Sunday, June 17, 2012

Time to lead from the front on Iran

Sunday, June 17, 2012

 Jamie Fly and William Kristol write that it's time for the United States to at least present Iran with a credible threat to use force to stop its nuclear weapons program.
President Obama says a nuclear Iran is unacceptable. The real and credible threat of force is probably the last hope of persuading the Iranian regime to back down. So: Isn’t it time for the president to ask Congress for an Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iran’s nuclear program?

Instead of running away from it, administration officials could be putting the military option front and center and ensuring it is seen as viable. And if the administration flinches, Congress could consider passing such an authorization anyway. While any commander in chief has the constitutional authority to take urgent action to protect Americans and their interests, such legislation would give weight to the president’s commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. It would strengthen the president’s hand. It would show Tehran that America’s policy of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon is a credible one. Bipartisan support for such an authorization would remove the issue as much as possible from the turmoil of election year politics. And the authorization could also make clear that the United States would come to Israel’s aid in the event that it decides it needs to take action.

We don’t expect the Obama administration to request an Authorization for Use of Military Force. But Congress can act without such a request. By doing so, it would serve the nation’s interest, and, indeed, the administration’s, if the administration means what it says.

At the end of his “period of consequences” remarks in the House of Commons in November 1936, Churchill said:
Two things, I confess, have staggered me, after a long Parliamentary experience, in these Debates. The first has been the dangers that have so swiftly come upon us in a few years, and have been transforming our position and the whole outlook of the world. Secondly, I have been staggered by the failure of the House of Commons to react effectively against those dangers. That, I am bound to say, I never expected. I never would have believed that we should have been allowed to go on getting into this plight, month by month and year by year, and that even the Government’s own confessions of error would have produced no concentration of Parliamentary opinion and force capable of lifting our efforts to the level of emergency.
Surely it is time for a concentration of congressional opinion and force capable of lifting our efforts to the level of emergency. The Obama administration may be committed to leading from behind, but Congress can choose to lead from the front.
Perhaps that's what's behind the Congressional letter that was issued on Friday. And if that's the case I can only wish 'Godspeed' to our friends and allies in Congress.

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 3:27 PM