Opinion: Congress is about
to pour lighter fluid on Iran
There's a great deal of
support for two resolutions that, if approved, would all but strike the match
By WILLIAM O. BEEMAN
The U.S. Congress may
inadvertently lay the foundations for war against Iran
when it reconvenes in Washington
Two essentially identical
nonbinding resolutions call upon President Bush to "immediately and
dramatically increase the economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran to
verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities."
The House resolution has
more than 200 cosponsors, including Minnesota Reps. Michele Bachmann, John
Kline and Jim Ramstad. The Senate resolution has more than 30 cosponsors,
including both Minnesota
senators, Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar.
The methods for increased
pressure differ slightly in the two resolutions. The House resolution calls for
"stringent inspection requirements" of all goods entering or leaving Iran. The
Senate resolution does not call for the inspection of all goods but joins the
House resolution in calling for an embargo of refined petroleum products to Iran, which
lacks the refining capacity to meet its need for gasoline. Achieving either goal
would require a naval blockade -- a de facto act of war on the part of the United States,
though paradoxically both resolutions explicitly exclude authorization for
Other provisions call for an
economic embargo of banking operations, with the House resolution adding a
prohibition of international movement on the part of Iranian officials.
Both resolutions have begun
to cause alarm throughout the United
States, and have caused several
representatives to withdraw their cosponsorships. Rep.
Robert Wexler, D-Fla., summed up the concerns in an
article for the Huffington Post: "It is clear
that despite carefully worded language in H. Con. Res. 362 that 'nothing in
this resolution should be construed as an authorization of the use of force against
Iran' that many Americans across the country continue to express real concerns
that sections of this resolution will be interpreted by President Bush as 'a
green light' to use force against Iran."