Sunday, September 23, 2007

Iran War: Casus Belli Mapped

Cheney has spelled out the casus belli: Isreal will attack one of Iran's nuclear facilities. Iran will retaliate against Isreal, and the United States will "have no choice but to defend itself."[1] Iran, on the other hand, thinks it's not such a good idea: "They will regret it, as they are regretting it in Iraq." [2]

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A glimmer of hope for Iran

It's still to early to tell if Bush is as mad as Hitler, but at least some people think diplomacy might prevail.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dear Congress: We must not invade Iran; Impeach now.

Dear Congress:

I have written you several times on various topics. This is my most important message by far. War against Iran is unconscionable and must be avoided. While some of the ideas I present here may be different from your thinking, I urge you to give them very serious consideration because the consequences of taking the wrong path are dire. I have included references with further reading on each point to assist you in your careful consideration.

The military is readying for war against Iran.[1] “All the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.”[2] Six nuclear missiles moved from North Dakota to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana last week.[3] “Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations.”[4] I suspect the mistake was not the movement of missiles but in our hearing of it.

War against Iran is fraught with negative aspects that far outweigh any perceived gains.[5] Perhaps engaging in such a war would delay Iranian nuclear capabilities, and that would be a desirable goal, but at what cost? Iran has allies in Russia[6] and China[7], both nuclear powers. Europe has not been a strong supporter of our invasion of Iraq and would likely be even less supportive of our invasion of Iran, even if the attack were limited to strategic dismantling of their nuclear capabilities. In fact, considered from the point of view of an uninvolved country, the United States invading yet another sovereign country would look like the expansion of the German empire at the onset of World War II.[8] Furthermore, there are not enough troops to support additional military action, beyond today’s commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan.[9] The attacks would fuel the fire of hatred against the United States for extending its military might to the Middle East resulting in increased terrorism.[10] Nations which disapproved of the U.S. invasion of Iraq would rightly have a stronger reaction against an unauthorized attack on Iran. Invading Iran now would invite a draft to defend our homeland against attacks from terrorists and civilized nations alike.[11]

The Executive Branch has demonstrated a propensity to stretch its authority beyond that granted by Congress and the Constitution.[12] This President has used more signing statements than all previous Presidents combined. He has used them as a line-item veto that cannot be overridden.[13] He has taken the concept of unitary executive to a new level.[14] He has imprisoned innocent people at Guantánamo Bay with no opportunity to contest their detention.[15] He has ordered the torture of prisoners.[16] He has instituted programs to spy on citizens without authorization[17]. He has declared that he has the authority to open anyone’s mail.[18] Through these actions, Bush has violated laws that were enacted specifically to prevent these sorts of abuses of executive authority.

Guns and bombs cannot rid the world of the evil scourge of terrorism.[19] The exercise of military might will promote terrorism, anger targets, deliberate or accidental, and even disable some terrorists, but, “For every terrorist killed, two more are created to take his place. The terror never goes away until the political conditions that create it go away.”[20] I support a “war on terror,” but it must not be waged with bombs, guns, and missiles, but rather by allowing the rule of law to run its course, thereby demonstrating that the system actually works - to the benefit of all those who are frustrated because of their unfortunate situations.

The war on terror is not justification for expanding executive authority beyond the will of the Congress and the people.[21] The threat is real, but it is small. “As political scientist John Mueller notes, in most years allergic reactions to peanuts, deer in the road and lightning have all killed about the same number of Americans as terrorism. In 2001, their banner year, terrorists killed one twelfth as many Americans as the flu and one fifteenth the number killed by car accidents.”[22] For this we should give up our liberties? Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”[23]

Something will happen to agitate the relationship, and that will be used as a pretense for going to war.[24] For Vietnam, it was the Gulf of Tonkin incident. For World War I, it was the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand. For the 2003 invasion of Iraq, it was Saddam Hussein’s resistance to IAEA inspections. Bush may seize on any casus belli, and when he does, we must remember the consequences of our actions and choose restraint rather than race into a quagmire much worse than what we have seen in Iraq.

