not, we have to ask the Arabic world to help restore stability in Iraq. We may not like the Iraq the Iraqis create (they already lean toward Iran and fundamentalism) but it will be "their" Iraq. For they have already rejected an "American" Iraq.

Even if it reflects the goodwill of the American people continuing to insist upon an American solution will only lead to further smashing our heads against a wall. We are fools dancing in a circle and the world is watching.

Do Americans have a conscience? Then surely the waste of American lives in Iraq must haunt many Americans, who daily ask: “Why?” “For what do these young people die?”

American pride?

The inability to admit we are wrong?

To prove to the rest of the world how tough we are? (With thousands of nuclear weapons and a 500 billion plus defense budget that hardly seems necessary.)

Or because we believe the Neocons’ lies? Many of which are repulsively lurid and absurd.

We have to forget an “American” victory in Iraq. The victory, or defeat, or future of Iraq is up to the Iraqi people. Iraq is not ours to “lose.” The Arabic world is tired of the presence of westerners in their midst telling them what to do, how to behave, what to value, and how to be.

The “solution” to the Iraq war - there is no good solution - is to first confess we have been wrong, apologize to the world for creating this mess, and then release our grip on that part of the world, becoming, finally, a junior but helpful and sympathetic partner. And we must include the Arabs and/or United Nations in seeking a solution. We can not impose or force it on Iraq by ourselves.

If we wish to be friends to the Arabs (the Bush administration claims we are), we must first behave that way. And though many Americans believe the loss of American lives and blood proves our generosity we are seen by many in the Arabic world as invaders, occupiers, unwanted westerners, once again, condescending to and exploiting their world.

Staying the course? Seeking victory? This approach matches the simple analogy of slamming a square peg into a round hole. There is no “American” solution. And if we continue to “stay the course” we will finally leave only when our face is completely bloody, having paid a terrible price.

At the moment, the price is at least two or three dead American soldiers a day. Plus billions of dollars a month as well as a worldwide loss of face.

Let the US reach out to the Arabic world, call for regional talks in order to hand over Iraq to the Arabs. To discuss the exit of US troops from the region. We can not do this alone, nor can we be the only ones who set a new course. Who plan for Iraq’s future. The timeframe for withdrawing should be worked out with our Arab “partners.” Once talks have begun then dates can be set.

We made a mistake. We have to admit it. Rather than losing more respect by apologizing the world will begin to respect us again. For the world, to a great extent, does not want to “hate” America. Many aspects of American life we take for granted are admired throughout much of the world, including our freedoms. The principles of the Bill of Rights, which our current administration is destroying.

With thousands of nuclear weapons and an annual “defense” budget of more than half a trillion dollars no country in the world, unless it wishes to “commit suicide,” will attack us. In fact, we could, and should, cut our defense budget by at least half. We would still far outspend the rest of the world combined on our military. And with our nuclear arsenal no country would dare attack us.

And what about the terrorists, those who will hate us no matter what we do? Well, that is one problem which can not be solved by staying in Iraq. We must become realistic in dealing with that problem too.


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13 comments

11 Nov 2006 @ 19:07 by swanny : Very Well
A very nice synopsis...
You should submit it as a letter to the editor
or even to your congressman.
No I don't suspect everyone wants to be American or even western.
We have to respect our differences and diversity and the diversity
or others and the planet as well.

thankyou

ed  



11 Nov 2006 @ 19:46 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Thanks Ed -

The way the rightwing has posed the question we have a choice between isolationism and imperialism. An unbelicose foreign policy which seeks to cooperate with other countries is not, though, a withdrawal into isolationism. Or, contrary to the right's worldview, a display of weakness.  



12 Nov 2006 @ 10:23 by jazzolog : Freedom As Marketplace Jargon
It's absurd that citizenship has dwindled to consumerism. But Americans now believe we only spend our money at WalMart and the Pentagon, both of which protect our right to amass all the stuff we want and keep away the bad poor of the world who just want to get it away from us. Given that stupidity to work with, a Secretary of State can devise any policy she wants to increase the profits.

Our foreign policy seeks to expand American enterprise. While screaming at the top of our lungs how wonderful capitalism is for the human spirit, we nevertheless have to surround the CEOs with troops to protect them from the howling mobs. If our corporations are so magnificent at giving the obese consumers what they want, why do we have to forcefeed the populations we invade? If we all are to believe that Halliburton and Evangelical charity provide together the perfect purity of the American Dream, why are their results so damning?  



