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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Shutting Down the Iran War Before it Starts

It may be too early to stick the 'maverick' label on Virginia Senator Jim Webb. But he sure seems like one. In a two party system, the average politician is a team player in their parties' quests for dominance. This often leaves them serving ideology rather than reason or justice. The maverick does what they believe is right. While there are plenty of them in the house (with 435 seats, that's just the odds), the senate has surprisingly few.

Sooner or later, being a maverick is going to put him at odds with his own party. Let's hope this isn't one of those times.


WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Jim Webb, who has expressed his concern that President Bush may be preparing for war with Iran, urged his congressional colleagues Monday to demand a say in any decision to launch a conflict.

"This administration has shot from the hip too many times for us to be able to trust it," Webb, D-Va., told reporters.

He went to the Senate floor to introduce legislation that would block the president from tapping money appropriated for other military uses to support most action in or against Iran without specific c ongressional approval.

Webb did not announce any co-sponsors but said he hopes for substantial bi partisan backing. Solid Democratic support appears assured; Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada already has endorsed Webb's proposal in general terms.

The Bush administration's dictatorial attitude ignores the unfortunate fact that the executive and the legislative are coequal branches of government. The president does not command congress -- in war or peace.

The romans used to have a way for a leader to declare himself a Unitary Executive, as Bush claims he is. It's where we get the word 'dictator' and, when Caesar invoked it, it spelled the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of Imperial Rome. Democracy and dictatorial power can't coexist. If you need another historical example, take Napoleon.

On the one hand, we're lucky that Bush isn't a Caesar or Napoleon, on the other, we're extremely unlucky that he thinks he is. There's nothing more dangerous than a moron who thinks he's a genius. Bush and his collection of neocons see themselves as 'history's actors,' people who rebuild the world to their liking. But this group of visionaries has as much of a grasp of history as they have sapience.

Bush and company seem intent on war with Iran. They seem to believe that if they take a belligerent enough stance, they can trick Iran into attacking US forces and then retaliate. Luckily for all involved, you and I included, Bush couldn't outsmart a pretzel. Literally. He lost a fair fight with a pretzel. We went into Iraq with help and look how that turned out. If we go into Iran, we'll more than likely go alone.

That ought to work out well.

And, of course, attacking Iran would be exactly the wrong thing to do. Not only does Iran seem to be responding to diplomacy:

Associated Press:

Iran seems to have at least temporarily halted the uranium-enrichment program at the heart of its standoff with the U.N. Security Council, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday.

The pause could represent an attempt to de-escalate Iran’s conflict with the Security Council, which is deliberating a new set of harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

But a study shows that attacking Iran would most likely cause them to accelerate their program:

Oxford Research Group, via Think Progress:

If Iran’s nuclear facilities were severely damaged during an attack, it is possible that Iran could embark on a crash programme to make one nuclear weapon. In the aftermath of a military strike, if Iran devoted maximum effort and resources to building one nuclear bomb, it could achieve this in a relatively short amount of time: some months rather than years. The argument that military strikes would buy time is flawed. It does not take into account the time already available to pursue diplomacy; it inflates the likelihood of military success and underplays the possibility of hardened Iranian determination leading to a crash nuclear programme. Post military attacks, it is possible that Iran would be able to build a nuclear weapon and would then wield one in an environment of incalculably greater hostility.

It is a mistake to believe that Iran can be deterred from attaining a nuclear weapons capability by bombing its facilities, and presumably continuing to do so should Iran then reconstitute its programme.

In other words, if you attack someone, they'll try to arm themselves in a big hurry. Who knew?

Jim Webb is right. The only way to get Bush to embrace diplomacy is to take the keys to the war machine away from him. These people are brutal idiots who think that talking to other countries is pansy-assed. Real men tell nations what to do, then attack them if they don't comply.

Besides, it's looking like war with Iran was the plan all along. It doesn't seem to make any difference to the administration that Phase One of the Grand Plan is a complete disaster, Phase Two will go ahead on schedule. If they don't do it now, Bush will be out of office before the shooting starts and the next president may not be stupid enough to pull the trigger.


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