But whatever motive he has, Bush is putting in place forces to enable him to order an all-out attack on Iran's navy, air force, and anti-aircraft, anti-ship and land-based missiles -- and all its known nuclear facilities.
Now, as there is no indication Iran is preparing any attack on U.S. forces or facilities, or the homeland, such a U.S. attack would be the first strike in a preventive war -- like the ones Japan executed at Port Arthur in 1904 and Pearl Harbor in 1941. Only Bush could claim Iran had been repeatedly warned of what he would do.
So, we return to the question: Does Bush have the authority to do this? If so, where did he get it, as Congress alone is empowered in the Constitution to declare war?
Discussing preventive war on Iran on "Hardball," Sen. Jim Webb said he is considering introducing a resolution declaring that Bush has no authority in present law to launch a war on Iran.
Such a resolution, HJR 14, has already been introduced in the House by Rep. Walter Jones, Republican of North Carolina, and now has the backing of 28 members. In an anguished plea to President Bush, Ron Paul, Republican of Texas, implored: "Don't do it, Mr. President. Don't bomb Iran. ... We don't need it. We don't want it."
Paul went on to declare that, today, Bush has no authority -- in the Constitution, in the law or in morality -- to launch a pre-emptive war on another nation that has not attacked us.
So, will the neocons get their way and their new war -- on Iran?
Or will Congress follow the guidance of Jefferson: "In questions of powers, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
Those member of Congress today apologizing for having voted Bush a blank check for war on Iraq might better tell Bush, by joint resolution, that he has no blank check for a war on Iran.
Or is this Congress, too, terrified of crossing the War Party?