Catches Neocons Just Like Flies

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Sen. Jim Webb—a man who knows where to cash his political chits.

A Democratic senator on Monday introduced legislation that in some cases would deny funding for the Bush administration to take military action against Iran without first getting congressional approval.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., has long argued that Iran must be part of a regional solution to end the war in Iraq, and has repeatedly voiced concerns over the fact that the Bush administration deems the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing force in Iraq applicable to Iran.

"This presidency has shot from the hip too many times for us to be able to trust it to act on its own," Webb told reporters Monday. "It's not the way the Constitution was designed. We need Congress to be involved in any decision to commence military activities absent an attack from the other side or a direct threat."

Since Iraq's basically out of Congress's hands (the GOP in the Senate will kill any attempts to cut funding), this is what anti-warriors on the left and right should be focusing on.

NEXT: The Great Do-Over

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  1. You know where else Democrats should prevent funding for military action? The moon.

    It’ll do as much good as Webb’s plan.

  2. The Old Ones of Mars will not permit military action on the Moon.

  3. Considering that by the time any of us learned about the impending Iraq invasion, the folks on the top were already picking out which of Saddams palaces they wanted, we’re probably already too late to stop the Iran invasion. Ditto N. Korea, Somalia, Argentina, Russia, Pakistan and France.

    So we probably need to focus on stopping the invasion of Cameroon now, while we still have a chance.

  4. This is a vote that Obama and Clinton will want to miss (if it ever comes to a vote). Because they can’t afford to piss off either antiwar liberals or the Israel lobby.

  5. “Since Iraq’s basically out of Congress’s hands (the GOP in the Senate will kill any attempts to cut funding), this is what anti-warriors on the left and right should be focusing on.”

    Yes, because the best way to achieve peace is to work through the system that makes large-scale war possible in the first place.

    Geesh. Minarchists, I tell ya…

  6. More symbolic BS. The President would have had to go to Congress anyway before crossing the Iranian border in force.

    At most, what this will do is hamstring efforts to police the border with Iran, thus facilitating Iranian support for our enemies in Iraq.

    Net effect: Neutral to bad.

  7. (the GOP in the Senate will kill any attempts to cut funding)

    When was the last time money was allocated to Iraq?

    “The Congress shall have power to … raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years” Article 1?8

    In theory Congress doesn’t have to actually vote to kill funding. It should expire in at most two years unless Congress actively votes to extend it.

    I wonder how it works in the real world.

  8. Policing the Iraqi side of the border would be completely unaffected by this.

  9. R.C. Dean,

    Symbolism is often the exact opposite of B.S.

    At most, what this will do is hamstring efforts to police the border with Iran, thus facilitating Iranian support for our enemies in Iraq.

    The U.S. had a few years to secure that border.

  10. Wow, I didn’t know the White House asked for funding to invade Iran. If they did, and I missed it, good going Webb!

  11. “At most, what this will do is hamstring efforts to police the border with Iran, thus facilitating Iranian support for our enemies in Iraq.”

    Which may be what some of the pro-surrender Democrats want in the first place.

  12. In a few years when Iran has thermonuclear armed missiles capable of reaching the U.S., I sure Webb will have lots of luck blaming the Bush administration. All this does is give the Iranians the green light to do anything they want. Wars are generally caused by miscalculations. One side thinks it can do something, like invade Kuwait or invade Poland for example and get away with it when in fact they can’t. What this resolution does is encourage the Iranians to miscalculate.

    You can’t say that the U.S. will never go to war with Iran. The U.S. could very possibly go to war with Iran if Iran does something provocative enough. All the resolution does is encourage the Iranians to be more agressive and be more likly to miscalculate and do something that will force the two sides into a war.

    The U.S. should not be pledging never to use force anymore than it should be making threats. If the U.S. makes an explicit threat, then it is forced to back it up or loose credibility. The U.S. should not be saying anything explicit about the use of force. Let the Iranians worry that any aggressive move they make could cause a war. Not everyone is Iranian leadership is insane and wants a war with the U.S.. The U.S. Congress pledging not to use force, just encourages the Iranians to be more agressive and makes the two sides blundering into a war more not less likly.

  13. Wow, looks like the hawks’ confidence in the White House’s ability to make the case for war with Iran is in the toilet.

    How did “get the approval of Congress” become “never go to war with Iran?”

    Psst, hey John: the US can miscalculate and start needless wars, too. Right now, we have a president who’s with a demonstrable track record of doing exactly that.

