Congressional Hearings on Iran Lethal Support Claims?
Jim Henley argues Congress should investigate executive claims that Iran is providing advanced weaponry to our enemies in Iraq and, if true, go to the UN and demand action.
I would point out that we’ve had more luck in recent years getting France to take decisive action. The UN is useful for a lot of things but collective security has never been one of them.
Leaving that aside, though, I’m generally on board with this thesis:
[A] unilateral executive decision to attack Iran on the basis of unaudited claims merits nothing but opposition. So does a Congressional decision to shirk its responsibilities under the constitution by taking the word of another branch of government, especially in light of the sad history of the last five years.
I would demur slightly and change “nothing but opposition” to “scrutiny.” The Constitution has set forth an “invitation to struggle” in matters of foreign affairs and, absent a true emergency, Congress should certainly be jealous of its powers and wary of the executive. Jim titles his post “Don’t Trust – Verify.” I would note that Ronald Reagan gave the Evil Empire “Trust But Verify” treatment.
The War Powers Act acknowledges that the president has the Constitutional authority to use military force, absent Congressional authorization, in “a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces [emphasis mine].” It’s within President Bush’s power, then, to order a proportionate response to this direct threat.
I would agree, however, that an invasion of Iran, absent larger provocation, should come with Congressional approval. Further, as I’ve written many times, I think war with Iran would almost certainly cause more harm than good to our national interests.