The Senate’s ‘Capability’ Resolution: A Seething, Jingo Push for Iran War

John Glaser, February 22, 2012

Senate Resolution 380 was introduced last week by Senators Joseph Lieberman, Lindsey Graham, and Robert Casey. It basically says it should be the policy of the United States to prevent Iran “from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability” and it “rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran.” Notice that language: nuclear weapons-capable. So far, U.S. policy as articulated by the Obama administration has been to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but this resolution says that Iran even having the know-how is unacceptable.

What this does is remove any ability to negotiate a peaceful settlement with Iran. These Senators are trying to outlaw diplomacy and make war inevitable. As Paul Pillar recently wrote, “the resolution calls for terms that are understandably nonstarters for Iran,” like ruling out any Iranian nuclear program (even one that is under international supervision and inspection) and like calling for an end to Iran’s ballistic missile programs. I kid you not.

National Iranian American Council Policy Director Jamal Abdi:

This is a blank check for the President to wage war with Iran, and once it is written the President will be pressured to cash it. By ruling out alternatives to war, this measure could be used by the current or future president as justification for war without the need for further Congressional authorization.  Modern presidents have tended to take an extremely broad view of their prerogatives under the War Powers Act.

This measure contradicts and confuses the existing United States ‘redline’ that Iranian acquisition of a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. Instead of reinforcing existing standards, the measure lowers the bar to assert that even the capability to pursue a nuclear weapon would be grounds for war.  This is dangerous policy to be toying with.

Acquisition is very different from capability.  Nuclear weapons capability is a nebulous term that could theoretically be applied to every state from Canada to the Netherlands that possesses civilian nuclear capabilities.  We should not be staking questions of war on such a shaky foundation.

The resolution, Robert Wright tells us, has met at least some resistance in the Senate, but the bad news is that AIPAC is expected lobby hard for it “in three weeks when up to 10,000 activists culminate its annual conference.” The resolution is currently non-binding, but, Wright points out, when AIPAC lobbies for non-binding resolutions, they usually end up in binding legislation.

As further illustration of how off-the-charts hysterical this resolution is, the “capability” language basically would mean that the time for attacking Iran is already here. Wright:

Does “capability” mean the ability to produce a bomb within two months? Two years? If two years is the standard, Iran has probably crossed the red line already. (So should we start bombing now?) Indeed, by the two-year standard, Iran might well be over the red line evenafter a bombing campaign–which would at most be a temporary setback, and would remove any doubt among Iran’s leaders as to whether to build nuclear weapons, and whether to make its nuclear program impervious to future American and Israeli bombs. What do we do then? Invade?




15 Responses to “The Senate’s ‘Capability’ Resolution: A Seething, Jingo Push for Iran War”

  1. Unsurprisingly, Lieberman and McCain led this effort. Does anyone thirst for blood for than those two (with the possible exception of their pal McCain)?

  2. If Senators Lieberman, Graham, Casey, McCain, and all the rest of our senatorial cesspool entombed in Babylon-On-The-Potomac want a war with Iran, they can pick up an AK-47 then strap on parachutes and lead the charge. Drop Senators on Tehran! Hmmm, I think I'd pay money to see that.
    However, I hereby volunteer to place the call to Tehran and give them notice that the Senatorial Warriors are on their way.

  3. [...] Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so. Despite this, rabid calls for war have continued from hawkish politicians and especially from the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin [...]

  4. Drop Senators McCain and Graham on Iran!? That would be a war crime. There has to be something in the Geneva conventions against it.

  5. To watch those chickens cluck and run about the streets of Tehran would be high comedy! Yes. I'd pay to see it as well.

  6. evil, evil, what has happended to the world? Why are US monsters, allowed to do this? They have no fear of god or any humanity? Why dont they shut the $$$ ** up and leave the rest of us in peace. War mongers, fight amongst yourself.,get your children invilovded, you are the Devil

  7. Yeah and the south called Abraham Lincoln a war monger when the north burnt the south cities to the ground even after the South started the war.why is it the side with the uper hand is always called the war monger??

  8. Zionist TRAITOR to the US Joe Lieberman – Zionist nut cases McCain and Graham – all three should be put on a leaky boat for a one way sail to Israel to join the other war criminals in that country.

  9. Would it be possible to get a rider hidden in some obscure bill that required anyone advocating war to join up and serve on the front line? How much would it cost?

  10. Exactly what I was looking for, thanks for putting up. “If you can imagine it,You can achieve it.If you can dream it,You can become it.” by William Arthur Ward.

  11. Why are US Senators so bloodthirsty ?

  12. [...] Notice their use of the phrase “nuclear weapons capability,” and see here for the context on that. Print This | var addthis_pub="wiredispatch"; var addthis_options = 'facebook, twitter,digg, [...]

  13. Because it's never them doing the dying but always them raking in the war profits. They joyously dance in the blood of the dead, be that blood be from an American soldier or a foreign child.

  14. [...] of doing so. Given these assessments, and in the face of an increasingly hawkish Israel and a Congress vying for war, several high level U.S. officials have publicly warned against a preemptive military strike on [...]

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