  14. This, btw, shows why we can’t elect a conservative in 2008; they are chomping at the bit to replicate the Iraq War in Iran, and Lord knows where else.

  15. John,

    Let the Iranians worry that any aggressive move they make could cause a war.

    That’s the point; they don’t have to. Until the U.S. leaves Iraq it can’t project the sort of force needed to make war against Iran.

  16. “Yes, because the best way to achieve peace is to work through the system that makes large-scale war possible in the first place.”

    And by flying in an aircraft you work through the system that makes large scale airline crashes possible in the first place.

  17. “Psst, hey John: the US can miscalculate and start needless wars, too. Right now, we have a president who’s with a demonstrable track record of doing exactly that.”

    Even if that were true Joe, how does encouraging Iran to be more aggressive and miscalculate help the matter? As R.C. points out, George Bush is not going to go to war with Iran without going to both Congress and the Security Council like he did in Iraq. All the resolution does is send the Iranians a signal that we will do nothing about anything they do, which in turn encourages them to miscalculate and start a war. If you haven’t rewritten the history yet, Congress authorized the Iraq war after Saddam threw out the U.N. inspectors. Why Saddam throw out the U.N. inspectors and seal his fate? Because he listened to jackasses like Webb and didn’t think the U.S. would do anything about it. Had he known the U.S. would invade, he would have cooperated and there would never have been an Iraq war. Webb is risking giving the Iranians the same mixed signals.

  18. In a few years when Iran has thermonuclear armed missiles capable of reaching the U.S.

    I’ve never bought into the reasoning that this should concern me.

  19. Anyway, the Iranian government – from a FP perspective – seems to be sitting pretty right now no matter what happens in the Congress.

  20. Great Webster title reference.

  21. “That’s the point; they don’t have to. Until the U.S. leaves Iraq it can’t project the sort of force needed to make war against Iran.”

    The U.S. has an entire Air Force and Navy that are doing nothing. We dont’ have to invade to cause the Iranians lots of pain. Go ask Milosovich.

  22. “The President would have had to go to Congress anyway before crossing the Iranian border in force.”

    Unfortunately, George W. Bush doesn’t understand this sentence. He thinks he can just invade Iran because he is Commander-in-Chief. Haven’t you been listening to the craziness coming from the White House?

  23. John,

    …Congress authorized the Iraq war after Saddam threw out the U.N. inspectors.

    No, Saddam did not throw out the inspectors. As I recall, they were withdrawn because Saddam’s regime wasn’t proving itself to be very pliant.

  24. John,

    Indeed, the inspectors were in Iraq when the war came.

    As to Milo, I’ll note that it was only when the U.S. government started discussing ground troops that his government’s will to go on crumbled.

  25. “This, btw, shows why we can’t elect a conservative in 2008; they are chomping at the bit to replicate the Iraq War in Iran, and Lord knows where else.”

    They? Who? On what basis do you make this claim? Go ahead, name names. Who is “chomping at the bit” to go to war with Iran? Anyone who is actually running for president?

  26. “Unfortunately, George W. Bush doesn’t understand this sentence. He thinks he can just invade Iran because he is Commander-in-Chief. Haven’t you been listening to the craziness coming from the White House?”

    Were you asleep during 2003? Did you miss the Iraq resolution that was passed in Congress? Did you miss the numerous Security Council Resolutions? The George Bush is going to start a war without talking to Congress is just tinfoil hat bullshit.

    “No, Saddam did not throw out the inspectors. As I recall, they were withdrawn because Saddam’s regime wasn’t proving itself to be very pliant.”

    Same thing. The fact is, he didn’t cooperate with the inspections because the French and the Russians were telling him they would never authorize force in the Security Council and he didn’t think the U.S. would invade. We can’t talk to him now, but it is a pretty good bet that if he had known or thought the whole affair would end with him on the end of a rope, he would have cooperated and there never would have been a war. It is a classic case of someone miscalculating and reading weakness in an enemy that wasn’t there.

  27. John,
    Every time I read one of your fucking posts, I feel like I’m one step closer to completely loosing my mind.

  28. John,

    In other words, the air war was not bringing about the desired result.

    Indeed, an air war against Iran would likely strengthen the resolve of the Iranian government and they would probably find increased support from the population. Especially in light of the civilian casualties that would probably come about due to an air campaign.

  29. John,

    No it isn’t the same thing. Get the facts straight, what actually happened, before you start lecturing to anyone about anything.

