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Who Decides If We Go to War?

In my post on Fred Fleitz’ Iran propaganda the other day, merciless asked how we can stop the Iran War. Which got me thinking of a different question–who decides if we go to war? There are a couple of factors playing into this that I think we’d all do well to suss out–because if we’re going to prevent this, we need to start working.

Chief among the factors is one I’ve been thinking about–and that Glenn Greenwald raises today. Does Bush believe he needs Congress’ agreement to go to war?

A somewhat overlooked part of President Bush’s Press Conferencethis week was his comments strongly suggesting that he believes only he– and not the Congress — has the power to decide when the war in Iraqends, as well as whether we will begin a new war with Iran. All of thedebates we are having about what to do about Iran and Iraq aremeaningless if the President believes (as he seems to) that all powerto decide these matters rests with him.

I agree with Greenwald. The Cheney Administration has probably already worked out the logic by which they go to war under the AUMF voted for Afghanistan. After all, going to war in Iran is just connecting the dots between war in Afghanistan and war in Iraq.

I’ve got a sliver of hope that Congress would take proactive action if they foresaw Bush doing this. Just a sliver, mind you. But if John Warner, Chair of the Armed Services Committee in the Senate, starts pushing the notion that we need a new authorization to use force if our troops are to stay in Iraq in the middle of civil war, then it’s clear they have at least begun thinking about these things.

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