Congressional authority for the use of military force against Iran should not be obtainable. As your voting constituent, I urge you to oppose any such measure. As a member of Congress, it is your responsibility to consider the measure and act appropriately. Perhaps if Iran were to sustain an attack against the United States on U.S. soil, it could be worthwhile taking the battle to their country. With any less provocation, an attack will be much more like United States imperial expansion[25] and will likely destabilize the region, if not the world, further.

Our executives may stretch their authority to engaging Iran in a conflict based on that casus belli without Congressional authority. The Executive Branch has demonstrated disregard for the will of Congress and may do so again by ordering a strike against Iran even without authorization from Congress. They may hold up some obscure authorization or Article II of the Constitution, which, when read backwards through red glasses seems to say the President has a power never before exercised, and the document, through their distorted view, authorizes the action.

The President and Vice President must be impeached immediately – before the President orders an attack against Iran.[26] The consequences of an attack on Iran are dire. The consequences of another President who exercises so much unchecked authority are dire.[27] The consequences of failure to impeach may be so severe as the end of our Constitutional democracy, be that at the hands of our adversaries or by our own hands for failure to observe our liberties slipping through our fingers.

As your constituent, I urge you to defend our country. Defend the liberties we fought to achieve. Defend the Constitution our soldiers have died to protect. Defend the freedoms we hold dear. Defend us from a President who would shred the Constitution[28] and lead us into a magnificent death spiral.


James E. Scarborough

[1] Rosen, James. “U.S. Officials Begin Crafting Iran Bombing Plan.” Fox News, September 12, 2007.,2933,296450,00.html

[2] “We Are Going To Hit Iran...Bigtime.” September 2, 2007.

[3] Jelinek, Pauline. “Nuclear Bombs Mistakenly Flown Over US.” Associated Press, September 5, 2007

[4] Johnson, Larry. “Staging Nuke for Iran?” September 5, 2007.

[5] Salama, Sammy and Karen Ruster. “A Preemptive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities: Possible Consequences.” Monterey Institute of International Studies, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, September 9, 2004.

[6] Beehner, Lionel. “Russia-Iran Arms Trade.” Council on Foreign Relations, November 1, 2006.

[7] Deen, Thalif. “How to Curb China's Arms Trade.” Asia Times Online, June 14, 2006.

[8] Jayne, Edward. “31 Similarities Between Hitler and President Bush.” Dissident Voice, August 29, 2004.

[9] Associated Press. “Study: Army stretched to breaking point.” USA Today, January 24, 2006.

[10] Priest, Dana. “Attacking Iran May Trigger Terrorism: U.S. Experts Wary of Military Action Over Nuclear Program.” Washington Post, April 2, 2006.

[11] Harkin, Tom. “LETTER: Bush has no choice but to reinstate draft” Iowa State Daily, October 26, 2004.

[12] Van Bergen, Jennifer. “The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State?” FindLaw, January 9, 2006.

[13] Feinstein, Dianne. Address to the Queen’s Bench Bar Association, May 30, 2006.

[14] Mayer, Jane. “The Hidden Power: The legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror.” New Yorker, July 3, 2006.

[15] “Innocent, but in limbo at Guantánamo.” Christian Science Monitor, February 13, 2006.

[16]Guantanamo Tactics 'Tantamount to Torture' -NY Times” Reuters, November 30, 2004.

[17] Risen, James and Eric Lichtblau. “Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts.” New York Times, December 16, 2005

[18] Baram, Marcus, et al. “Bush: Government Can Open Your Mail.” ABC News, January 4, 2007.

[19] Chomsky, Noam. “Distorted Morality: America's War on Terror?” Harvard University, February 6, 2002.

[20] Rockwell, Lew, quoted in Gorka Erostarbe. “Lew Rockwell Interviewed for the Basque Daily, Euskaldunon Egunkaria Lew Rockwell, October 24, 2001.

[21] Eland, Ivan. “An Imperial Presidency Based on Constitutional Quicksand.” The Independent Institute, January 9, 2006.