  30. John,

    “Encouraging Iran to be aggressive and miscalculate” exists only in your head. Did Bush “encourage” Saddam to be aggresseive and miscalculate by getting an authorization from Congress?

    You have this odd tendency to conflate unchecked power with wisdom. Making sure that our military actions actually bear some relationship to what Iran does, rather that coming from the La La Land where Saddam is doing Jaeger shots with bin Laden, the war in Iraq is an insurgent- and civil war-free paradise, and the Iraqi military can launch pilotless death drones that can reach American territory, is very important for our security.

    Haven’t you noticed yet that overreacting to a threat has consequences, too? The President’s judgement can’t be trusted in these matters. He needs a hall monitor. Sad, but true.

    “If you haven’t rewritten the history yet, Congress authorized the Iraq war after Saddam threw out the U.N. inspectors.” Lie. Saddam did not threw out the inspectors. They were withdrawn for their own safety when we announced our intention to turn the are of their operations into a free-fire zone.

  31. Conservative Gay Right Supporter,

    Every pro-Bush commenter on this thread, for one.

  32. Grotius,

    I am not saying start a war with Iran. I am saying the capability is there. As far as it increasing support among the population, they said the same thing about Serbia and it didn’t work that way. Further, if you had a long enough bombing campaign, you could set their nuke program back years. If they don’t have nukes, let them have all the resolve they want, who cares. The point is, let them consider the risk of war. Don’t tell them that you will never go to war against them, that just gaurentees that they will do something agressive, which they may do anyway, but at least try to get them to think about it before they do it. I am arguing to rattle sabres, just the opposite. Don’t say anything.

  33. Great timing Joe, Did you read the, “I am not saying start a war with Iran” or do you just read what you want to hear?

  34. “The George Bush is going to start a war without talking to Congress is just tinfoil hat bullshit.”

    …as demonstrated by the heated opposition to the requiring him to do that.

    Mmm-hmm.

  35. “Every pro-Bush commenter on this thread, for one.”

    OK, quick survey, how many people here are “chomping at the bit to go to war with Iran?”

  36. John,

    As far as it increasing support among the population, they said the same thing about Serbia and it didn’t work that way.

    Actually it did. For the vast majority of the wars in the Balkans Milosevic’s popularity was quite high. Which is why he was elected to three terms in office.

    Indeed, if an air war was able to break the will of a people, why was the will of the British population not broken during WWII? I’ve always been skeptical of the notion that one can win a war exclusively from the air.

  37. “The George Bush is going to start a war without talking to Congress is just tinfoil hat bullshit.”

    …as demonstrated by the heated opposition to the requiring him to do that.

    Mmm-hmm.”

    Do you even read the fucking posts Joe? Do you even try to understand anything beyond your own neurosis? Jesus Christ, it is not that fucking hard of a concept. All Webb is doing is telling the Iranians, don’t worry, we got you covered over here, we will never let the U.S. use force against you. Which is bullshit, if they Iranians were agressive enough even Webb would vote for war. By doing that he is increasing, not decreasing the liklyhood that the Iranians will do something stupid. Everyone, Bush and Webb needs to shut the fuck up and let the Iranians worry about what our intentions are.

  38. In answer to my own survey, I am not. Anyone else?

  39. “Actually it did. For the vast majority of the wars in the Balkans Milosevic’s popularity was quite high. Which is why he was elected to three terms in office.”

    But didn’t they throw him out of office after the Kosovo War? I am skeptical to or air war being able to on its own topple a government, but I do think that a prolonged air campaign is not something Iran wants any part of even if it wouldn’t topple their government.

  40. The military should be cut. Big time. The US spends more than it needs to to defend its borders. Cutting the military would allow a tax cut, especially if the cuts were deep.

    That is what Senator Webb should be letting everybody know. It is a pro-libertarian message.

  41. John,

    The point is, let them consider the risk of war.

    In our current situation they don’t have to. Like I wrote above, they are sitting pretty.

  42. As a matter of fact, Serbian support for the govenrment did increase during the bombing, John. You don’t remember the “Sorry, we didn’t know it was invisible!” signs carried by pro-Milosevic protesters in Belgrade, during the huge rally after they shot down the F-117?

    It was only after Serbia lost that the government fell – a loss that only came about, as Grotius mentioned, when they realized we were getting serious about a ground invasion.

    “Don’t tell them that you will never go to war against them,” Ah, we’re still pretending that requiring Congressional authorizaiton is the same thing as swearing off war. Damn the drafters of the Constitution, telling the whole world that we were never going to fight a war!

