Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Congressional leaders retreat from constitutional duties

Dems Abandoning Stance Against Iran War

Top House Democrats retreated Monday from an attempt to limit President Bush's authority for taking military action against Iran as the leadership concentrated on a looming confrontation with the White House over the Iraq war.

Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.

Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy.

So...is it that we are worried when Israel flies over our Iraq forces to strike Iran, we won't be suffieciently set and ready to join in? Is this the positive view?

The president should be coming to Congress before going into war. It is especially so when you are taking a country into a third one. Is that so hard to comprehend?

Democrats Blink on Iran Restriction
The Democrats are blinking and taking out of proposed legislation a provision that would have forbidden Bush to take military action against Iran without coming to the Congress first (i.e. without acting in accordance with the Constitution). I'm not sure why you need a statute, anyway, to ensure that the Constitution is followed . . . Except that it has been so long since presidents have paid much attention to the Constitution. The Imperial Presidency has overshadowed it, just as Emperor Augustus overshadowed the Roman Republic.

Those who said that such a provision would take the military option off the table with regard to Iran are simply wrong. It just required that the president make the case for a war to the legislature, which declares war. The option was still there if the legislature wanted it to be.

But after the Iraq fiasco it is amazing to me that Washington is still talking about going to war against Middle Eastern countries that pose no threat to the US mainland. The US got where it is after World War II by mostly avoiding direct military campaigns and occupations. The US does not have the resources to occupy two Middle Eastern oil states, and trying to do so will break it as surely as imperial overstretch broke its predecessors among the great powers. Those who think all this is good for Israel are being short-sighted. If the US spirals down into a non-entity over the next 30 years as a result of over-stretch, Israel will be left without a great power patron and might well not survive. The Europeans are fed up with its militarism and itchy trigger finger, and it hasn't made any friends in its own region.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called on the US to keept its troops in Iraq for the time being and only exit "responsibly." He also egged the US on to confront Iran.


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