Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The GOP wants another war, because the past couple have gone so well

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I do not understand the intense desire some have expressed to go to war against Iran. It seems absolutely insane to me, but of course I also thought that it was insane for the US to invade Iraq under George W. Bush, a war that was sold to the US by the simple expedient of outright lies and that has pretty much wrecked the Middle East and resulted in the rise of ISIS.

With that example, how could anyone think a war with Iran—a war that would be totally at the initiative and decision of the US—would be a good idea? Well, for one thing, none of those pushing for the war will have to fight in it. They mostly plan to reap great rewards from the increase in defense spending.

In the NY Review of Books Elizabeth Drew looks at the current situation:

Ever since Hurricane Bibi blew through Washington last week, advocates and opponents of a possible nuclear agreement with Iran have been assessing the damage. It’s clear that the traditional bipartisan approach toward Israel has been smashed. But the essential question is what effect Netanyahu’s visit will have on the the nuclear deal and above all, whether Congress, by bringing it to a direct vote as it now threatens, will reject it, thus ending a long effort to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions and raising a long-term question as to whether US negotiators’ word amounts to anything.

Because the agreement—being negotiated by the Obama administration and fellow members of the P5+1 group––isn’t a treaty, it doesn’t have to be approved by the Senate by a two-thirds vote. But since the existing strict economic sanctions on Iran were imposed by Congress, many members insist that they should have a voice in whether they can be lifted, as they would be in the agreement, in exchange for tight controls designed to prohibit Iran from developing nuclear weapons. What this is really about is whether Congress will have veto power over the agreement itself—a power that has become Netanyahu’s and other opponents’ chosen route for sinking a deal.

Hours after Netanyahu’s speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, apparently eager to capitalize on its rapturous reception by the mostly Republican audience, announced that he’d shortly move that the Senate immediately take up a resolution requiring a congressional vote on any agreement with Iran. This went against McConnell’s earlier pledge that the Senate would proceed according to the “regular order,” which would have meant that legislation had to be considered by the relevant committee, in this case Foreign Relations, before it could be brought to the floor; and two days later, he backed down after Democrats threatened to block the move. But this is most likely a temporary retreat on McConnell’s part.

The principal resolution to give Congress an opportunity to vote on any nuclear deal is sponsored by the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Bob Corker, of Tennessee. It has been co-sponsored by Robert Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking Democratic member on the committee, four other Democrats, and one Independent. As currently drafted (but subject to change, particularly if it has to be approved by the Foreign Relations Committee and as others weigh in) the resolution would require the administration, within five days of reaching an agreement, to submit it to Congress, which would move swiftly to vote on it—too swiftly, opponents of the resolution say, for serious consideration of its provisions. One particularly troublesome part of Corker’s proposal would require that the administration regularly report on whether Iran is involved in terrorist acts, which has nothing to do with arms control.

Corker is regarded as a relatively responsible figure, not simply a wrecker like so many of his party colleagues. He didn’t favor McConnell’s move to bring his bill to the floor just after Netanyahu’s speech, preferring that it go through the committee process first. Menendez, too, though a longtime critic of the negotiations with Iran, opposed bringing the resolution to a vote without review by the committee. But Corker now has to answer to the Republican Senate caucus if he wants his proposal to pass. And while Menendez has been a skeptic about dealing with Iran, it’s one thing to express concern about negotiations and another to defeat an international agreement that the administration has reached with Iran to try to prevent its development of nuclear weapons. (At the moment Menendez has other distractions: it was recently disclosed that the Justice Department plans to charge him with accepting gifts and lavish vacations from a supporter in exchange for governmental favors.) His most significant Democratic ally among the skeptics is Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate.

To give Democrats a palatable alternative to Corker’s proposal, Barbara Boxer, of California, along with some influential Democratic allies, has drawn up a counter proposal that would . . .

Continue reading.

Bob Corker is famous in my mind for endlessly repeating that “we must stay the course” in Iraq, and when the Iraq war was clearly a disaster, blandly stated, “I have never said, ‘We must stay the course.'” His political opponent had a good clip showing Corker explicitly saying that we must “stay the course,” and then explicitly denying he had ever said. Corker has absolutely no integrity.

Written by LeisureGuy

9 March 2015 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Congress, GOP, Iran

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