    “Did you read the, “I am not saying start a war with Iran” I’ve read everything you’ve written in this thread, and I’ve also written what you’ve written in previous threads, urging military confrontation with Iran.

  43. Ultimately what the war in Iraq has done is strengthen the international hand of Iran. Indeed, the removal of Saddam from power was a boon for them. From a true realpolitik perspective we should have left Saddam in power to counter-balance the Iranians. It is not necessarily a position that I take, but it is one hard to argue with in light of the consequences of this war.

  44. Ah, John’s reached the “I’m losing so I’m going to swear” stage again.

    That was quick.

    And, as usual, his reasoning gets even sharper when this happens: “All Webb is doing is telling the Iranians, don’t worry, we got you covered over here, we will never let the U.S. use force against you. Which is bullshit, if they Iranians were agressive enough even Webb would vote for war.”

    So you see, Webb’s bill to require a Congressional authorization means that we won’t even use the military against Iran, even though 1) everybody knows Webb would vote for military action against Iran if there is a good cause, and 2) Congress has authorized numerous military actions over the past few years.

  45. Grotius,

    Let’s not forget the mullah’s strengthened position in their domestic politics. Before the Iraq War, there were massive protests in the strees of Iran against the governnment. These protests grew so large that the government had to imprison some of its own intelligence agents for killing protesters, out of fear that they would grow into outright rebellion.

    Now, of course, the wonderful Iraq War for Freedome, Democracy, and a Pony has silences those protests, and given the Iranian government a free hand to squash remaining dissent.

  46. but look…the economy is soooooo strong….and the world is a better place without saddam….thousand points of light…

    you all are just so negative about the democratization of Iraq. and and and
    we can kick iran’s ass….yeah…thats it

  47. As R.C. points out, George Bush is not going to go to war with Iran without going to both Congress and the Security Council like he did in Iraq.

    On the contrary, the threat of a Pearl Harbor style attack on Iran is very real.

    Had he known the U.S. would invade, he would have cooperated and there would never have been an Iraq war.

    That is silly government propaganda. They were as cooperative as one could imagine. Iraq was actively disarming at the time of the invasion! At the request of the U.N., they destroyed their Al Samoud missiles – just prior to the war which was justified on the grounds of disarmament. Amazing.

  48. Every time I read one of your fucking posts, I feel like I’m one step closer to completely loosing my mind.

    Free your mind and your ass will follow.
    The kingdom of heaven is within.

  49. “So you see, Webb’s bill to require a Congressional authorization means that we won’t even use the military against Iran, even though 1) everybody knows Webb would vote for military action against Iran if there is a good cause, and 2) Congress has authorized numerous military actions over the past few years.”

    They why have it at all? What is the point? There isn’t any other than to play to the nutroots field. You may think that but that is not what I would think if I were Iran.

    Further, I will never win an agrument with you because you never read or understand what I am saying.

  50. “Now, of course, the wonderful Iraq War for Freedome, Democracy, and a Pony has silences those protests, and given the Iranian government a free hand to squash remaining dissent.”

    Why do they have more of a free hand now than they did before? Are you argueing that the threat of U.S. force prevented them for doing so? What about the Iraq invasion gave them such a free hand?

  51. “The George Bush is going to start a war without talking to Congress is just tinfoil hat bullshit.”

    I don’t pretend to know what’s going on in the President’s prepubescent mind, and I’m not predicting a war with Iran, but Bush thinks he has the power to go after Iran as Commander-In-Chief in order to “protect our troops.” He may not invade Iran because he is politically weak, or because the military options aren’t viable, or because he thinks other options are better. Whatever happens, Bush thinks that he has the power to invade Iran if he wants. My guilty admission: I think he’s right about his power to invade. God I hope that shitball cowboy doesn’t invade Iran.

  52. “My guilty admission: I think he’s right about his power to invade.”

    I don’t see quite how he does. If Iran is providing support to terrorists in Iraq, that is a matter between Iraq’s government and Iran. If it is true, then Iraq is free to defend itself and ask the U.S. to help. Even then though, the President doesn’t have the power to declare war without Congress. Could he bomb them? Reagan and Clinton bombed a lot of people without Congressional authorization, but I don’t see how he could have a sustained campaign against them.

  53. “They why have it at all? What is the point?”

    Because we have a president who is dangerously lacking in wisdom and judgement, and who has made a habit of ignoring the perogatives of Congress and assuming power for himself throughout his term.

