Patrick J. Buchanan & Robert Scheer – 2007-01-17 22:37:47
Mr. Bush, Meet Walter Jones
Patrick J. Buchanan / The Creators Syndicate
WASHINGTON (January 16, 2007) — America is four years into a bloody debacle in Iraq not merely because Bush and Cheney marched us in, or simply because neocon propagandists lied about Saddam’s nuclear program and WMD, and Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda, anthrax attacks, and 9/11.
We are there because a Democratic Senate voted to give Bush a blank check for war. Democrats in October 2002 wanted the war vote behind them so they could go home and campaign as pro-war patriots.
And because they did, 3,000 Americans are dead, 25,000 are wounded, perhaps 100,000 Iraqis have lost their lives, 1.6 million have fled, $400 billion has been lost, and America stands on the precipice of the worst strategic defeat in her history.
Yet, Sens. Clinton, Biden, Kerry, and Edwards – all of whom voted to give Bush his blank check – are now competing to succeed him. And how do they justify what they did?
“If only we had known then what we know now,” they plead, “we would never have voted for the war.” They are thus confessing to dereliction in the highest duty the Founding Fathers gave Congress. They voted to cede to a president their power to take us to war.
Now they wash their hands of it all and say, “It’s Bush’s war!”
And now George Bush has another war in mind.
In his Jan. 11 address, Bush said that to defend the “territorial integrity” of Iraq, the United States must address “Iran and Syria.”
“These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
The city sat bolt upright. If Bush was talking about Iranian agents inside Iraq, he has no need of a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf, nor for those Patriot missiles he is sending to our allies.
But does Bush have the authority to take us to war against Iran?
On ABC last Sunday, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, while denying Bush intends to attack Iran, nonetheless did not deny Bush had the authority to escalate the war – right into Iran.
George Stephanopoulos: “So you don’t believe you have the authority to go into Iran?”
Stephen Hadley: “I didn’t say that. That is another issue. Any time you have questions about crossing international borders, there are legal questions.”
Any doubt how Attorney General Gonzales would come down on those “legal questions”? Any doubt how the Supreme Court would rule?
Biden sputters that should Bush attack Iran, a constitutional crisis would ensue.
I don’t believe it. If tomorrow Bush took out Iran’s nuclear facilities, would a Senate that lacks the courage to cut funds for an unpopular war really impeach him for denying a nuclear capability to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Bush’s lawyers would make the same case Nixon made for the 1970 “incursion” into Cambodia — and even a Nixon-hating Democratic House did not dare to impeach him for that.
Bush’s contempt for Congress is manifest and, frankly, justified.
Asked if Congress could stop him from surging 21,500 troops into Iraq, Bush on 60 Minutes brushed aside Congress as irrelevant.
“I fully understand [the Congress] could try to stop me from doing it. But I’ve made my decision. And we’re going forward.” Asked if he had sole authority “to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do,” Bush replied, “In this situation I do, yeah.”
Is Congress then impotent, if it does not want war on Iran?
Enter Rep. Walter Jones, Republican of North Carolina.
The day after Bush’s threat to Iran, Jones introduced a Joint Resolution, “Concerning the Use of Military Force by the United States Against Iran.” Under HJR 14, “Absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran, upon the United States, its territories, possessions, or its armed forces, the president shall consult with Congress, and receive specific authorization pursuant to law from Congress, prior to initiating any use of force on Iran.”
Jones’ resolution further declares, “No provision of law enacted before the date of the enactment of this joint resolution shall be construed to authorize the use of military force by the United States against Iran.”
If we are going to war on Iran, Jones is saying, we must follow the Constitution and Congress must authorize it.
If Biden, Kerry, Clinton, and Obama refuse to sign on to the Jones resolution, they will be silently conceding that Bush indeed does have the power to start a war on Iran. And America should pay no further attention to the Democrats’ wailing about being misled on the Iraq war.
COPYRIGHT CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
A Man for Our Times — Chuck Hagel
Robert Scheer / Creators Syndicate, Inc.
