Iran Bush's call?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
-- -- In aborting Iran's nuclear program, "all
options are on the table."
Some version of this threat against Iran has lately been
made by John McCain, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and
Yet, if an attack on Iran is among "options ... on the
table," who put it there? Who gave President Bush the
authority to attack Iran? And when was it granted? And
are all options also "on the table" if North Korea
continues to test nuclear weapons?
What makes these questions other than academic is that
Bush is putting in place military assets that will
enable him to order and effect the rapid nuclear
castration of Iran. But scarcely a peep of protest has
been heard from our congressional leadership
Observers have noted the dispatch of minesweepers and
another U.S. carrier to the Persian Gulf, the naming of
Admiral Bill "Fox" Fallon to head CentCom, which today
manages two ground wars, and the return of U.S.
fighter-bombers to Turkey. In March's Vanity Fair, Craig
"The same neocon ideologues behind the Iran war have
been using the same tactics – alliances with shady
exiles, dubious intelligence on WMD – to push for the
bombing of Iran. As President Bush ups the pressure on
Tehran, is he planning to double his Middle East bet?"
Ex-Israeli Prime Minister "Bibi" Netanyahu has told CNN:
"Iran is Germany, and it's 1938. Except that this Nazi
regime that is in Iran ... wants to dominate the world,
annihilate the Jews, but also annihilate America."
More ominous than the hawk-talk is Unger's report that
"Bush has directed StratCom (U.S. Strategic Command) to
draw up plans for a massive strike against Iran at a
time when CentCom has had its hands full overseeing
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Shifting to StratCom
indicates that they are talking about a really punishing
air force and naval air attack (on Iran)." So says
retired Col. Patrick Lang, formerly of the Defense
Now, this dramatic turn toward Iran – as a menace and
source of our troubles in Iraq, which began with Bush's
speech announcing the surge – can have other
Bush may be waving a big stick in Tehran's face to
compel it to negotiate its nuclear program. He may be
reassuring the Saudis and Sunnis that America will not
leave them to face a nuclear Iran. He may be recruiting
and rallying an anti-Iran coalition of Israel and Sunni
Arab states to stand up to the Shia superpower in the
Gulf. He may be playing to the home crowd in America,
which is more receptive to keeping nuclear weapons away
from the mullahs than in making Iraq safe for democracy
at a cost of 100 U.S. dead a month.
But whatever motive he has, Bush is putting in place
forces to enable him to order an all-out attack on
Iran's navy, air force, and anti-aircraft, anti-ship and
land-based missiles – and all its known nuclear
Now, as there is no indication Iran is preparing any
attack on U.S. forces or facilities, or the homeland,
such a U.S. attack would be the first strike in a
preventive war – like the ones Japan executed at Port
Arthur in 1904 and Pearl Harbor in 1941. Only Bush could
claim Iran had been repeatedly warned of what he would
So, we return to the question: Does Bush have the
authority to do this? If so, where did he get it, as
Congress alone is empowered in the Constitution to
Discussing preventive war on Iran on "Hardball," Sen.
Jim Webb said he is considering introducing a resolution
declaring that Bush has no authority in present law to
launch a war on Iran.
Such a resolution, HJR 14, has already been introduced
in the House by Rep. Walter Jones, Republican of North
Carolina, and now has the backing of 28 members. In an
anguished plea to President Bush, Ron Paul, Republican
of Texas, implored: "Don't do it, Mr. President. Don't
bomb Iran. ... We don't need it. We don't want it."
Paul went on to declare that, today, Bush has no
authority – in the Constitution, in the law or in
morality – to launch a pre-emptive war on another nation
that has not attacked us.
So, will the neocons get their way and their new war –
Or will Congress follow the guidance of Jefferson: "In
questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of
confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by
the chains of the Constitution."
Those member of Congress today apologizing for having
voted Bush a blank check for war on Iraq might better
tell Bush, by joint resolution that he has no blank
check for a war on Iran.
Or is this Congress, too, terrified of crossing the War
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