Rescind The September 2001 AUMF
Many of you have said with justification that Bush and Cheney are at their most dangerous when they feel they are in a corner, like a rat. With an incoming Democratic congress ready to commence hearings in January on a variety of fronts, especially Joe Biden’s Senate Foreign Relations and Carl Levin’s Senate Armed Services Committees, Democrats must ready themselves for a frontal assault by this White House to steal the thunder and reclaim the agenda in an act of desperation. Where would the White House go first?
You can count out Iraq. Bush will not propose anything that can lead to a solution in January, as his strategy will fail for all the reasons noted by Professor Juan Cole this morning. In fact, I sometimes wonder why I spend so much time and energy talking about Iraq since he will not change course and since he is solely responsible for the debacle in that country, and nothing any blogger or I can say will affect this situation.
But with Iraq about to become politically worse for the administration when it becomes clear that Bush and Cheney will blow off the ISG report against the wishes of the American public, what can the White House do to steal the agenda and push Congress to the background?
Agitate for a war with Iran. Aside from the positioning of additional naval forces in the Gulf over the next several weeks, and the arrest of Iranian diplomatic staff by the US military over the weekend, diplomats by the way who were the invited guests of the Iraqi government, we should expect to see other measures to angle for a confrontation with Iran between now and March. What can be done about this?
For a start, why can’t the new Congress move to rescind the September 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) that Congress passed in the aftermath of 9/11, which Bush used to lie his way into the Iraq invasion? Why shouldn’t the Democratic leadership force Republicans to side with the president’s unchecked powers to wage war in the aftermath of Bush’s blow-off of the ISG report? Why shouldn’t the new Congress force the president to come to Congress before any hostilities begin with another country? It won’t stop him from doing it, because Scott Ritter says he’ll do it regardless, but rescinding the AUMF is the first step to putting his next war under a bright light for the American people. In this way, political pressure can be brought to bear to expose what Bush and Cheney are planning to do next, to a country that may in fact have a legitimate need for nuclear power after all.