SAN FRANCISCO ( January 17, 2007) — Chuck Hagel for President! If it ever narrows down to a choice between him and some Democratic hack who hasn’t the guts to fundamentally challenge the president on Iraq, then the conservative Republican from Nebraska will have my vote.
Yes, the war is that important, and the fact that Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York, the leading Democratic candidate, still can’t — or won’t — take a clear stand on the occupation is insulting to the vast majority of voters who have.
Sen. Hagel is a decorated Vietnam War vet who learned the crucial lessons of that Democratic-launched debacle of post-colonial imperialism. Even more important, he has the courage to challenge a president of his own party who so clearly didn’t.
“The speech, given last night (Jan. 10) by this president, represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam,” Hagel said. “We are projecting ourselves further and deeper into a situation that we cannot win militarily.
“To ask our young men and women to sacrifice their lives to be put in the middle of a civil war is wrong. It’s, first of all, in my opinion, morally wrong. It’s tactically, strategically, militarily wrong,” he added.
If Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois, another Democratic darling, has uttered words of such clarifying dissent on the president’s disastrous course, then I haven’t heard them. Instead, too many leading Democratic politicians continue to act as if they fear that if they are forthright in opposing the war, they will appear weak, whether on national security or the protection of Israel, and so ignore the clear, strong voice of the American people that just revived their party’s fortunes.
Ever since President Ronald Reagan painted foreign policy as a simplistic war of good versus evil, the Republican Party has been in the thrall of neocon adventurers. Yet, the national emergence of Hagel reminds us that, two decades earlier, it was Dwight D. Eisenhower, a war hero and a Republican, who was the only president to clearly challenge the simplistic and jingoistic militarism that most Democrats embraced during the Cold War. It was Eisenhower, in fact, who refused to send troops to Vietnam, and his Democratic successors who opened the gates of war.
True conservatives, going back to George Washington, have always been wary of the “foreign entanglements” that our first general and president warned against in his farewell address. And it is in that spirit, recognizing the limits to U.S. military power, that Hagel spoke this past Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, late of an oft-opportunistic Democratic Party that saw fit to nominate him as recently as 2000 for the vice presidency, had just finished accusing those who don’t support Bush’s escalation of the war of being “all about failing.” In his defense of the indefensible, Lieberman baldly repeated many of Bush’s lies that launched this war four years ago.
“The American people … have been attacked on 9/11 by the same enemy that we’re fighting in Iraq today, supported by a rising Islamist radical super-powered government in Iran,” said the fearmonger. “Allowing Iraq to collapse would be a disaster for the Iraqis, for the Middle East, for us, that would embolden the Iranians and al Qaeda, who are our enemies. And they would follow us back here.”
Never mind the ridiculous image of “super-powered” Iran invading the United States, or the fact that foreign jihadists — arriving after the overthrow of anti-fundamentalist strongman Saddam Hussein — make up a tiny fraction of the combatants in Iraq.
The question is how the apparently intelligent Lieberman doesn’t understand that the main task of our troops for most of their stay in Iraq has been, de facto, to expand the power of Shiite theocrats trained for decades in Iran. Tehran couldn’t have baited a better trap.
In any case, Hagel refused to bite on Lieberman’s apocalyptic vision, which somehow manages to skip the hard truth that Iraq has collapsed because of our involvement, not despite it.
“[T]he fact is, the Iraqi people will determine the fate of Iraq,” Hagel responded, in what amounts to a radical opinion in paternalistic, arrogant Washington. “The people of the Middle East will determine their fate. We continue to interject ourselves in a situation that we never have understood, we’ve never comprehended [and] we now have to devise a way to find some political consensus with our allies [and] the regional powers, including Iran and Syria.
“To say that we are going to feed more young men and women into that grinder, put them in the middle of a tribal, sectarian civil war, is not going to fix the problem,” he added.
Words of wisdom that set the standard for anyone running for president.
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