April 16, 2006

Wow! Intelligent Journalism

Of course, it's not from a US paper - it's the Sunday Times:
Well, imagine a scenario in which the president believes he has to bomb — maybe even with low-level nuclear warheads — the nuclear facilities in Iran. Given what we know now, it would be a very tough sell in Congress.

Without United Nations backing and solid allied support, the president would have to ask Americans to trust him — on weapons of mass destruction intelligence and on his skill in war-making. After Iraq, that’s very difficult. Americans do not listen to him any more. And they have discovered that they cannot trust him to get warfare right, or even be candid with them about it.

The president could, of course, argue that he does not need Congress’s permission to launch such a war. Good luck. A huge bombing campaign against a large sovereign country over several weeks is hard to describe by any other term than war. And the constitution clearly gives that decision to Congress. This would not be a sudden, minor mission, constitutionally permissible in emergencies. This would be the gravest decision a president could make. It would have incalculable consequences. It could unleash a wave of terrorism across Iraq and the West. It would put WMDs in the centre of a global conflict. It would alter America’s relations with all its allies and enemies. If Bush decided he could act unilaterally without congressional backing, he could prompt a constitutional crisis.


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