February 15, 2007

Democrats Talking Sense On Iran

Sen. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader:

“Much has been made about President Bush’s recent saber rattling toward Iran,” Mr. Reid said. “This morning, I’d like to be clear: The president does not have the authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking Congressional authorization—a the current use of force resolution for Iraq does not give him such authorization.”

Sen. Jim Webb:

With assignments on the Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, I've spent a great deal of time over the past six weeks in hearings and other forums related to the future of the Middle East. I do believe that the momentum among elected officials is heavily in the direction of the positions that I and others have been taking for several years.

Re: Iran, the first place to look in order to understand the possibilities inherent with this Administration is the "Presidential Signing Statement" that accompanied the 2002 Authorization to use force against Iraq. Those who participate in Daily Kos should get a copy of this signing statement. Its language is very troubling. Basically, the President asserts his authority to use force as Commander in Chief in almost any situation that he deems is a threat to American "interests" around the world.

Because of the vagueness of this language, and because of the many statements by this Administration, I am considering legislation that would clarify the authority of the Congress. The best clarification would be to say, simply, that no past legislation or policy gives the President the authority to conduct unilateral military attacks against Iran, without the consent of Congress.

Sen. Russ Feingold (mp3):

Never has Congress’s role been more important. After this Iraq experience we can see exactly what we have to do and it’s very difficult. We have to balance what is clearly a threat from Iran, a great danger both in terms of their seeking of nuclear weapons as well as whatever they’re doing in Iraq against the question of whether or not we’re being misled. Whether or not this is being exaggerated in any way. And what effective steps can be taken. This is where very careful evaluation and not buying into a rush to war will be as important if not more important than it was with regard to Iraq. I certainly don’t think any option should be taken off the table but on the other hand if anybody really thinks it’s a good idea to invade Iran right now, I disagree with them. I don’t think it would work. I don’t think it makes sense. And the thought that we might do that, I think, it makes it harder for the many opponents of the President of Iran to gain traction.

Sen. Hillary Clinton:

... In dealing with the threats posed by the Iranian regime, which has gained its expanding influence in Iraq and the region as a result of the Administration's policies, President Bush must not be allowed to act without the authority and oversight of Congress. It would be a mistake of historical proportion if the Administration thought that the 2002 resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank check for the use of force against Iran without further Congressional authorization. Nor should the President think that the 2001 resolution authorizing force after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in any way, authorizes force against Iran. If the Administration believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.

I am deeply concerned by the recent statements coming out of the Bush Administration. The Administration has asserted evidence that the Iranian regime's complicity, at the highest levels, for attacks within Iraq. Yet at the same time, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, questions these as assertions, in particular, the capability and intentions of the Iranian government. In this delicate situation, while making disturbing comments, [there are reports that the Administration] is sending a third aircraft carrier to the Gulf. ...

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, House majority leader:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Bush lacks the authority to invade Iran without specific approval from Congress, a fresh challenge to the commander in chief on the eve of a symbolic vote critical of his troop buildup in Iraq.

Pelosi, D-Calif., noted that Bush consistently said he supports a diplomatic resolution to differences with Iran ``and I take him at his word.''

At the same time, she said, ``I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran.'' ...

Rep. Jack Murtha:

... Murtha, who has been among Congress's foremost opponents of Iraq war policy, also said he is considering attaching a provision to a looming war spending bill that would bar U.S. military action against Iran without congressional approval.

"We don't have the capability of sustaining a war in Iran," Murtha, chairman of the House panel that oversees military spending, said in a videotaped online interview. ...

Reality-based politicians, we salute you.

Posted by natasha at February 15, 2007 06:05 PM | Iran | TrackBack(2) | Technorati links |

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