Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The resolution has also been amended to purportedly limit the use of US military force against Iran to within the borders of Iraq, but the designation of the Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization still opens the door to direct military action against it, even within Iran, which is why the amendment was accepted, as it allowed both sides to characterize it as they wanted upon passage, with Bush being, of course, the ultimate decider.
UPDATE 1: Predictably, the Senate has jumped in front of the parade as well:
As it most certainly does.
Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday, voted 76-22 in favor of a resolution urging the State Department to designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization.
While the proposal, by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., attracted overwhelming bipartisan support, a small group of Democrats said they feared labeling the state-sponsored organization a terrorist group could be interpreted as a congressional authorization of military force in Iran.
INITIAL POST: In a country where there is no organized opposition to neoconservative foreign policy, we shouldn't be surprised when the House of Representatives legitimizes the demonization of Iran by overwhelmingly voting for the imposition of more rigorous economic sanctions:
The predictability of such an action should not, however, be confused with construing it as benign. It is pernicious in ways almost too numerous to mention. Obviously, the vote makes war between the US and Iran more likely, with all of the dire consequences that would result from such a conflict.
The US House of Representatives aimed a sharp jab at Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday, slapping new energy sanctions on Tehran, and branding its Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group.
A measure targeting the elite military corps and the lucrative Iranian energy sector sailed through the House by 397 votes to 16, hours before Ahmadinejad's speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
The legislation is aimed at depriving Iran of proceeds from energy sales which could be diverted into funding its nuclear program, which the West says is intended to produce atomic weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
Its top sponsor, veteran Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, Tom Lantos, said the bill was needed because Iran's denials of a nuclear weapons program could not be believed.
"I wish that we could take Ahmadinejad at his word, but we obviously cannot," Lantos said.
"This is the same man who yesterday said, 'Our people are the freest in the world, and there are no homosexuals in Iran.'"
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the committee's top Republican, added: "Too many foreign energy firms have become functional allies in Tehran's efforts to build a nuclear bomb."
The bill sanctions foreign companies with US subsidiaries which invest in Iran, particularly in the oil and gas sectors.
It also prohibits civilian nuclear cooperation with nations that support Iran's nuclear program and calls on the US government to urge foreign states and banks to divest from Iranian interests.
As policy, it is utterly bankrupt. Increased economic pressure on the Iranians will induce the populace to reflexively support the government, as such pressure makes Iranians from all sectors of society more and more dependent upon it for their daily needs. This is what transpired in Iraq as a consequence of the sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War in 1991. The Iraqi middle class lost whatever social and political independence that it possessed prior to being subjected to the extreme poverty experienced by everyone else except Baathist leadership figures.
Accordingly, the sanctions had the perverse effect of consolidating Saddam's power instead of diminishing it, and we will see the same thing happen in Iran with Ahmadinejad. So, it is probable that the Iranian government is going to become even more intransigent about its nuclear program instead of becoming more cooperative.
Perhaps, this is what is intended. Tom Lantos, the Democratic Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who sponsored this bill, voted to authorize the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He was also a passionate advocate of the Iran Freedom and Support Act of 2005, an act that expressly authorized the expenditure of funds for regime change.
In other words, the House is engaging in a nonsense discourse, one created out of whole cloth by people who have wanted to overthrow the Iranian government since 1979. There is nothing that the Iranians can do to satisfy the neoconservatives in both parties like Lantos other than unilateral disarmament, an agreement to allow the US government to permanently station troops, the privatization of its oil resources and the delivery of oil to the Israeli economy.
The Iranian nuclear program is merely one of the pretexts that they have seized upon to justify the coming war, along with allegations of Iranian involvement with the Iraqi resistance. By allowing Lantos and his allies to dictate policy in regard to Iran, Republicans and Democrats, together again, as they were in November 2002, when they authorized the invasion of Iraq, are leading this country into another disasterous conflict. The voices of people in Congress who know better, who understand what is actually happening, have been intimidated into silence.