14 Nov 2006 @ 15:39 by rayon : And Ecology as bargainer
These comments and the plight they convey touching upon certain known factors in the dilemma do make one think, yet again, anew, in the agony. Very briefly, a new thought to contribute is that if America were seen to be taking a lead role on the ecology front, this would off set the consumerist stance somewhat, it would tend to help the Third and Fourth worlds on their own terms, as villagers and tribal people, who have a right to exist like this if they chose, and perhaps the Arab world would see this changed face and completely switch stance to be seen to doing its utmost to keep up with such new advanced thinking. Also, this will be the only armoury likely to challenge the Chinese world too, and let us face it, no one country could reasonably argue against such new foreign policy with our Famous America seeking the high ground legitimately, finally at long last.

With more time to spare, could say more on this theme, but I am sure enough is here for every one to fill the blanks, and even extend it further!!!

One more item, I believe there is no option but to go nuclear, and this of course has to be monitored. China is building one new nuclear plant a week at the moment. This is the scale of the problem, not a few fifteenth century dwellers in remote rocky mountains.

America could tell the villagers and tribal people that they lives and way of living is very important, being already more at one with nature. America should tell them that their aeroplanes are not so important as living with nature is, and America should give aid to create own language art and literature initiatives to give back to these people a sense of their own existence, as being as important, perhaps more so in the current climate than satelite navigation societies who are struggling to find a way to avoid melt downs.  



17 Nov 2006 @ 00:21 by quinty : Reflections upon a Quagmire
I found the following on Buddy's Bemusings.

It's a piece by Simon Jenkins (a former editor of the London Times) which appeared in the November 15 Guardian.

***********************

Why stop the Great Satan? He's driving himself to hell

Tehran can sit back and watch its tormentors sweat. But the US and Britain must start from diplomatic ground zero

Simon Jenkins
Wednesday November 15, 2006
The Guardian

For axis of evil, read axis of hope. The frantic scrabbling for an exit strategy from Iraq now consuming Washington and London has passed all bounds of irony. Help from Syria and Iran? Surely these were the monsters that George Bush and Tony Blair were going to crush, back in 2003? Surely the purpose of the Iraq adventure was to topple these terrorism-sponsoring, women-suppressing, militia-funding fundamentalists in favour of stability, prosperity and western democracy? Can the exit from Iraq really be through Tehran and Damascus? Was that in the plan?

I remember asking a western intelligence officer in Baghdad, six months after the American invasion, what he would advise the Iranians to do. "Wait," he said with a smile. Iran has done just that. If I were Tehran I would still wait. I would sit back, fold my arms and watch my tormentors sweat. I would watch the panic in Washington and London as body bags pile up, generals mutter mutiny, alliances fall apart and electors cut and run.

As Blair's emissary, Sir Nigel Sheinwald, comes to me cap in hand, I would pour him tea and roar with laughter. I would ask him to repeat to my face the insults and bile his American taskmasters hurl at me daily. I would say with Shylock: "Hath a dog money? Is it possible a cur can lend three thousand ducats? Fair Sir, you spat on me Wednesday last; you spurned me such a day; you called me dog; and for these courtesies I'll lend you thus much moneys?"

As we approach the beginning of the end in Iraq there will be much throat-clearing and breast-beating before reality replaces denial. For the moment, denial still rules. In America last week I was shocked at how unaware even anti-war Americans are (like many Britons) of the depth of the predicament in Iraq. They compare it with Vietnam or the Balkans - but it is not the same. It is total anarchy. All sentences beginning, "What we should now do in Iraq ... " are devoid of meaning. We are in no position to do anything. We have no potency; that is the definition of anarchy.

From all available reports, Iraq south of the Kurdistan border is beyond central authority, a patchwork of ganglands, sheikhdoms and lawlessness. Anbar province and most of the Sunni triangle is controlled by independent Sunni militias. The only safe movement for outsiders is by helicopter at night. Baghdad is like Beirut in 1983, with nightly massacres, roadblocks everywhere and mixed neighbourhoods emptying into safe ones. As yesterday's awful kidnapping shows, even a uniform is a death certificate. As for the cities of the south, control depends on which Shia militia has been able to seize the local police station.

