Sense of Congress.--It is the sense of Congress that--The "findings" that justify such a "Sense of Congress - which is easily paraphrased, by Lieberman among others, as "Iran is participating in acts of war against the United States" - are the same old paranoid adding 2 and 2 to get 5 which has characterized Bush administration claims about Iran all along. Most if not all have been examined and found lacking in evidence or reaching too far beyond the evidence when held up to the light. Every single one is now on record as being accepted as gospel by the Senate.
Levin and Salazar actually rushed to be included as co-sponsors of this bilge!
The amendment goes on to stipulate a report within 30 days and every 60 days thereafter which will, they think, set about:
describing and assessing in detail--Which lets the administration "fix the intelligence around the policy" just as was done in the run-up to the Iraq invasion - and the good Senators will swallow it all whole again because they will erroneously believe (yet again) that what the Bush administration tells them in semi-secret reports must be of the highest quality and rigorously fact-checked. Implicit in their willingness to swallow the Bush administration's line will be their collective belief that what they learn is somehow inherently better than the views of independent experts, foreign journalists and even foreign intelligence agencies because, hey, they're powerful insiders of the most powerful nation on earth.
Even though I read about this last night and decided to sleep on it, I am still amazed and outraged this morning by the unthinking ability of U.S. Senators to swallow the same crap twice.
There are two passages in the amendment, both inserted into the final draft but not present in Lieberman's original, which attempt to give the good senators a fence to sit on.
Congress supports U.S. diplomacy with the representatives of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to stop any actions by the Iranian government or its agents against U.S. service members in Iraq.and:
Nothing in this section shall be construed as to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of Armed Forces against Iran.Such inclusions aren't going to prevent the Bush administration throwing it's hands up and saying "we can't do diplomacy with Iran any more". And when the vote for authorizing force comes around, as both Atrios and Sean-Paul noted, their votes for this amendment will make it next to impossible for them to vote against such authority. The Dems in the Senate have been neatly mousetrapped, again.
I'm going to leave the last words to Ian Welsh, because he is so very, very right.
Americans are being played. They are being played exactly the way they were played in the run-up to the Iraq war. Every piece of evidence that Iran has been attacking the US has been dubious, unsourced or so vague as to be meaningless. Even if Iran was supplying some weaponry, and I wouldn't be surprised if it is supplying some to the US's allies in the Badr brigades, for example, ask yourself very clearly if you're willing to go to war over that and if you think that supplying weapons to a group resisting an occupation is really a causus belli. Because the US has done it, itself, more than once.The Newshoggers' previous posts on the Bush administration's neocon narative for war with Iran, along with the complicit stenography of the U.S. media and examinations of what the actual evidence really says, can be found here. I urge any Senate-critters who wander by to read them carefully.
Update Ian Welsh again:
The language of the bills and resolutions being passed is largely irrelevant except as a propaganda matter, unless one of them specifically either authorizes force or forbids it. Under the War Measures Act, as I understand it, Bush has full authority already to attack Iran for 3 months before coming back to Congress. By the time 3 months is over, well, the point is moot. Congress gave up its war powers decades ago, and since then Presidents may prefer to come to Congress, but they don't really have to.Which it is long past time they did. And Cheney too.
But while Congress cannot prevent Bush taking the US into a war without it specifically forbidding force - something Dubya's said he would veto and if needed ignore in any case - they can certainly give him political cover for launching a war. And that's exactly what the Dems in the Senate did yesterday.