Taking The Bait II: "Level Headed" Left Bloggers Focus On Iran, Not Iraq

Ed Kilgore responds to my take on Iraq/Iran priorities:

I see no particular evidence that congressional Dems are folding their tents on Iraq. . . . As for the initial question of how progressive bloggers should think about these tangled questions, I don't quite see how worrying about a new war keeps anyone from stopping the old one . . . So let a few bloggers try to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Today, the level headed blogger at TPM says:

The 'surge' and the accompanying political jousting surrounding it is important. But it pales in importance compared to the possibility of drifting or getting gamed into a shooting war with Iran. This is what Congress really needs to get on top of right now.

You were saying Ed? Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi said:

And [Pelosi] told lawmakers that "if it appears likely that Bush wants to take the country to war against Iran, the House would take up a bill to deny him the authority to do so," the Post quoted Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly as saying.

At least Tom Vilsack has his priorities straight. Because our level headed bloggers have taken the bait.

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    I still don't get it (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 04:43:05 PM EST
    Sorry, I still do not understand why this is such a big deal.

    I have come to think that Iran was the main target all the time. Do you think that it is a just a WH diversion cooked up to divide and conquer public opinion about the Iraq war?

    Or are you suggesting that going into Iraq was the only way the warparty could do Iran and if we end Iraq they are back to square one and Iran is no longer doable?

    My take is that the Iran attack will be from the air. In effect a self serving economic siege meant to keep their oil in the ground and off the market.  The nuke thing is just a red herring just like it was in Iraq. I also think that if Bush bombs Iran, (what does he have to lose), the Iraq war will turn into WWIII.

    I also do not believe Bush thinks he needs permission to bomb Iran. The BS he is peddling is that Iranian insurgents are why we are losing in Iraq, ergo he is doing nothing new, just killing potential insurgents and cutting off supply lines.  

    I don't see any liability or contradiction in both challenging Iran war plans and keeping the pressure up to pull the troops from Iraq.

    And yes I do agree that the Iraq war must be stopped immediately. And yes it does look like some cannot chew gum and walk at the same time, but most can.

    I think that (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 04:52:44 PM EST
    the point Big Tent is trying hard to drive home (and I hope he'll clarify if I miss here) and that I agree with, is that cutting off funding for Iraq and doing everything possible to stop Bush from sending more troops there as well as doing everything possible to get the troops that are in Iraq withdrawn, will go farther than anything else to undercutting Bush's ability to attack Iran using assets in Iraq under the pretences Bush elaborated in the SOTU of attacking what he calls Iranian networks supplying resistance in Iraq.

    It would leave Bush in the position of having only the carrier groups missiles and bombers to attack Iran with, for which he will never receive congressional authorization, and which would probably inflame world opinion so badly against America that impeachemnt would be the only intelligent recourse.


    ::Only:: from Iraq does Bush have any (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 04:55:49 PM EST
    real ability to attack Iran without congressional authorization, IOW.

    If Bush can frighten people into (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:03:21 PM EST
    letting him keep and beef up troop levels in Iraq with scaremongering propaganda about a threat from Iran that he needs a presence in Iraq to counter, then he succeeds in manipulating the country into providing him with the means to attack Iran without congress authorizing it, by casting it as defending the troops in Iraq.

    I see (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:03:06 PM EST
    although an argument can be made that it is even more imperative to stop the war in Iraq because if we don't Bush will expand the war to Iran and Syria. In other words WWIII

    I think that Bush so wants to be a historic figure and surpass his father's legacy, that he sees expansion as his last resort. A gamble worth taking, and he has lots of looney tune support.

    Leeden has come out saying that he was against the Iraq war. He was always for and still is going after Iran.

    Bush is not worried about impeachment or Congress. His lawyers are working it out so going into Iran is legal without Congressional approval.  


    Yes (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:04:29 PM EST
    His lawyers are working it out so going into Iran is legal

    From Iraq?


    Big Tent? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:05:32 PM EST
    Am I missing anything?

    From Iraq (none / 0) (#11)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:38:29 PM EST
    And I am sure that there are other legal justifications having nothing to do with Iraq but the WOT aka the Long War.

