(Fool me once… – promoted by Bob Brigham)
OPEN LETTER CONCERNING OUR CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES:
Joe Baca (CD-43), Brian Bilbray (CD-50), Jane Harman (CD-36), Devin Nunes (CD-21), Dana Rohrabacher (CD-46), Loretta Sanchez (CD-47), Henry Waxman (CD-30), John Campbell (CD-48), Jim Costa (CD-20), David Dreier (CD-26), Darrell Issa (CD-49), Gary Miller (CD-42), George Radanovich (CD-19), Edward Royce (CA-40), Adam Schiff (CD-29), Brad Sherman (CD-27), Mike Thompson (CD-1)
It was with great disappointment that we learned that these California Congressional Representatives have chosen to co-sponsor the bill that could take our country into yet another war– H.Con. Res. 362 increasing sanctions against Iran (complete text below).
S.Res.580 is the related bill in the Senate, and, fortunately, neither of our senators is co-sponsoring this as yet.
Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles is extremely concerned that this “resolution” will be used by this president as his justification to bomb Iran. The language– “urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority”– could easily be interpreted by BUSH to allow a pre-emptive strike. And there is NO limitation that disallows making war without Congressional action.
In addition, this resolution may be interpreted by the Israeli government as a signal of support for their unilateral actions (LA Times article today: Joint Chief Mullen warns US troops in danger if Israel attacks).
At a recent town hall, Congressman Sherman referred to the United Nations being involved, however, there is nothing in the bill about it. In fact, the only possible reference hinting at the UN is toward the bottom–“initiate an international effort.” There is no language REQUIRING United Nations approval of any actions taken unilaterally by team Bush.
At a MINIMUM, we would suggest that there be amendments both requiring United Nations approval as well as specific language restating the Congressional war powers granted in the constitution—“To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water.” Pre-emptive strikes at the will of the executive are NOT a part of the powers of the president as stated in our constitution, and they should not be allowed to stand.
Congress bears much of the blame for what this president did with your Congressional resolution regarding Iraq. It is mind-boggling that we have another that Congress is again ready to hand this president. We saw what he did before, and the potential for this happening AGAIN is INCREDIBLY HIGH. Bush has shown his total disdain for the rule of law and the constitution, and few of you have been willing to hold him accountable through investigations into impeachment (we’d still be happy to see you on board that one).
The BEST Congress could do now is TRY to prevent him from taking any precipitous actions before November, when the Democrats actually have a chance of taking back the White House.
It has been suggested that this bill will be coming to the floor “under suspension” meaning that it will not even have a recorded vote. That’s what our Congress has come to.
NOTE: The complete co-sponsor list is at —
RELEVANT ARTICLES (+there are many more online):
Risk to U.S. troops seen if Israel strikes Iran
By Peter Spiegel, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer July 3, 2008
Iran: War or Privatization: All Out War or “Economic Conquest”?
by Michel Chossudovsky
Congressional Resolution Demands Bush Act on Iran
Monday 23 June 2008 by: Maya Schenwar and Matt Renner, t r u t h o u t | Report
HCON 362 IH
H . CON . RES . 362
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
May 22, 2008
Mr. ACKERMAN (for himself and Mr. PENCE) submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the threat posed to international peace, stability in the Middle East, and the vital national security interests of the United States by Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and regional hegemony, and for other purposes.
Whereas Iran is a party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), has foresworn the acquisition of nuclear weapons by ratification of the NPT, and is legally bound to declare and place all its nuclear activity under constant monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA);
Whereas for nearly 20 years, in clear contravention of its explicit obligations under the NPT, Iran operated a covert nuclear program until it was revealed by an Iranian opposition group in 2002;
Whereas the IAEA has confirmed such illicit covert nuclear activities as the importation of uranium hexafluoride, construction of a uranium enrichment facility, experimentation with plutonium, importation of centrifuge technology, construction of centrifuges, and importation of designs to convert highly enriched uranium gas into metal and shape it into the core of a nuclear weapon;
Whereas Iran continues to expand the number of centrifuges at its enrichment facility, as made evident by its announced intention to begin installation of 6,000 advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, in defiance of binding United Nations Security Council resolutions demanding Iran suspend enrichment activities;
Whereas the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran was secretly working on the design and manufacture of a nuclear warhead until at least 2003, but that Iran could have enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon as soon as late 2009;
Whereas an Iranian nuclear weapons capability would pose a grave threat to international peace and security by fundamentally altering and destabilizing the strategic balance in the Middle East, and severely undermining the global nonproliferation regime;
Whereas Iran’s overt sponsorship of several terrorist groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah, and its close ties to Syria raise the possibility that Iran would share its nuclear materials and technology with others;
Whereas Iran continues to develop ballistic missile technology and is pursuing the capability to field intercontinental ballistic missiles, a delivery system suited almost exclusively to nuclear weapons payloads;
Whereas Iranian leaders have repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel, a major non-North Atlantic Treaty Organization ally, and a member of the United Nations;
Whereas the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany have offered, and continue to offer, to negotiate a significant package of economic, diplomatic, and security incentives if Iran complies with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions demanding that Iran suspend uranium enrichment;
Whereas Iran has consistently refused such offers;
Whereas as a result of Iran’s failure to comply with the mandates of the United Nations Security Council, taken under Chapter VII of the United Nations’ Charter, the international community has imposed limited sanctions over the past 2 years that have begun to have an impact on the Iranian economy;
Whereas Iran’s rapid development of its nuclear capabilities is outpacing the slow ratcheting up of economic and diplomatic sanctions;
Whereas Iran has used its banking system, including the Central Bank of Iran, to support its proliferation efforts and its assistance to terrorist groups, leading the Department of Treasury to designate 4 large Iranian banks proliferators and supporters of terrorism;
Whereas Iran’s support for Hezbollah has enabled that group to wage war against the Government and people of Lebanon, leading to its political domination of that country;
Whereas Iran’s support for Hamas has enabled it to illegally seize control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, and to continuously bombard Israeli civilians with rockets and mortars;
Whereas Iran continues to provide training, weapons, and financial assistance to Shi’a militants inside of Iraq and antigovernment warlords in Afghanistan;
Whereas those Shi’a militant groups and Afghan warlords use Iranian training, weapons, and financing to attack American and allied forces trying to support the legitimate Governments of Iraq and Afghanistan;
Whereas Iran is further destabilizing the Middle East by underwriting a massive rearmament campaign by Syria;
Whereas through these efforts, Iran seeks to establish regional hegemony, threatens longstanding friends and allies of the United States in the Middle East, and endangers vital American national security interests; and
Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–
(1) declares that preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, through all appropriate economic, political, and diplomatic means, is vital to the national security interests of the United States and must be dealt with urgently;
(2) urges the President, in the strongest of terms, to immediately use his existing authority to impose sanctions on–
(A) the Central Bank of Iran and any other Iranian bank engaged in proliferation activities or the support of terrorist groups;
(B) international banks which continue to conduct financial transactions with proscribed Iranian banks;
(C) energy companies that have invested $20,000,000 or more in the Iranian petroleum or natural gas sector in any given year since the enactment of the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996; and
(D) all companies which continue to do business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps;
(3) 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
(4) urges the President to lead a sustained, serious, and forceful effort at regional diplomacy to support the legitimate governments in the region against Iranian efforts to destabilize them, to reassure our friends and allies that the United States supports them in their resistance to Iranian efforts at hegemony, and to make clear to the Government of Iran that the United States will protect America’s vital national security interests in the Middle East.