Matt notices a slight shift in rhetoric in Bush's arguing yesterday that the US must act to prevent Iran even having the knowledge to make nuclear bombs:
Were you to want to use military force against the Iranian nuclear weapons program tomorrow, you'd run into the problem that there's nothing there. If you define the threshold down to some kind of war on knowledge, however, you put yourself in a position where maybe you can define the centrifuges Iran already has as constituting the knowledge they must be denied or at least a program to obtain the knowledge. Thus you have, on the level of rhetoric though not international law or sound diplomacy, the justification for military action.
My own sense - and, of course I do not know for sure - is that the decision to bomb Iran under this president has already been made. It has been made by Bush and Cheney. It was probably made months ago. Nothing - no facts, no arguments, and certainly no democratic or constitutional processes - will be allowed to come in the way of this. The public arguments are just an attempt to provide some rationale for what will happen, and are interesting solely as a means to detect what is actually going on behind the scenes. We have no role here. There was one accountability moment, remember, which was November 2004.
And when the Decider makes the decision, his putative heir, Giuliani, will declare that any opposition to it is a function of cowardice or masochism or treason. The military will be placed in the awful position of having to obey orders that are constitutionally unlawful. Fred Kaplan mulls the scenario here. In the next sixteen months, in other words, we may face a constitutional crisis that is no less grave because we can see it coming. I pray I'm wrong. Since these decisions are made in total secrecy, we have no way of knowing. But it seems to me that such a grave step would be extremely reckless without a full Congressional debate.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.