I’ve written two posts over the past couple days suggesting that President Bush intends to lead us into a broader war with Syria and Iran… you know, the kind of posts my righty trolls like to see because they think it makes me look like a paranoid, crack-smoking nutcase. Well apparently, I’m not the only one smoking crack these days.
Yesterday, when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) — a presidential candidate — specifically asked her if “the president has plans to cross the Syrian and/or Iranian border.”
Sec. Rice couldn’t say no: “Obviously, the president isn’t going to rule anything out.”
This exchange prompted a comment from Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a conservative Republican who also is purported to have presidential aspirations. You know how it usually goes — a Democrat grills a representative of the Bush administration, prompting a Republican to come to his or her defense with prepared comments and questions.
But these aren’t usual times:
SEN. HAGEL: When you were engaging Chairman Biden on this issue, on the specific question — will our troops go into Iran or Syria in pursuit, based on what the president said last night — you cannot sit here today — not because you’re dishonest or you don’t understand, but no one in our government can sit here today and tell Americans that we won’t engage the Iranians and the Syrians cross-border.
Some of us remember 1970, Madame Secretary, and that was Cambodia, and when our government lied to the American people and said we didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia. In fact we did. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee.
So, Madame Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it’s very, very dangerous. Matter of fact, I have to say, Madame Secretary, that I think this speech given last night by this president represents the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in this country since Vietnam. If it’s carried out, I will resist it.
I guess Sen. Hagel is smoking crack too. Or perhaps he’s just put partisanship aside because he cares more about his country than his party?
I can’t prove that the Bush administration is insane — that it is in fact being guided by a kind of group psychosis — but then, I cannot find any evidence to the contrary. If the President directs air strikes or troop movements across the Syrian and/or Iranian borders, our military commanders will follow the orders of their Commander in Chief, with or without Congressional authorization. Short of preemptive impeachment, there is absolutely nothing the Democratic controlled Congress can do to prevent the president from following this disastrous path, regardless of the illegality of such an escalation.
If the President intends to choose this path, only the Republicans can save our nation from a catastrophe of historic proportions. Only a Republican Party unified in opposition to their President can persuade him that the political risks are as real as the military ones.
If you are a Republican, and you oppose escalating this war into a broader regional conflict, it is incumbent upon you to contact your party leaders and elected officials at all levels of state, local and federal government, and plead with them to publicly oppose any policy that would lead to war with Syria and Iran. Follow Sen. Hagel’s lead, and let your party know that if this policy is pursued, you will resist it.
At the height of the Watergate scandal our nation stood on the edge of a constitutional crisis. It was only when President Nixon became convinced that he had lost the support of his own party — that the threat of impeachment was real — that he finally backed down and resigned. President Bush needs to understand that he cannot legally expand this war without Congressional authorization, and that if he does, the political consequences will be brutal, swift and bipartisan.