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.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your work here.
May I co-sign?

Jim said...

Please do! And you can send it to your reps who may be different than mine.