The Iraqi army, such as it is, cannot be deployed outside its local area and is therefore useless for counter-insurgency. There is no central police force. There is no public administration. The Maliki government barely rules the Green Zone in which it is entombed. American troops guard it as they might an outpost of the French Legion in the Sahara. There is no point in patrolling a landscape one cannot control. It merely alienates the population and turns soldiers into targets.

To talk of a collapse into civil war if "we leave" Iraq is to completely misread the chaos into which that country has descended under our rule. It implies a model of order wholly absent on the ground. Foreign soldiers can stay in their bases, but they will no more "prevent civil war" than they can "import democracy". They are relevant only as target practice for insurgents and recruiting sergeants for al-Qaida. The occupation of Iraq has passed from brutality to mere idiocy.

It is possible that a shrewd proconsul, such as America's Zelmay Khalilzad, might induce the warring factions to agree a provisional boundary between their spheres of influence and assign militias to protect it. But my impression is that Iraq has passed beyond even the power of the centre to impose partition. If civil war means armies invading territory, there is no need for that in Iraq. If it means ethnic massacres and refugees fleeing into enclaves, it is there already and in abundance.

The form of the western retreat from Iraq is already taking shape. If all politics is local, none is more local than the politics of anarchy. Britain is already withdrawing from towns such as Amara and bases in Basra, leaving local militias to fight over the territory left behind and regional leaders to try to discipline them. This cannot begin until the troops leave.

American withdrawal will take the same form in the north and west. The chief cause of British and American casualties at present is incoming commanders going on unnecessary patrols to show they can "kick ass".

Next month's Baker/Hamilton inquiry - surely the strangest way an army has ever negotiated its own retreat - will call for a hastening of such "redeployment" away from centres of population to giant bases in the desert. They can stay there to save face as Iraq's factions and provinces reorder themselves messily in the towns and cities. Units can then slip quietly away to Qatar by the month.

It would clearly help Bush and Blair were such a redeployment to be covered by some international conference. But the idea that Ba'athist, Sunni Damascus and clerical, Shia Tehran would jointly guarantee the safety of a power-sharing regime in Baghdad is beyond credence. They might gain regional kudos by attending such a conference, and even by pretending to rein in their co-religionist militias. But any idea that they will stop sponsoring Hizbullah or stop enriching uranium as part of some deal is bizarre. As for Bush promising to "do something" about Israel and Palestine, he promised that in 2003 to no effect. Yes, these leaders would like good relations with the west, but they can survive without them. The axis of evil has done them no harm.

Bush and Blair are men in a hurry, and such men lose wars. If there is a game plan in Tehran it will be to play Iraq long. Why stop the Great Satan when he is driving himself to hell in a handcart? If London and Washington really want help in this part of the world they must start from diplomatic ground zero. They will have to stop the holier-than-thou name-calling and the pretence that they hold any cards. They will have to realise that this war has lost them all leverage in the region. They can insult and sanction and threaten. But there is nothing left for them to "do" but leave. They are no longer the subject of that mighty verb, only its painful object.

simon.jenkins@guardian.co.uk  



3 Dec 2006 @ 00:01 by quinty : Are we running out of time?

Now there are reports that Saudi Arabia intends to move into Iraq if the US pulls out: to support their Sunni brethren. And that other Arabic nations are thinking of entering the Iraqi sinkhole in order to safeguard their own strategic interests.

After all, Iraq is in their own world. Not ours, perhaps we need to remind ourselves.

Isn't it time to call for a regional conference on Iraq? Our government continues to disdain the Arabic world at its own peril. Talks are needed now, nor should our government be squeamish about who it talks to. After all, are we so sensitive, soft, simple minded and weak that merely by speaking to others in the world who may not agree with us - much less, may not see supporting the US as being in their own best self interest - that we endanger ourselves? And can't even speak to them?

Imperial Rome may not have spoken to the barbarian hordes on its distant borders. But we, the United States, are a democracy.

We need speak to the Arabic world, and immediately, in order to attempt to come to an agreement and conclusion of the great quagmire we have created in Iraq.

Time may very well be running out.  



3 Dec 2006 @ 16:23 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : And in today's news
Haaretz reports Israel is preparing for war....

