If George W. Bush launches a pre-emptive war on Iran, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will bear full moral responsibility for that war.
For it was Pelosi who quietly agreed to strip out of the $100 billion funding bill for Iraq a provision that would have required President Bush to seek congressional approval before launching any new war on Iran.
Pelosi's capitulation came in the Appropriations Committee.
What went down, and why?
"Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy," wrote The Associated Press' David Espo and Matthew Lead.
"Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., said in an interview there is a widespread fear in Israel about Iran, which ... has expressed unremitting hostility to the Jewish state.
"'It would take away perhaps the most important tool the U.S. has when it comes to Iran,' she said of the now-abandoned provision.
"'I don't think it was a very wise idea to take things off the table if you're trying to get people to modify their behavior and normalize in a civilized way,' said Gary Ackerman of New York."
According to John Nichols of The Nation, Pelosi's decision to strip the provision barring Bush from attacking Iran without Congress' approval "sends the worst possible signal to the White House."
"The speaker has erred dangerously and dramatically," writes Nichols. Her "disastrous misstep could haunt her and the Congress for years to come."
Nichols does not exaggerate.
If Bush now launches war on Iran, he can credibly say Congress and the Democrats gave him a green light. For Pelosi, by removing a provision saying Bush does not have the authority, de facto concedes he does have the authority.
Bush and Cheney need now not worry about Congress.
They have been flashed the go sign for war on Iran.
Pelosi & Co. thus aborted a bipartisan effort to ensure that if we do go to war again, we do it the constitutional way, and we do it together.
Nothing in the provision would have prevented Bush, as commander in chief, from responding to an Iranian attack or engaging in hot pursuit of an enemy found in Iraq. Nor would the provision have prevented Bush from threatening Iran. It would simply have required him to come to Congress -- before launching all-out war.
Now Pelosi has, in effect, ceded Bush carte blanche to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. It's all up to him and Cheney.
For this the nation elected a Democratic Congress?
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