"Future historians may conclude that the key issue in the 2008 presidential campaign was not Iraq, but whether the United States should go to war with Iran." Juan Cole begins his article today in Salon.
The Democrats' main candidates have been oohing and aahing, 'nothing is off the table', but the Republicans, Ron Paul always excepted, seem positively panting to get within reach of the White House, to launch the neocon's next preemptive war.... on Iran, especially the front-runner Giuliani. Cole continues:
In an ABC interview on Sunday, Giuliani made fun of Romney for saying during the Dearborn debate that he would seek the advice of counsel before launching a war on Iran. Moderator Chris Matthews had asked, "If you were president of the United States, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities?" Romney had replied that the president "has to do what's in the best interest" of the country "to protect us against a potential threat." He said nothing about needing a congressional declaration of war; indeed, he was clearly suggesting that for him to strike Iran it would suffice to get a legal opinion that such an act did not require a formal declaration of war.
During his Sunday interview, Giuliani attempted to portray Romney's brazen end run around the Constitution as evidence of wimpiness. "That's one of those moments in a debate," he told ABC News, "where you say something and you go like this [wiping his mouth with the back of his hand] ... wish I can get that one back.
"Basically, right out of the box," Giuliani continued, "first thing, you're faced with imminent attack on the United States, I don't think you call in the lawyers first. I think maybe the generals, the ones you call in first, they're the ones you want to talk to."
But Matthews, of course, had not asked Romney what he would do were the U.S. attacked. His question concerned a sudden U.S. strike on Iran's nuclear energy facilities, and whether the president should seek congressional authorization for such an act of war.
During the debate itself, Romney also took heat for not mentioning the need for congressional authorization, although the rebuke came from a lonely voice out of the GOP's isolationist past. "You're not allowed to go to war without a declaration of war," said Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. Paul declared flatly that the Constitution was clear and that Romney's talk about consulting attorneys was "baffling." He also maintained that "the thought that the Iranians could pose an imminent attack on the United States is preposterous." When Giuliani shot back that Sept. 11 had been such an attack, Paul interrupted him. "That was no country," snapped Paul. "That was 19 thugs. It has nothing to do with a country."
Of course, the major worry is that Iran is within a few years of constructing the nuclear bomb, which to the Republicans and the major Democratic candidates is anathema and a frightening scenario.
The fact is the Middle East is not nuclear-free, now. Israel has secretly developed an estimated nuclear arsenal of from one hunded to two hundred nuclear weapons, and as far as I know, is the one nuclear nation that will never allow UN inspection or IAEA safeguards. It is of course completely off the table to discuss this. The US and much of the west, accept that they play to a different rule book.
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