    BTW, nothing you write is even remotely difficult to understand. We all have a rat brain, you know.

  54. You can’t say that the U.S. will never go to war with Iran. The U.S. could very possibly go to war with Iran if Iran does something provocative enough.

    What part of “in some cases would deny funding for the Bush administration to take military action against Iran without first getting congressional approval” is difficult for you to understand? Webb doesn’t want Bush to decide to escalate the war by approving strikes on Iran as “part of the war on Iraq” like Johnson and Nixon did in Laos and Cambodia. Read up on the Cambodian Incursion. It happens, usually while people like you are blabbering on about how “it’ll never happen without Congressional approval,” shortly before they change immediately to “you must HATE the troops to be talking like that!” when people complain about the illegal and immoral escalation of the war.

  55. “Why do they have more of a free hand now than they did before?”

    It’s called the “rally around the flag” effect. It’s the same reason our own government got such a free hand to ramp up military and “security” measures after 9/11, and why it became so easy to squash political dissent in our own country.

  56. Outside the ability to repel attacks and quell insurrections when Congress either isn’t in session or can’t act quickly enough to respond, the President’s ability to project force becomes more and more circumsribed. In other words, the longer the time window, the more immediate the threat, etc. the more Congress takes the field.

  57. Er, the less immediate the threat…

  58. “Why do they have more of a free hand now than they did before?”

    Freedom is free of the need to be free.

  59. Because we have a president who is dangerously lacking in wisdom and judgement, and who has made a habit of ignoring the perogatives of Congress and assuming power for himself throughout his term.

    Until recently, I think the current President was acting exactly as his Congress wanted him to act.

    In fact, I am not sure that the new Congress we got in January has yet indicated it wants anything substantially different than what GWB is doing.

    Did I miss some vetoes or something?

    Right now, Congress is the problem.

  60. Suddenly, John has discovered that the words “Commander in Chief” don’t give the president unlimited authority to act in the name of “national defense.” Suddenly, he believes that the approval of Congres is required, and that this requirement is so bloody obvious that it’s foolish for anyone in Congress to think it needs to be reiterated.

    I’ll tell you, the November 2006 elections have done wonderful things for Republicans.

  61. Dave W.,

    To be more exact, right now, the Republican minority in the Senate is the problem.

    They are why the President hasn’t gotten anything to veto.

  62. In other words, if X nation decides to attack us in two hours the President has the constitutional power to repel such an attack. Indeed, it would probably be an impeachable offense if he didn’t something to protect the nation. However, once it becomes something less than this sort of scenario the more the President’s hands are tied and the more the role of the Congress becomes paramount..

  63. “Suddenly, John has discovered that the words “Commander in Chief” don’t give the president unlimited authority to act in the name of “national defense.” Suddenly, he believes that the approval of Congres is required, and that this requirement is so bloody obvious that it’s foolish for anyone in Congress to think it needs to be reiterated.”

    You are such a jerk Joe? There is nothing suddenly about it. The fact that you can’t understand how anyone who disagrees with you could have principled ideas, just makes you a troll.

  64. Considering that by the time any of us learned about the impending Iraq invasion, the folks on the top were already picking out which of Saddams palaces they wanted, we’re probably already too late to stop the Iran invasion. Ditto N. Korea, Somalia, Argentina, Russia, Pakistan and France.

    I’m very disgruntled now.
    Now, I want a way out.
    Now I have to find a way.
    I have to find some way out.

  65. “To be more exact, right now, the Republican minority in the Senate is the problem.

    They are why the President hasn’t gotten anything to veto.”

    Suddenly Joe decides the fillabuster power is a terrible thing. Shocking.

  66. To be more exact, right now, the Republican minority in the Senate is the problem.

    That ain’t the way it looks from the headlines on my GOOGLE news. Instead it looks like the Democrats in Congress are a bunch of wussies just like they were in 2002, and that their opposition to GWB is not substantial.

  67. fillabuster

    Popeye’s?

  68. “You are such a jerk Joe? There is nothing suddenly about it.”

    Really? Looking through your comments on threads about FISA and the detention of “illegal enemy combatants” isn’t going to produce several hundred comments from you asserting the “inherent authority” of the president to act in the national defense?

    I think it would. I think you know that it would. I think you should shut the hell up with your whining before I make an ass out of you.

  69. Dave W.,

    There certainly is a “wussy” problem with the Democrats, but the inability to get anything past the fillibuster is surely playing a role as well.

  70. I think it would. I think you know that it would. I think you should shut the hell up with your whining before I make an ass out of you.

    Oh pleeeeeeease. Make an ass out of him. I’d pay a dollar to see that.

  71. There certainly is a “wussy” problem with the Democrats, but the inability to get anything past the fillibuster is surely playing a role as well.

    Their inability to get what past a filibuster? Sh!t, they should at least have serious legislation on the table before they whine about GOP roadblocks.

  72. Warren,

    I’m going to give hime one last change to withdraw gracefully from the field.

  73. Policing the Iraqi side of the border would be completely unaffected by this.

    joe, you might want to familiarize yourself with the concept of “hot pursuit”, and the operational disabilities imposed by a prohibition on hot pursuit or cross-border covert activities.

    Symbolism is often the exact opposite of B.S.

    And, when it is a substitute for effective action, symbolism is the very essence of BS.

  74. Oh pleeeeeeease. Make an ass out of him. I’d pay a dollar to see that.

    Oh, never mind.

  75. I see that the Reason staff are still making goo-goo eyes at Webb and swooning whenever he sneers at the administration. And I see that Webb still is playing the anti-war left like an accordion.

    It will be interesting to see their reaction when Webb becomes the center-right populist he always has been. Hell hath no fury and all that.

    Me, I’m still waiting for him to fulfill his campaign promise to introduce a bill into Congress for concealed carry in National Parks. Yes, I know, I know, that was an empty campaign promise by an ambitious politician pandering to gun owners, but it was something to look forward to.

  76. John, and even Joe,

    As much as I don’t like to think about it, the Prez can easily “make a case” against Iranian weapons or forces attacking US soldiers, then invade Iran to “protect the soldiers.” I take this as a powerful warning to all voters. Voting for “your guy” because he shares your ideology, and voting against the other more calculated guy because he doesn’t share your view on abortion, leads to irreparable consequences. The check on this power is funding.

    Aren’t we in this war in the first place because Congress didn’t have balls enough to risk looking temporarily unpatriotic? No Democrats wanted to look weak on national defense. Republicans were still in groupthink mode. “Funding the troops” is a similar issue.

    One last note: While I think Bush has the power to fabricate a case against Iran and invade Iran based on that fabricated case, I also believe that Congress has the power to preemptively remove the Prez’s power to invade Iraq. Like John noted, the Prez wouldn’t have the power to engage in a prolonged campaign without Congressional approval. Of course, the Prez can invade, create a quagmire, then argue it would be disastrous to leave the place a mess.

  77. the fillibuster

    –the potential, threatened fillibuster–

  78. RC Dean,

    You might want to familiarize yourself with the subject of the thread, Webb’s bill. To wit: “The bill has a number of exceptions, however. The proposal would allow military action under the following scenarios without prior congressional authorization:

    – When the action is aimed at repelling an attack launched or about to be launched from inside Iran;

    – When military forces are in “hot pursuit” of enemy forces fleeing into Iran; and

    – When the military is supporting intelligence gathering.”

    Click on the links, dude.

  79. and another thing — weird how long it has been since that word came up. No wonder people forgot how to spell it.

  80. Lamar,

    “Aren’t we in this war in the first place because Congress didn’t have balls enough to risk looking temporarily unpatriotic? No Democrats wanted to look weak on national defense. Republicans were still in groupthink mode. “Funding the troops” is a similar issue. ”

    We aren’t one year removed from 9/11. Where we are is in the middle of the Iraq Debacle. But I agree, the capacity of the Republicans to demogogue issues of war is nearly unlimited. That is why I think it’s a good idea to tie the idiot’s hands now, and why I’m willing to put up with the slow, steady strategy of the Congressional Democrats. I’d rather win the fight over the war in six months than lose it next week, even though I’m as impatient as anyone to see this debacle brought to an end.

  81. R.C. Dean,

    And, when it is a substitute for effective action, symbolism is the very essence of BS.

    That “effective action” re: Iran being?

  82. Actually, the impatient ones are the ones who moved to Canada in 2003 in protest. It is freeking cold up here and chunks of ice are falling on the freeway, making traffic a nightmare on the surface streets. You and Nancy Pelosi and John Kerry are far, far, far too patient.

  83. ummm….there’s a subject to these threads? It aint just a dumbass like me sniping at others?
    Is this sposed ta be civil discourse?

  84. John,

    I know a lot of blue suits who would take issue with your assesment that their service is sitting around and “doing nothing” right now.

    Stuff it, cowboy.

    V

  85. “Really? Looking through your comments on threads about FISA and the detention of “illegal enemy combatants” isn’t going to produce several hundred comments from you asserting the “inherent authority” of the president to act in the national defense?

    I think it would. I think you know that it would. I think you should shut the hell up with your whining before I make an ass out of you.”

    Joe you are dumber than a bag full of hammers sometimes. Whatever authority the President has to get wiretaps and enemy combatants and the like comes from the Congressional Authorization to wage war on Al Quada. Waste all of the time you want and you won’t find one case where I said he had authority that didn’t arise from the authorization to use force against Al Quada. That is a completely different issue than the authority to make war against a different party, Iran.

    Again, why can’t you read what I am saying and understand it? Are you just that dumb or just that pig headed? You not making an ass out of anyone but yourself.

  86. Lamar,

    There is a pretty undenable case that the Iranians are funding Iraqi terrorists. Iraq has a basis to go to war agaisnt Iran right now, no U.N. Security authorization needed.

    The issue is since Iran is funding the indescriminate killing of Iraqi civilians, what should we do about it? Perhaps the best thing is to ignore it and just arrest and kill the Iranians in the country. I would tend to think that is the better rout. I don’t think Iran can single handedly topple the Iraqi government. I don’t really see what invading Iran gets us in Iraq. There maybe good reasons to go to war with Iran, nukes, a insane leadership, surrport of terrorism world wide, but I don’t think their funind of terrorism in Iraq alone is one of them.

  87. Fuck You, John, and thanks.

    I’ll see you this evening.

    BTW, writing “you sure are dum” before and after a dumb comment doesn’t help you.

  88. “Fuck You, John, and thanks.

    I’ll see you this evening.

    BTW, writing “you sure are dum” before and after a dumb comment doesn’t help you”

    Joe I will take that as I guess you were right. Whatelse is there to make of it?

  89. Ah, John’s backed off his assertion that Iran is supplying insurgents attacking our troops.

    Seriously, it would better for my mental hygeine if you could ever be right about anything – watching everthing you assert collapse two weeks to two months later breeds an unhealthy hurbris is those of us who call your bullshit on day 1.

  90. Whatever authority the President has to get wiretaps and enemy combatants and the like comes from the Congressional Authorization to wage war on Al Quada.

    When did that happen? And how, being that Al Qaeda isn’t a foreign power, so a declaration of war would be impossible. Or are you just interpreting the resolutions against the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan to mean something that they don’t again?

  91. Anyway, barring some dramatic change in circumstances it is highly unlikely that we’ll be doing anything against Iran (of a military nature) in the forseeable future.

  92. Wars are generally caused by miscalculations.

    Everyone, Bush and Webb needs to shut the fuck up and let the Iranians worry about what our intentions are.

    I know I’m already late to this, um, discussion, but I fail to understand how to reconcile these two particular claims.

    You may all squabble endlessly over these things, but it is settled, albeit sometimes apparently contradictory, constitutional doctrine that only Congress has the power to declare war and that the President as Commander in Chief has the inherent and necessary authority to use military force when exigent circumstances demand it. Everything else is quibbling over the details.

    I’d say keeping Iran or any other nation guessing about “our intentions” is generally bad foreign policy. On the other hand, it is far from clear to me what, exactly, “our intentions” are. With respect to what? And doesn’t Congress get a significant role in determining those intentions? (Hint: the correct answer is yes.)

    I see nothing in the Webb proposal that would unduly tie this or any other president’s hands in the case of an actual imminent emergency; indeed, constitutionally, it couldn’t, nor could that possibly be even a Democratic Congress’s intent. Warning today about Iranian ICBMs “several years from now” is beside the point of whether Congress can or should proscribe the extent of its original authorization regarding Iraq. So I guess I’ll just ask the question:

    John, what do you think is the proper role for Congress to take regarding Iran?

  93. Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.

  94. Suddenly, John has discovered that the words “Commander in Chief” don’t give the president unlimited authority to act in the name of “national defense.

    Well, I discovered that this life that was gettin’ to me is not really mine.

  95. High#:

    you’ve been to paradise, but you’ve never been to you?

  96. Moose,

    Give it up and give it to me, baby!

  97. Click on the links, dude.

    More fun to just spout off.

    That “effective action” re: Iran being?

    It depends. What are your goals re: Iran?

    Personally, I would like to see them stop supporting the folks killing our friends and allies, and troops, in Iraq. With regard to that goal, this piece of posturing strikes me as, well, neutral to not helpful.

  98. “More fun to just spout off.”

    Fair is fair, I resemble that remark.

    But don’t you suspect that their efforts to “kill our friends and allies” (Baathist insurgents? their supporters? al Qaeda jihadists? Sunni militias at war with the Maliki government?) in Iraq might have something to do with wanting to tie our military down, so it won’t be available for…other projects?

  99. “John, what do you think is the proper role for Congress to take regarding Iran?”

    Frankly they have no role unless and until the President asks to go to war or for money for something. The idea that politcs ends at the waterline is a pretty good one. The should let the President run foreighn policy within in the confines of the Constitution and not undercut him. If they think he is doing something illegal or they are really angry about it, then impeach him. Otherwise, the President needs to get the benifit of the doubt until he decides to do something explicitly within the Congress’ purview like spend money or declare war. If Webb wants to be Secretary of State, try winning a Presidential election sometime and when he does some jackass Republican has no business passing meaningless resolutions either.

    “I know I’m already late to this, um, discussion, but I fail to understand how to reconcile these two particular claims”

    It is real simple, if you are clear and say, you do this and we will do that, then you paint yourself into a corner. Do we really want to tell Iran that if they don’t stop supporting terrorism in Iraq by a set date we will use force? I dont’ think so unless we really intend to do it. The better option is to be ambiguous and try to get them to back down because they are afraid of what we might do. Yes, they still might do it anyway, but if they do and we haven’t issued threats, we at least haven’t painted ourselves into a corner.

  100. “Home Sweet Home… I’m on my way… Home Sweet Home”

  101. I can turn
    And walk away
    Or I can fire the gun
    Staring at the sky
    Staring at the sun
    Whichever I chose
    It amounts to the same
    Absolutely nothing

  102. Naughty, Hr. Crane! Naughty.

    But without a worthless libural artz edukashun, how could we know that they’ve put the climactic scene from “L’Etranger” into punk rock?

  103. lol VM!

    it’s the worthless librul-arts education that makes people listen to pansy-music like The Cure in the first place!

    ITT Tech grads listen to real-man music. like Winger. or the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

    ain’t that tuff enuff?

  104. “the words ‘Commander in Chief’ don’t give the president unlimited authority to act in the name of national defense.”

    And the words of the copyright clause don’t give Congress the power to continuously extend copyright terms, and yet they do it and the Supreme Court OKs it.

  105. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on in the President’s prepubescent mind, and I’m not predicting a war with Iran, but Bush thinks he has the power to go after Iran as Commander-In-Chief in order to “protect our troops.”

    That, after all, was how Nixon justified the invasion of Cambodia in 1970.

  106. The idea that politcs ends at the waterline is a pretty good one.

    Whatever that means, the idea that policy ends at the waterline is a very bad one.

    Of course, it is true that one should never brandish a weapon one isn’t willing to use, and the same holds true for foreign policy. But that doesn’t reconcile your two statements. Wars are indeed often started by miscalculations, and so the less reliable information one state has about the intentions of its adversaries, the more likely such miscalculations are to occur.

    Now, you can disagree that the “Bush administration deems the 2002 congressional resolution authorizing force in Iraq applicable to Iran” (a hard argument to make, I would think) and disagree with Webb that “Congress [should] be involved in any decision to commence military activities absent an attack from the other side or a direct threat” (a constitutionally dubious disagreement at best); but implicit in your own response is the (correct) observation that the Executive branch can only spend federal funds that have been authorized and appropriated by Congress. So, is it your legal opinion that, aside from the attack or direct threat scenarios, Congress cannot as a constitutional matter restrict any interpretation of the Iraq resolution that would authorize the use of appropriated funds for military operations in Iran?

  107. Here come Dick, he’s wearing a skirt
    Here comes Jane, y’know she’s sporting a chain
    Same hair, revolution
    Same build, evolution
    Tomorrow who’s gonna fuss?

  108. “Killing an Arab” is the very favorite song of the Gates of Vienna blog dude. He doesn’t get ambiguity and doesn’t read much Camus.

  109. “Congress cannot as a constitutional matter restrict any interpretation of the Iraq resolution that would authorize the use of appropriated funds for military operations in Iran?”

    It is not that they can’t, it is that they shouldn’t. They can pass any resolution they want.

  110. *mano cornuta*

    Woooooo! Winger!

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