Sunday :: Apr 16, 2006

Will Democrats Do Another "Ostrich" Routine On Iran?

by Steve

Have you noticed the near-total silence from congressional Democrats in response to the Sy Hersh story and other reporting that the Bush Administration is actively engaged in taking down the Iranian regime? Have you heard one senior Democrat in the House or Senate do in 2006 what they didn’t do in 2002, which is question the judgment of the administration early on, when it could have done some good to highlight a looming catastrophe?

I was reminded of this when I exchanged emails with retired Colonel Sam Gardiner yesterday, who appeared on CNN International late Friday and who revealed that the Iranians already know that the Bush Administration is actively engaged in what can be construed as an act of war against their county by inserting American forces inside Iran for intelligence gathering and target selection activities. Gardiner reported that he heard directly from Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA that the Iranian government knows about these activities because they have captured the proxy forces carrying out destabilization activities inside Iran, and those forces, presumably MEK terrorists, have admitted that they are working with the American military on these missions.

It’s possible that the Iranians may not yet totally believe these stories from the captured proxy forces, because I asked Gardiner why the Iranians haven’t made a big deal about this yet, to undercut the rhetoric from the Bush Administration. This is Gardiner’s reply, which raised another issue that was troubling me:

The Iranians have been saying it -- Revolutionary Guard Commander, Chief of Police, Interior Minister. I think they have not made more of it because they lack a "smoking gun."
My ongoing question is more about why the Congress has not made more of it. I find it hard to see (where) there is an authorization from them (Congress) to do this. (The) War Powers Act does not seem to be working because the Congress was not notified after 60 days. The 2001 terrorism legislation gives authority to go after those responsible for 9/11 but not axis of evil in general. So, who agreed to allow this to happen?

Precisely. Where the hell are the Democrats on this issue? Why hasn’t any Democrat on either the Senate Armed Services Committee or the Senate Foreign Relations Committee publicly demanded to know under what authority the Bush Administration is doing advance work inside Iran? We now know that Bush redirected resources from Afghanistan towards Iraq war planning in the spring and summer of 2002, without congressional authorization, so it is entirely plausible that we have already been engaged in these activities for over a year now inside Iran, as new reports indicate. Yet we have heard or seen nothing from Carl Levin, Joe Biden, or Bill Nelson of Florida, who is the only Democrat on both the Armed Services and the Foreign Relations committees.

Instead, the Democrats are foolishly allowing themselves to be steered towards a futile debate about Rumsfeld, when in fact they should be asking tough questions now about Iran and challenging this administration’s credibility by pointing to the lies told about Iraq. Every day Democrats spend talking about Rumsfeld, like Chris Dodd did today, is another day that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are able to spend under the radar screen planning for another catastrophe of their own making.

There is no authority in PL 107-40 (Senate Joint Resolution 23) , which is the post-9/11 authorization, to use military force to wage war against Iran, unless Bush now wants to determine that Iran was involved in 9/11, which would cause a whole new range of problems for the administration. Nor is there any authority in PL 107-243, which is the authorization to use force against Iraq, for any military action against Iran. And the requirements Bush must meet under the War Powers Act are specifically not superseded by PL 107-40, so under what authority is Bush doing anything inside Iran?

If Democrats think they can do another “ostrich” routine this time around and let Bush ignore Congress and bully his way into another catastrophe with Iran like he did with Iraq, and then shoot him in the ass they are sorely mistaken. There won't be any more free passes if Democrats fail to ask the tough questions now, and remind voters that this is Iraq all over again.

And that means you Hillary and Joe Biden. Sticking your head in the sand won't cut it, and it isn't leadership.

You can contact ranking member Levin on the Armed Services Committee by email through this window, or by faxing him at (202) 224-1388.

To contact ranking member Biden on the Foreign Relations Committee, use this window for an email, or you may fax him at (202) 224-0139.

Bill Nelson of Florida can be reached by email through this window.

Steve :: 2:18 PM :: Comments (31) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!