Has Congress given George Bush a green light to attack Iran?
For he is surely behaving as though it is his call alone. And evidence is mounting that we are on a collision course for war.
-- Iran has detained several Iranian-Americans, seemingly in retaliation for our continuing to hold five Iranians in Iraq.
-- The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, says Iran is making progress in the enrichment of uranium and denying it access to Iran's nuclear sites.
-- Bush is calling on Russia and China to toughen sanctions.
-- A flotilla of U.S. warships, including the carriers Stennis and Nimitz, has passed through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf.
-- U.S. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell has told CNN there is "very credible intelligence" Iran is funding Sunni extremists engaged in the roadside bombing of U.S. troops.
-- CBS reports the United States has engaged in the industrial sabotage of Iran's nuclear program by making the equipment Iran acquires on the black market unusable or destructive.
-- ABC reports that Bush has authorized the CIA to mount a "black" operation to destabilize Iran, using "non-lethal" means. The absence of White House outrage over the leak suggests it may have wanted the information out.
-- ABC.com reports U.S. officials are supporting a militant group, Jundallah, in the "tri-border region" of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Jundallah, a Sunni Islamist group seeking independence for Baluchistan, claims to have killed hundreds of Iranians.
While U.S.-Iran discussions have begun, there are reports Vice President Cheney and the neo-con remnant, along with the Israelis, are opposed to talks and believe that the only solution to Iran's nuclear program is military. Whether this is part of a good-cop, bad-cop routine to convince Tehran to suspend enrichment, we do not know.
But this much is sure. If the U.S. government is aiding Islamic militants who are killing Iranians, and Iran is providing roadside bombs to Iraqi militants, Sunni or Shia, to kill Americans, we are in a proxy war. And it could explode into a major war.
So the questions come. Where is the Congress, which alone has the power to take us to war? Why are the Democratic candidates parroting the "all-options-are-on-the-table!" mantra, when as ex-Sen. Mike Gravel noted in the first Democratic debate, this means George W. Bush is authorized to attack Iran.
Why does Congress not enact the resolution Nancy Pelosi pulled down, which declares that nothing in present law authorizes President Bush to launch a pre-emptive strike or preventive war on Iran -- and before launching any such attack, he must get prior approval from both houses of Congress?