On the Next Step in the “War on Terror”

The United States is going to go to war with Iran. It will happen. The noise machine is already working. It is going to happen.

And there’s not a thing Congress can do about it now.

Why?

Because President Bush has designated Iran’s Republican Guard, their elite military force, a “global terrorist.” And the Authorization to Use Military Force that Congress passed in the aftermath of 9-11 — intended to give the President the power to take down al-Qaeda in response to the World Trade Center attacks — is worded (and has been interpreted) so broadly as to empower the President to take whatever military action he sees fit, so long as it’s terror-related. Indeed, the Bush Adminstration argued in the run-up to the Iraq War that a specific authorization for the military action there wasn’t necessary as it was covered both by the 9-11 AUMF and the Gulf War resolution in 1991.

By calling a branch of the Iranian military a terrorist organization, President Bush can claim that the 2001 AUMF gives him carte blanche to attack the Iranian military without a specific Congressional approval. Since the November elections Democrats in Senate have asked the State Department for an explicit statement that a military attack on Iran would, in fact, require a specific Congressional approval. Not surprisingly, Secretary of State Rice has been unable to provide a clear-cut answer on that point.

Let’s recap.

  • First, the President believes that Congress authorized him to take any military action he desires against terrorist organizations.
  • Second, the President has designated another nation’s military a terrorist organization.
  • Third, the President’s administration has been unable to state that military action against Iran would require a specific Congressional authorization.

Here are the conclusions we can draw.

The President has fucked up one war, and he has fucked it sideways. So, rather than fix the problem, he takes steps to implement a new, and completely pointless, policy — attack another nation — to obscure the scale of his already legendary failures. And he’s doing so in a way that short-circuits public debate and freezes the legislature out of the discussion. The military is already at its breaking point, yet the President wants to squander what remains on an military move that makes no sense.

The United State is going to attack Iran. It’s just that simple. And it’s just that wrong.

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