"There will be a war next summer. Only the sector has not been chosen yet. The atmosphere in the Israel Defense Forces in the past month has been very pessimistic. The latest rounds in the campaigns on both fronts, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, have left too many issues undecided, too many potential detonators that could cause a new conflagration. The army's conclusion from this is that a war in the new future is a reasonable possibility. As Amir Oren reported in Haaretz several weeks ago, the IDF's operative assumption is that during the coming summer months, a war will break out against Hezbollah and perhaps against Syria as well. "

For the full story go to Haaretz  



3 Dec 2006 @ 17:03 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : And on the subject of Israel
here's Gideon Levy in the same issue of Haaretz

The cease-fire will go up in flames

By Gideon Levy

Here is the forecast: In a few days, there will be a targeted killing operation. The military correspondents will recite: "He was one of the senior operatives of Hamas (or Islamic Jihad), and was responsible for producing and smuggling large amounts of armaments." In response, a barrage of Qassams will fall on Sderot. One of the residents might be injured. In the process of the targeted killing operation, some passersby might also be killed; the correspondents will then recite: "They were armed."

Several days later, there might be a terror attack. The leaders of the right-wing parties and the Labor Party will be interviewed on television and will recite: "Abu Mazen has once again demonstrated that he is incapable and unwilling to fight terror. There is no one to talk to." Public Security Minister Avi Dichter will propose turning Beit Hanun into a ghost town. Eli Yishai will suggest bombing from the air. The next day, Qassams will fall again, and the IDF will enter the northern Gaza Strip. The cease-fire will go up in flames.

This is not a bold wager. This is almost the exact series of events that occurred in previous cease-fires. What was is what will be. There are plenty of examples. In January 2002, after several months of quiet, the Tanzim activist Raed Karmi was assassinated in Tul Karm. Dichter, who was then the head of the Shin Bet, pushed for this action, of course. Immediately afterwards, Fatah began its suicide bombing attacks.

Several months later, the Tanzim announced a unilateral cease-fire. Shortly thereafter, in July 2002, Salah Shehadeh was assassinated in Gaza in a one-ton bombing, which also killed 15 innocent residents. That was the end of the cease-fire.

At the beginning of the summer of 2003, the hudna was declared. A week later, the police counter-terror unit targeted Mahmoud Shawer in Qalqiliyah. During the first week of the hudna, the IDF arrested 320 Palestinians. After two months of the hudna, Israel targeted Ismail Abu Shenab, 53. "He has been a wanted man for years," the reporters recited. The next day, 15 mortar shells were fired at Gush Katif and three Qassams at Israel. In August, Israel also assassinated Mohammed Sidr, the head of the military branch of Islamic Jihad in Hebron, and that was the end of the hudna.

Several months later, in December 2003, the IDF embarked on a broad operation. The objective: Sheikh Ibrahim Hamed, head of the military branch of Hamas in Ramallah. The precise date: the day the Geneva Initiative was launched.

Coincidental timing? Doubtful. In April 2004, when negotiations between Yasser Arafat and Hamas were progressing, Israel assassinated Abed Aziz Rantisi. The negotiations stalled.

In July 2005, the tahadiya was also threatened: In a single day, Israel targeted seven in Salfit and in Gaza. A month later, another five in Tul Karm. In June 2006, just as Mahmoud Abbas was about to declare a referendum vote on the prisoners' document, Israel targeted Jamal Abu Samhadana, the commander of the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza. A few days later, the Ghaliya family was killed on the Gaza beach, whether by an IDF shell or "dud." The referendum went up in smoke, together with the prisoners' document. Hamas threatened to resume terror attacks after 17 quiet months. The Qassams started to fall on Sderot in frightening numbers. Thus, systematically: Every time a chance emerges, a liquidation is quick to follow. The IDF and Shin Bet, not the statesmen, dictate the developments.

The current cease-fire was achieved thanks to the U.S. president's visit in Jordan. Israel responded to the Palestinian initiative - again it is a Palestinian initiative, there has never been an Israeli initiative - after the military operations were bitter failures. After "Summer Rains" and "Autumn Clouds," after 80 were killed in one week in Beit Hanun, the firing of Qassams did not stop. The IDF hurried to respond with a typical sour countenance: Senior officers in the Southern Command expressed strong opposition in off-the-record conversations, the chief of staff was quick to declare that "the IDF was only a partially a partner in the decision" and the defense minister expressed reservations about expanding the cease-fire to the West Bank.