    Hey, spying on Americans without a warrent is legal, secret prisons are legal, torture is legal, no congressional approval needed for any of that. what's a few bombs on Iran?


    what's a few bombs on Iran? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:41:55 PM EST
    Unprovoked? Impeachment, no?

    Unprovoked? (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:51:13 PM EST
    That of course is the argument. Bush has secret evidence that there is reason to attack already. So, just like Iraq, Iran has already provoked.

    I am certain that the WH is working on another pearl harbor type of thing to muster popular support. But I don't think he feels he needs anything more than his say so that they have provoked.

    If the sleepy congress cannot end a scam war, I do not think that they have the spine to impeach. The lame excuse is that they cannot get 60 votes for anything, even non-binding nothings.

    They are very very far from the real world, sorta like Hollywood.


    Sanity.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:00:13 PM EST
    I don't think he feels he needs anything more than his say so that they have provoked.

    I think so too. My saying I agree with the point I thought Big Tent was trying to make was predicated on Bush being sane, and I should have been clearer there. I don't think he is sane, but I don't think he is so loopy that he can't manipulate. I've dealt with psychopaths before - they can appear so reasonable and manipulate you into utter confusion.

    If the sleepy congress cannot end a scam war, I do not think that they have the spine to impeach

    They sure don't seem to. And watching Nancy Pelosi preening under Bush's compliments at the SOTU on being the first woman Speaker didn't help.

    But they might grow a spine if he starts bombing Iran from the carriers. I don't think they will if he starts smaller attacks inside Iran from Iraq while claiming he is doing it to protect troops in Iraq. And that is part of Big Tent's point too, no?


    attacking Iran (none / 0) (#29)
    by squeaky on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 12:01:34 AM EST
    If he attacks Iran everyone will fall into lockstep again behind the President, because that is what happens to its citizenry when a country goes to war. It would take more than one scam war to break that hard wired knee jerk reaction. After three or four wars the public has a better chance of catching on.

    Normally I would say (none / 0) (#30)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 12:05:32 AM EST
    you're probably right. I hope it won't take that to find out whether people have learned anything in the past six years.

    Bush wouldn't need (none / 0) (#9)
    by unbill on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:25:18 PM EST
    Congressional authorization to strike Iran anyway. As I said yesterday, the problem is that the USA is not going to be leaving Iraq any time soon, and even if it were to leave Iraq in the next few months, that doesn't mean that US troops would leave the region. Large numbers of US troops have been in the Middle East for decades now, and there are always the military bases in Europe and the new ones in the Caucasus region. So, whereas I understand BTD's point, I think that one should be gravely concerned with a potential Bush attack on Iran, regardless of where the US policy goes on Iraq.

    I agree with that also, unbill (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:33:02 PM EST
    I'm concerned that Bush is looney enough that cutting off funding and troops to Iraq might push him over the edge into attacking Iran with the carrier groups only out of spite - or that he is megamaniacal enough to want people to think it will, and be reluctant to oppose him over Iraq. (my head hurts just thinking this stuff up, too)

    Pelosi (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 04:44:43 PM EST
    In terms of Pelosi, it already does seem like the President wants to bomb Iran. So where is the resolution already?

    I think that maybe (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 05:47:17 PM EST
    Big Tent doesn't think Bush is as crazy as I think Bush is.

    From Larry Diamond (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 06:48:31 PM EST
    The 1973 War Powers Act, passed in the wake of our disastrous war in Vietnam, allows the president to put U.S. troops in a combat situation under certain conditions before obtaining any congressional authorization to do so. When Bush signed the Iraq war resolution, he issued a statement challenging the constitutionality of the War Powers Act, indicating that he could take the nation to war without obeying its restrictions. Unfortunately, even if the president were to agree to the act's restrictions, he could still attack Iran and have up to 90 days before being required to get congressional authorization for the attack.

    via digby


    Ohh - kayyy _ I didn't know that (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:03:43 PM EST
    Now I think that maybe I haven't been thinking Bush is as crazy as he really is. And I thought he was nuts.

    And this helps MY posiiton (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:09:33 PM EST
    not Digby's. There IS A LAW on the books. So?

    Yu know what these guys REALLY need to be a rguing if they believe what they are s aying?

