When Representative Dennis Kucinich introduced articles of impeachment against Vice-President Cheney, and then against President Bush, one of his key accusations was that the Bush Administration has tried to lead the United States into war with Iran.
So you might have thought that Members of Congress who signed on to the impeachment crusade shared Rep. Kucinich's critique of U.S. saber-rattling towards Iran.
If you thought that, you might want to think again. The evidence is, shall we say, mixed.
Representative Robert Wexler, who has made support of impeachment a signature issue, has signed on to a House resolution promoted by AIPAC that appears to endorse a naval blockade of Iran. A naval blockade would, of course, be an act of war. If not sanctioned by the UN Security Council - and there is no reason to believe that it would be - it would be a war crime. The resolution makes no mention of seeking Security Council approval.
Consider what House Concurrent Resolution 362 "demands":
that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran's nuclear program;
And consider how the United States and its allies could prohibit "the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products" or "impose stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran" without imposing a naval blockade, an act of war.
If you think that's a far-fetched interpretation, consider what the New York Times reported Sunday as the possible consequence if Iran refused the "generous offer" to comply with U.S. demands that it stop enriching uranium:
"other punitive moves against Iran that could be taken by a 'coalition of the willing' outside the United Nations"
"Outside the United Nations" meaning, presumably, without UN Security Council authorization. And what might those "punitive moves" be?
"Officials would not provide details, but analysts suggest those could include a naval embargo of the Persian Gulf or the refusal to supply Western-made technology required for Iran's oil industry, creating bottlenecks in Iran's oil production."
I'm a firm believer in giving people the benefit of the doubt, and I would not be surprised if Rep. Wexler signed on to this "get tough" resolution without thinking through its implications.
If so, all Rep. Wexler has to do to set things straight is remove his name from the resolution.
You can check whether he has done so here.
A House leadership office said that the resolution could be put on the suspension calendar next week.
If you think that would be bad, you can write Congress in opposition to this resolution here.