The IDF is not interested in the cease-fire. One can assume that neither is the Shin Bet. Reports on how the cease-fire is already being exploited for redeployment on the other side are flooding the media. And the end is known in advance. Instead of Israel promoting the cease-fire, it is acting to undermine it. A cease-fire is bad for the IDF, especially when it stems from its failures as in Lebanon and Gaza.

How intolerably easy it is for the IDF to undermine the relative quiet that has been achieved. One assassination is enough. A single soldier at a checkpoint is capable of igniting a conflagration. When the IDF wants it, every broom opens fire. And the IDF wants it, unfortunately.

Moreover, the IDF is now being asked not only to show restraint, but also to take a series of practical steps to make life easier for the Palestinians. In the meantime, how surprising, there is no sign of this. Anyone wishing to confirm this can drive to the Hawara checkpoint and see with his own eyes the transit of cattle there, which is called a human passageway. Another example? During a two-day period at the end of the week, the IDF arrested over 50 Palestinians in the West Bank. Why exactly now?

"I reach out my hand in peace to our Palestinian neighbors," Ehud Olmert said in his Sde Boker speech, his most impressive speech, which promises the Palestinians half of heaven and earth. This speech is liable to be washed in blood. Perhaps the Palestinians will be to blame, but no less than this is the gnawing fear that the IDF and Shin Bet will return to their destructive patterns of action.

It is now not only a matter of the danger of renewed hostile activity, but a much more fateful question: Who rules in Israel and who is really dictating its path? During the coming weeks, Israelis should carefully monitor the developments. Let's establish a "Cease-Fire Watch," and watch to see who is once again maliciously undermining it.  



21 Jan 2007 @ 14:32 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : An act in Congress to get out in 6 mnths

At times I love the language of the law. Its simplicity, precision, and clarity of meaning. I read somewhere that Stendahl read French law books before writing, to sharpen his style. Here is Lynn Woolsey's plan to get the troops out of Iraq in six months, which was co-sponsored by Barbara Lee.

Lynn Woolsey's Bill  



21 Jan 2007 @ 15:26 by jmarc : I love the language of the law too
section 7 third paragraph, US constitution states:

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

yes.
2/3
of both houses!
Good Luck!  



22 Jan 2007 @ 10:58 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Article II, Section 4 also reads....
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."  


29 Jan 2007 @ 12:19 by Quinty @72.195.137.102 : Another Gulf of Tonkin?

This came in in today's news. Did you have the same response to this I did? Another Gulf of Tonkin?

Bush: U.S. Will Respond 'Firmly' if Iran Escalates Its Military Actions in Iraq


President Bush makes remarks to the House Republican Conference in Cambridge, Md. Friday, Jan. 26, 2007. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
01-29-2007 11:47 AM
By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Deeply distrustful of Iran, President Bush said Monday "we will respond firmly" if Tehran escalates its military actions in Iraq and threatens American forces or Iraqi citizens.

Bush's warning was the latest move in a bitter and more public standoff between the United States and Iran. The White House expressed skepticism about Iran's plans to greatly expand its economic and military ties with Iraq. The United States has accused Iran of supporting terrorism in Iraq and supplying weapons to kill American forces.

"If Iran escalates its military actions in Iraq to the detriment of our troops and - or innocent Iraqi people, we will respond firmly," Bush said in an interview with National Public Radio.

The president's comments reinforced earlier statements from the White House.

"If Iran wants to quit playing a destructive role in the affairs of Iraq and wants to play a constructive role, we would certainly welcome that," National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. But, he said, "We've seen little evidence to date (of constructive activities) and frankly all we have seen is evidence to the contrary."

Sharply at odds over Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, Washington and Tehran are arguing increasingly about Iraq. American troops in Iraq have been authorized to kill or capture Iranian agents deemed to be a threat. "If you're in Iraq and trying to kill our troops, then you should consider yourself a target," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said last week.

Iran's plans in Iraq were outlined by Iranian Ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qumi in an interview with The New York Times. He said Iran was prepared to offer Iraqi government forces training, equipment and advisers for what he called "the security fight," the newspaper reported. He said that in the economic area, Iran was ready to assume major responsibility for the reconstruction of Iraq.