    Impeachment.  Cuz that is all that can stop him according to htis thinking.        


    We weren't arguing with you (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:20:17 PM EST
    At least I wasn't. We were just trying to clarify understanding what you are trying to get across.

    I wonder though if even the threat of impeachment will stop him? Do you think he cares?


    Yes (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:36:34 PM EST
    I get that. My point is that if they are right, indeed, if you are right, then why are they not agitating for impeachment.

    I wish I knew. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:43:31 PM EST
    I've been arguing for it for a long time. The only sense I can make out of things Pelosi has said is that she must think doing it might just tilt him completely over the edge....

    Maybe she thinks that (none / 0) (#23)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:45:58 PM EST
    it couldn';t be done without clapping him in chains and dragging him out of the WH concurrent with and announcement of beginning impeachment hearings?

    Major league constitutional crisis, and worse.


    And maybe he is so far gone (none / 0) (#24)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:49:17 PM EST
    that he wants her to think he is that far gone.

    My head hurts, still...


    Will Fox Fallon (none / 0) (#25)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 07:57:25 PM EST
    accept and execute orders from Bush to start bombing Iran, unprovoked?

    Maybe.... (none / 0) (#26)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 08:28:59 PM EST
    ....just maybe, the impeachment proceeding need to start... with the Speaker of the House? Then move on to the President.

    Awfully quiet in here... (none / 0) (#27)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 08:46:20 PM EST

    Replace the Speaker? (none / 0) (#28)
    by Edger on Mon Feb 05, 2007 at 09:00:43 PM EST
    John Dean wrote on Dec 15/06 about the possibility of "Lowering the aim of an impeachment effort to focus on those who have aided and abetted, or directly engaged in, the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors".
    The Constitution's Impeachment Clause applies to all "civil officers of the United States" - not to mention the president, vice president and federal judges. It is not clear who, precisely, is among those considered "civil officers," but the group certainly includes a president's cabinet and sub-cabinet, as well as the senior department officials and the White House staff (those who are issued commissions by the president and serve the President and Vice President).
    If the Speaker of the House, a "civil officers of the United States", blocks impeachment of a President and Vice President whom there is ample reason to impeach, is the Speaker "aiding and abetting in the commission of high crimes and misdemeanors" and therefore liable for impeachment, as part of the process of and to enable impeaching the President and the Vice President?

    Feingold (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 03:31:32 AM EST
    Conference Call with Bloggers:
    "We need to play hardball on this. We're gonna have to take the lead on this issue and we're gonna need to tie this place up as long as it takes," he said in describing what he sees as a fear and timidity in his colleagues who now hold a slight majority in the Senate.

    "The problem is a whole lot of middle-of-the-road Democrats who refuse to pull the trigger, who refuse to do what needs to be done," Feingold stressed. "Even people who voted against the war" seem afraid, he explained.

    There is another reason, I think, (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edger on Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 07:18:06 AM EST
    among the many, that Bush and Cheney will not be impeached and that encourages them to go on with the things they do and to probably start a war with Iran.

    This has been in the back of my mind for awhile, and I've hesitated to voice this before for what I think is the same reason the Democrats in Congress are full of what Feingold calls "fear and timidity" - it is going to sound somewhat like the "emboldening the enemy" line the wingnuts have been using for so many years... and I imagine I'll be attacked for saying it. But so?

    Look back over this thread. There are only four people who have commented here on the need to impeach these insane a$$holes. Big Tent, Squeaky, myself, and Kindness. I guess we can add Russ Feingold since I quoted him.

    Four people. FOUR people. On a blog that is one of the major foundations of the netroots and of the progressive left, only four people think it important enough to actually say it out loud publicly for the world to see. No wonder the people in the House and the Senate seem to have no spine. They have no back support. What the hell do you expect from them?

    Now I don't for a minute believe that of ALL you people who read here every day only four people want this craziness stopped - but look. If you're not going to sit down, login, collect your thoughts, AND START YELLING, nothing is going to stop them.

    What the hell do you expect? Speak up, for chrissakes.

    Get mad. Or there is going to be enormous death. They will make Iraq look like friggin' playschool.

    Say something.