- Congress is making it easier to go to war with Iran: Guest opinion!
by Rebecca Griffin and Kelly Campbell, http://www.oregonlive.com/
Last week marked one decade since the invasion of Iraq, a time for sober reflection. Do we understand the folly of wars of choice, or could we make the same mistake? A bill moving in the Senate that makes war with Iran more likely reveals that Congress may not have learned the lessons of Iraq.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who voted against war in Iraq, has joined 76 senators in co-sponsoring a bill that would put the Senate on record urging military, diplomatic and economic support if Israel were to decide to attack Iran. (As of this writing, Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., has not co-sponsored the bill.) This bill is the most egregious in a string of congressional actions that could form the building blocks for a war that could make Iraq look like a walk in the park.
History teaches us that the run-up to war is often not one dramatic event, but a slow burn that suddenly turns into a blazing fire. History is now repeating itself on Capitol Hill.
Congress has already quietly lowered the threshold for war with Iran. Last year, the House and Senate voted to move the red line for military action to Iran’s achieving an ill-defined nuclear capability as opposed to the administration’s stated line of an actual weapon. That bill did not define “nuclear capability,” vague terminology that could apply to any number of countries with nuclear energy programs.
The bill before the Senate this year endorses a potential future military attack, an unusual step for Congress. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a lead sponsor of the bill with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., made chilling comments about the legislation to Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post: On his Iran resolutions, Graham favors a step-by-step approach. You have to build a case, he explained: First, you rule out containment, then pledge support to Israel, and if that doesn’t work, tell President Obama: Mr. President, here’s authorization.
Some supporters argue that the nonbinding nature of the language should assuage any concern. Would their outlook be so sanguine if the government of Iran pledged support for an attack on the United States? A statement from the Senate has power, and senators know it.
Congress’ escalating steps create a troubling pattern. Military leaders have been clear that an attack on Iran would be a disaster. Escalating confrontation is the likely result, along with a compelling motivation for the Iranian regime to develop a nuclear weapon — a decision U.S. intelligence argues Iran has yet to make.
“Iran doesn’t frighten me and I don’t think it should frighten the American people. They don’t have a bomb. They haven’t made a decision to build one. They don’t have the means to deliver one. And the Israelis have 300 atomic bombs! I mean who presents the existential threat to whom?” – Pat Buchanan (7:58 onwards)