"We have experience of reconstruction after war," the ambassador said, referring to the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. "We are ready to transfer this experience in terms of reconstruction to the Iraqis."

Johndroe said the Bush administration was looking at what the ambassador had to say.

The White House says there has been growing evidence over the last several months that Iran is supporting terrorists inside Iraq and is a major supplier of bombs and other weapons used to target U.S. forces. In recent weeks, U.S. forces have detained a number of Iranian agents in Iraq.

"It makes sense that if somebody is trying to harm our troops or stop us from achieving our goal, or killing innocent citizens in Iraq, that we will stop them," Bush said on Friday.  



19 Nov 2007 @ 00:11 by quinty : The new Congress
is a mixed bag, and some of the new Democratic members defeated Republicans in swing districts. Which means that on many issues they can be rather “conservative.” And Democrats are not all alike, though most do oppose the war. And let’s not forget, the House Progressive Caucus only has about 70 members. There are more than 40 Blue Dogs.

Nor did the Democrats run in ‘06 promising to end the war. That misconception may have been implied but with only a small minority that reality is nearly impossible. In the Senate 60 votes are required just to bring measures to the floor. And in the House 2/3’s votes to overturn the President’s vetoes are required.

What I recall the Democrats promising was oversight, Congressional hearings, a change of course and a stronger opposition to the president’s policies. Perhaps you can remember some candidates actually promising to bring the war to an end if elected. I don’t.

The simple clarity of providing another fifty billion dollars to the war in order to bring the troops home was a step forward. The White House has presented this as an irresponsible measure which leaves our troops vulnerable on the field, courting disaster.

Even many Americans who want to bring the troops home are fearful of not fully funding the war, since the White House has successfully equated funding the war with supporting the troops. The Democrats and Republicans opposing the war have to make it clear that the president’s intransigence is the actual problem. That cutting funding requires the president to start bringing the troops home, following the will of the Congress and the American people. That the fault is with the White House, not the Congress which is attempting to end the war. It appears as if the national climate hasn’t reached that state of rationality yet. And most Americans still equate fully funding the war with protecting and backing the troops. And many opponents, including Republicans, are afraid of bucking that continuing tide. But time, though, is not on their side.

And now Barack Obama and Neal Abercrombie have come up with an obvious proposal which the Congress should have made months ago. A bill reminding the president that he can not attack Iran without the approval of the Congress.

With the likes of Alberto Gonzalez in the Justice Department the president could have found many legal means for justifying an attack. Fortunately, as a result of Democratic oversight and hearings, Gonzalez is gone. But if this bill passes (it will probably be filibustered in the Senate) and the President acts against the will of the Congress, there will be plenty of cause for that long overdue impeachment and trial. At least in that, let's hope, the Congress has drawn the line: that the President may not unilaterally start a war.

But taking an attack on Iran out of the hands of the White House and returning the decision to the Congress should be reassuring. Since such an authorization is highly unlikely. Unless, of course, there is a provocation? Another Gulf of Tonkin? And the president, once again, succeeds in a propaganda coup?



[link]

Abercrombie: Bush Doesn't Have Authority to Attack Iran
    By Mike Soraghan
    The Hill

    Friday 16 November 2007

    A key House Democrat on defense issues says Congress should clarify that President Bush does not have the authority to attack Iran.

    Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) announced Friday that he has introduced a bill clarifying that the 2002 authorization of use of force against Iraq does not permit military action against Iran.

    It is identical to legislation introduced in the Senate by Barack Obama (D-Ill.), whose presidential campaign Abercrombie supports.

    "We have learned how adept the Bush administration is at interpreting and twisting language to justify military adventure. America simply cannot afford another Iraq," said Abercrombie, chairman of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Air and Land Forces.

    Obama has been dueling on the Iran issue with fellow presidential contender Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Clinton voted for legislation labeling the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization. Her opponents say the vote will help the administration make its case for war with Iran, an argument the former first lady strongly rejects.

    The Iran issue is also heating up in the House. Earlier this week, 800 people attended a town meeting held by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), titled "Is Iran Next?" Moran and his panelists strongly argued against war with Iran. Moran also indicated that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) prevented a measure that would have blocked war with Iran from coming to the House floor in May.

    Lawmakers and media accounts credited AIPAC with helping to kill the Iran measure, but AIPAC representatives have denied playing a role in it.  



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