Friday, February 02, 2007

It's up to Congress, and to all of us

* arthur:
"If, several months or a year from now, we are in the middle of a catastrophic and ever-widening war triggered by an attack on Iran (by either the U.S. or Israel), let no Democrat be heard to say: "But there wasn't anything we could do! We didn't want this to happen, but there wasn't anything we could do to stop it!"

It's absolutely not true. If this nightmare should come to pass, they will be its co-equal creators together with the executive branch. I don't think people are willing to face just how disastrous the consequences of an attack on Iran would be. Again, read my earlier essay for further details. But people had better face it now, if they want to have a chance of stopping it.

Issuing statements of strong disapproval and generally deploring what the administration does are not remotely close to sufficient at this point. Undo both authorization of force resolutions, pass a resolution regarding impeachment, draft articles of impeachment now, and talk about the great dangers that face us every single day. And do it right now.

If the Democrats won't take any of these actions, they will bear equal responsibility for what may unfold in the near future. The choice is theirs, and time has run out.

Those who are in contact with various Democrats should remind them every day of the grave responsibility that is now theirs. The rest of us must do our part as well, as I try to do here. No miracle will save us -- unless we create it ourselves.

It's up to Congress, and to all of us."

* glenn is moving to salon

* glenn:
"One of the tragic flaws of our current political system is that presidential candidates have to please numerous constituencies other than the American voter. One is the large donor base which funds their campaigns. The other is the Beltway media and political elite, which can single-handedly destroy a candidate with tactics having nothing to do with the candidates' actual views (ask Howard Dean, or Al Gore). "

* molly on demnow

* Ritter:
"I would strongly urge Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate, to hold real hearings on Iran. Not the mealy-mouthed Joe Biden-led hearings we witnessed on Iraq in July-August 2002, where he and his colleagues rubber-stamped the President's case for war, but genuine hearings that draw on all the lessons of Congressional failures when it came to Iraq. Summon all the President's men (and women), and grill them on every phrase and word uttered about the Iranian "threat," especially as it has been linked to nuclear weapons. Demand facts to back up the rhetoric.

Summon the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), or any other lobby promoting confrontation with Iran, to the forefront, so that the warnings they offer in whispers from a back room can be articulated before the American public. Hold these conjurers of doom accountable for their positions by demanding they back them up with hard fact. See if the US intelligence community concurs with the dire warnings put forward by these pro-war lobbyists, and if it doesn't, ask who, then, is driving US policy toward Iran? Those mandated by public law and subjected to the oversight of Congress? Or others, operating outside any framework representative of the will of the American people?

If a real case, based on facts as they pertain to the genuine national security interests of the United States, can be made for a confrontation with Iran that leads to military conflict, so be it. America should never shy away from defending that which legitimately needs defending. The sacrifice expected of our military forces, while tragic, will be defensible. But if the case for war with Iran is revealed to be as illusory as was the case for war with Iraq, then Congress must take action to stop this conflict from occurring. This is the Democrats' issue now, the one that will make or break them in 2008 and beyond.

If hearings show no case for war with Iran, then Congress must act to insure that the United States cannot move toward conflict with that nation on the strength of executive dictate alone. As things currently stand, the Bush Administration, emboldened with a vision of the unitary executive unprecedented in our nation's history, believes it has all of the legal authority it requires when it comes to engaging Iran militarily. The silence of Congress following the President's decision to dispatch a second carrier battle group to the Persian Gulf has been deafening. The fact that a third carrier battle group (the USS Ronald Reagan) will probably join these two in the near future has also gone unnoticed by most, if not all, in Congress.
Democrats should seek immediate legislative injunctions to nullify the War Powers' authority granted to the President in September 2001 and October 2002 when it comes to Iran. Congress should pass a joint resolution requiring the President to fully consult with Congress about any national security threat that may be posed to the United States from Iran and demand that no military action be initiated by the United States against Iran without a full, constitutionally mandated declaration of war. Those who embrace the notion of a unitary executive will scoff at the concept of a Congressional declaration of war. They hold that the power to make war is not an enumerated power per se. While statutory authorization (i.e., a formal declaration of war) is enumerated in the Constitution, the reality (as reflected by the current War Powers Act) is that the powers of bringing America to a state of war are not so much separated as they are linked and sequenced, with Congress exercising its control over budgetary appropriations and the President through command."

* Scott interviewed the guy who wrote the MIC/Lockheed article for Playboy.

* Busboys and Poets in DC will be screening Sibel, The Movie for the public on Sunday at 1pm - and will probably run some more screenings in the near future. The phones are running off the hook with requests.

No comments: