Let Dick Cheney rattle his saber on Iran. Harry Reid has just drawn his own saber and a line in the sand regarding a potential military intervention against Iran:
Much has been made about President Bush’s recent saber rattling toward Iran. 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- -the current use of force resolution for Iraq does not give him such authorization.
Let there be no doubt, the Iranian regime poses one of the great threats of the new century, but the Iranian people – 2/3rds of which are under the age of 30 – – present a great opportunity for progress. Regrettably, this Administration has no strategy for connecting with this generation of potential reformers.
We’ve been waiting six years for this. For a true voice of legislative opposition to the adventurist military strategy propounded by the Bush Administration. The loyal Opposition didn’t oppose. It merely acquiesced. Now, I hope the tables have turned. This is Harry Reid’s shot across Bush’s bow. His “we won’t go there” statement.
Knowing well the truculence of this president and his obliviousness to checks on executive power, the Bushites will see Reid’s statement as an obstacle to go around or run over rather than as a firm Stop sign. That’s unfortunate. But at least Reid has stopped pussy footing around and laid his cards on the table. From here on, if Bush wishes to pursue a war strategy he will do so with full knowledge that a Congressional majority in both Houses will oppose him.
Of course, given the milquetoast nature of past opposition to Bush policy, we’d be right to question how strong such Democratic opposition will remain, especially if put to the test by a bellicose war policy on Bush’s part. But whatever the future holds, Bush will not have a cakewalk or carte blanche to bomb Iran back to the Stone Age as he has had, for all practical purposes, in Iraq.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, new chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee shares Reid’s doubts about the soundness of U.S. policy toward Iran:
“I don’t think that policy makers in this administration particularly understand Iran,” he said.
The comments of Mr. Rockefeller reflect the mounting concerns being voiced by other influential Democrats, including the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, about the Bush administration’s approach to Iran. The Democrats have warned that the administration is moving toward a confrontation with Iran when the United States has neither the military resources nor the support among American allies and members of Congress to carry out such a move.
Because Mr. Rockefeller is one of a handful of lawmakers with access to the most classified intelligence about the threat from Iran, his views carry particular weight. He has also historically been more tempered in his criticism of the White House on national security issues than some of his Democratic colleagues.
Mr. Rockefeller was biting in his criticism of how President Bush has dealt with the threat of Islamic radicalism since the Sept. 11 attacks, saying he believed that the campaign against international terrorism was “still a mystery” to the president.
“I don’t think he understands the world,” Mr. Rockefeller said. “I don’t think he’s particularly curious about the world. I don’t think he reads like he says he does.”
Hat tip to The Caucus.