If you were like me who thought that we had one of the few best congresspeople who like Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich and a few others would never support aggressive middle east wars like the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan--our congressman Raul Grijalva has sided against these two in a mid-east escalation bill.
I had believed in Mr.Grijalva's position only three or four years ago even as he has continued to support much of the funding for these two wars at the same time he has said he supports a withdrawal from both. But, I thought, he would absolutely never cosponsor a bill bringing an additional third war in the middle east, one that we heard threatened and darkly insinuated many times from former Vice President Cheney only three or four years ago--against Iran.
No, Afghanistan's role in 9/11 was unclear enough, and Iraq was an obvious lie, but Mr. Cheney's war with Iran, no, that couldn't pass my Congressman, not after Iraq's WMD program failed to show up in reality outside of Colin Powell's UN presentation. That would be a line that would never be crossed. So I might have thought.
I feel that that line has indeed been crossed.
On Thursday, June 24th, the Congress voted almost unanimously on "comprehensive" sanctions against Iran intending to harm Iran's economy. The reason why this drastic step was said to be necessary was "to prevent the Government of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability." It is a "serious and urgent...threat" said the bill.
Except that according to even the US Government's best sources, Iran has no such nuclear weapons capability.
In 2007, a report was issued by the US Government's collective intelligence agencies called the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran's "Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities." Their findings were that Iran was not pursuing nuclear weapons.
Then, in 2008, several reports about Iran, its nuclear power, military, and potential nuclear weapons programs were released by the Congress's own Congressional Research Service. Their findings corroborated the NIE report and stated that there was no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. One report cites a nonproliferation expert Stephen Hildreth, who says in order to develop a nuclear weapon, Iran would have to test one, and that would be "hard to conceal."
In a previous version of this sanctions bill a few months ago, which was also supported by Mr. Grijalva, no evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons had been cited.
Without proof of a nuclear weapons program, these sanctions are illegal under international law and are an aggressive provocation of another middle eastern country.
After the experience of what happened with the Iraq invasion because of similar WMD "urgent threats," and now with the assurance of the US Government's Intelligence consensus and Congressional Research Service that there is no such threat in Iran's case, one might think that there is abundant evidence to withdraw support from sanctioning Iran. I shared this information with both Mr.Grijalva's and Mrs.Giffords' office months and years before this bill, and they have both subsequently voted "yes" on sanctioning Iran.
As of the end of June 2010, there are reports of US and Israeli warships being sent near Iran presumably to enforce these sanctions and I sit here mulling the hard truth that the Congress is not what I had believed it was.