CONGRESS CALLS FOR VIRTUAL WAR by Paul Encimer, reprinted from Greenfuse (July, 2008 issue)
Mike Thompson and the Blue Dog Democrats bought the Bush Party line again, signing on en masse as cosponsors of a House Resolution demanding that Bush impose “stringent inspection requirements” on trade with Iran. Francis Boyle – professor of International law whose books Nuclear resisters have come to depend on – says that this nonbinding (haha) resolution contains “comprehensive and unequivocal language” that translates into BLOCKADE IRAN.
The most strongly worded section of the legislation is article three, which "demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities.” The resolution makes no mention of the National Intelligence Estimate report released in December 2007, which found that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons development program in 2003.
Texas Republican Ron Paul, a consistent and trustworthy advocate of peace, calls the legislation, H.Con.Res.362, “a virtual war resolution. It is the declaration of tremendous sanctions, and boycotts and embargoes on the Iranians. It is very, very severe. Just read what is involved if this bill passes and what we're telling the President what he must do: it demands that the President impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran, and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials.
“This is unbelievable! This is closing down Iran. Where do we have this authority? Where do we get the moral authority? Where do we get the international legality for this? Where do we get the Constitutional authority for this? This is what we did for ten years before we went into Iraq. We starved children—500,000 individuals it was admitted probably died because of the sanctions on the Iraqis. They were incapable at the time of attacking us. And all the propaganda that was given for our need to go into Iraq was not true.”
The legislation, H.Con.Res.362, which is paralleled by a similar Senate bill, has gained bipartisan support rapidly, with more co-sponsors signing on by the day. It's meant to "pass like a hot knife through butter," a staffer in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office told Chelsea Mozen of the nonprofit Just Foreign Policy.
Mozen cites heavy lobbying as one motivation for the resolution's widespread support. The bill was promoted by the highly influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which, according to Parsi, has been the driving force behind its momentum.
The self-titled America's pro-Israel lobby, AIPAC, has been pushing for increased pressure on Iran to prevent that country's alleged goal of acquiring nuclear weapons. Just days after the bill was originally introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Gary Ackerman (D-New York), AIPAC put out a memo detailing its support for the intentions of the legislation. The memo does not specifically mention the proposed legislation, but contains almost identical language.
Besides AIPAC's strong pull, Mozen pointed to the resolution's references to diplomacy as a draw for some vocal antiwar Democrats. "Some in Congress see such a resolution, in part because it is non-binding, as a way to forestall or prevent more serious action against Iran," Mozen said. "However, with the atmosphere as it is on the Hill, with the election debate hinging in part on the debate about Iran, most folks in favor of diplomacy won't be pro-active for it, I gather because they think this will open them up to criticism. Those in favor of stronger action on Iran are pushing for it now and they have AIPAC pushing too. As a result, the folks that want to wait it out are looking to non-binding resolutions to quiet the need for stronger action and buy them time until January. I suppose it seems like a tug-o-war with only one side tugging and the other thinking about when to tug in the future."
Robert Naiman, Just Foreign Policy's national coordinator, noted that the bill's "non-binding" status is deceptive. The bill does not immediately do anything; it merely expresses a "sense of Congress." In itself, it does not authorize war, he added. "It still has consequences," Naiman said. "The Kyl-Lieberman resolution was a non-binding resolution and it helped lead to the Quds Force being classified as a terrorist organization."
The language regarding inspection requirements and restrictions of movement have led critics of the bill to suggest that, if implemented, this type of international sanction would amount to an embargo and would have to be put into place at gunpoint. Such action would be illegal under international law, unless approved by the UN, according to Ethan Chorin, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies' Middle East Program. UN approval is not mentioned in the bill.
Moreover, the resolution would unquestionably send a hostile message to Iran, according to Chorin. "The Iranians would certainly view this as an act of war, whether or not they acted on it as such," Chorin said. "All of this would confirm the Gulf Arabs' perceptions that the US is playing an increasingly destabilizing role in the region."
Meanwhile Talking Heads of all stripes argue about WHEN Bush-Cheney will bomb Iran. Will it be August? But that’s a wild card that might effect the campaign of McBush adversely. If Obama gets elected many believe that the bombs will fall in January before the Inauguration.
Hardly anyone thinks that Iran will escape the vicious war criminals in Washington. The question on the street is What do we do? With fledgling war criminals like Pelosi and the Democratic leadership, insiders on Waterboarding and illegal FISA spying, one plan is to make it to the Democratic National Convention at the end of August for the Recreate68.org festivities. Once there, the Twin Cities Republican Convention is only a few days away.
One thing is clear, the Party which refused to put Impeachment of Bush-Cheney ON THE TABLE has made one last war crime practically a certainty. We must stop this human, economic and ecological catastrophe before it happens. We can not be forgiven as individuals, as a people or as a nation for not doing all in our power.
(Thanks to Maya Schenwar and Matt Renner of Truthout: http://www.truthout.org/article/congressional-resolution-demands-bush-act-iran?print).
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Mike Thompson is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.