[22] Friedman, Ben. “The War on Hype: Risk to U.S. of Withering Terrorist Hit is Overblown.” San Francisco Chronicle, February 19, 2006.

[23] Franklin, Benjamin. Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, November 11, 1755.—The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, vol. 6, p. 242 (1963).

[24] Atcheson, John. “Casus Belli, Anyone?: Prediction: This nation will go to war with Iran, and it will do so with the full consent of Congress.”

[25] Grichar, Jim. “The Axis of Deceit – Still Pushing for U.S. Imperial Expansion!” Lew Rockwell, May 23, 2003.

[26] Roberts, Paul Craig. “Impeach Now Or Face the End of Constitutional Democracy.” Counterpunch, July 16, 2007

[27] Holtzman, Elizabeth. “The Impeachment of George W. Bush” The Nation, January 11, 2006.

[28] Thompson, Doug. “Bush on the Constitution: ‘It’s just a goddamned piece of paper’” Capitol Hill Blue, December 5, 2005.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

"We Are Going To Hit Iran... Bigtime"

I have a friend who is an LSO on a carrier attack group that is planning and staging a strike group deployment into the Gulf of Hormuz. (LSO: Landing Signal Officer- she directs carrier aircraft while landing) She told me we are going to attack Iran. She said that all the Air Operation Planning and Asset Tasking are finished. That means that all the targets have been chosen, prioritized, and tasked to specific aircraft, bases, carriers, missile cruisers and so forth.

I asked her why she is telling me this.

Read on...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

War with Iran Imminent

It looks like war with Iran is imminent. Faux News reports that the Bush administration is just about fed up with Iran and officials are gathering bombing strategies[1]. This is supposedly because Iran with nuclear ambitions poses a threat to the United States, but I'd say the United States poses a much greater threat to Iran. [Heck, if I were running Iran, I would bend over backward to make it clear I wasn't developing nuclear bombs... ] Too bad this threat posed by Iran has been brought on by the U.S. invasion of Iraq destabilizing the region and removing a valuable counterweight to Iran's extremism[2]. Since Russia and Iran seem to cooperate on arms regularly [3], what would you say if Iran decides to buy one of the new Russian bombs [4] and with it bring the war to the States?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

War with Iran

Fox News has been beating the Iran War Drums for some time now. Yesterday, a B-52 flew from Minot, North Dakota to Barksdale, Louisiana - with six nuclear missiles on board, supposedly a "mistake." How do you make a mistake with nuclear warheads? Um... these things are under pretty tight security. I think the "mistake" was that we heard about it. But why would they go to Barksdale, Louisiana? An ex-CIA agent blogs: "Barksdale Air Force Base is being used as a jumping off point for Middle East operations." There is no need for them in Iraq. It must be to attack Iran. So our illustrious Commander in Chief will drag us into yet another war we cannot win and let the nuclear genie out of the bottle while other countries have The Bomb?

Let's follow the logic here: The war in Iraq is failing, and Congress is getting skittish about funding it. Petraeus is scheduled to make his report, and a number of the benchmarks for success of the troop surge have not been met. Things aren't looking good for the Bush/Pentagon/Haliburton administration. How to fix that? Let's see how they've handled disappointment in the past:

"Instead of reaching out to Congress and the courts for support, which would have strengthened its legal hand, the administration asserted what [former head of Justice Department Office of Legal Council Jack] Goldsmith considers an unnecessarily broad, “go-it-alone” view of executive power," reports Jeffrey Rosen in New York Times magazine. (It's an excellent article.) What would happen if they dream up a threat (ala Gulf of Tonkin) in Iran and respond in "self defense?" Instant quagmire, and years more funding for the military-industrial complex.

What would stop this from happening? Bush is a lame duck now. He doesn't need to be re-elected. There has even been talk that impeachment proceedings would carry on to the end of his term if they were undertaken. He's afraid of Iran, sees a threat, and wants to take preemptive action against it. He sees that it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission.

Of course, I'm not the first with the notion of an imminent attack on Iran. The Raw Story outlines preparations for a massive attack on the country.