As Josh Marshall explains:
Did you hear about the War on Iran Authorization bill the Senate is going to vote on perhaps as early as today? No, that's not how it's getting billed. But that's what the 'Kyl-Lieberman' amendment is. In fact, the supporters of going to war against Iran are using exactly the same strategy with this amendment that they did to lay the groundwork for the Iraq War.
You can watch Josh Marshall break it down on TPMtv here.
As Jonathan Schwarz wrote last week:
Amazingly, no one anywhere in the US media seems to have noticed that yesterday Jon Kyl (Arizona) and Joe Lieberman filed an extremely threatening amendment on Iran to the FY 2008 Defense Authorization bill. I guess all their time was taken up with the earth-shakingly important issue of newspaper ads.
It's a "Sense of the Senate" resolution, which means it has no legal force, but as the Congressional Research Service will tell you, "foreign governments pay close attention to [such resolutions] as evidence of shifts in U.S. foreign policy priorities." If you want you can read it yourself (.doc), but here are the most important paragraphs:(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;
(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.
If something like this passes both the House and Senate, I think Bush could legitimately argue that between it, the War Powers Act and the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations to Use Military Force, he has all the authority he needs to attack Iran.
Exactly, and as we've covered before, Cheney and the neocons have been pushing for it, and some generals have been opposing it. Neocon granddaddy Norman Podhoretz, who claims we're currently in World War IV, has written op-eds calling for the bombing of Iran, and claims he prays for it daily. Yet did you also know he secretly met with Bush for forty-five minutes on the subject?
Meanwhile, Crooks and Liars and Think Progress both have the video of Virginia Senator Jim Webb spelling out what should be obvious:
Those who regret their vote five years ago to authorize military action in Iraq should think hard before supporting this approach...
This proposal is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream. It’s not a prescription for success. At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy. At worst, it could be read as a back door method of gaining congressional validation for action with one hearing or without serious debate.
Jonathan Schwarz has some good updates, including a link to a piece by Carah Ong at Iran Nuclear Watch quoting Peter Galbraith, who debunks the claims of Lieberman-Kyl. (Shocking, I know.)
Let me add the words of James Fallows that I quoted back in February:
War with Iran would be a catastrophe that would make us look back fondly on the minor inconvenience of being bogged down in Iraq. While the Congress flounders about what, exactly, it can do about Iraq, it can do something useful, while it still matters, in making clear that it will authorize no money and provide no endorsement for military action against Iran.
Here's that contact info if you don't have it, courtesy again of Schwarz:
The horrible Kyl-Lieberman Amendment on Iran may be voted on in the Senate as soon as today. Call your senator right now (Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121) to tell them to oppose it.
I don't have any hope this will fail, but it would be nice for it not to be a shut out. Call now.
AND: You should write them, too. Get their contact forms at senate.gov or via Just Foreign Policy. A useful guide on writing to congress is here, although of course there's no time to send something by mail..
I'll be writing tonight.
(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)