Webb/Clinton resolution on Iran.

Webb_clinton771969 "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced that she is co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) that prohibits the use of funds for military operations against Iran without explicit Congressional authorization (S. 759)."  Clinton Press Office


This co-sponsorship marks a step in the creation of a congressional coalition intended to impede Bush Administration military action against Iran without congressional agreement.  This action does not preclude ANY military action against Iran, but it does demand compliance with the constitutionally implied requirement for a president to seek congressional sanction for undeclared war.

The last time the United States declared war was in December, 1941.  We have done a lot of fighting since then.

I think there is some chance of a Clinton/Webb ticket.  From my point of view that would be a good outcome.  This co-sponsorship places Senator Clinton squarely in the midst of all those Democratic Party forces which wish to deal with the Middle East on a rational basis, not yielding to anyone where actual American interests are involved but, also not pursuing the chimera of revolutionary social change either.  pl 


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37 Responses to Webb/Clinton resolution on Iran.

  1. Jose says:

    I guess she read this blog..lol
    Good job to all!!!

  2. Brigitte says:

    Colonel Lang:
    I am very glad that Senators Clinton and Webb teamed up on this and I would be more than happy if they were on a ticket together next fall.
    I was very upset that Hillary Clinton voted last week with the Senate majority that urged the administration to declare the Iranian Republican Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. Of course, they are–but because Iran does sponsor terrorism (i.e., Hezbollah, Hamas). But since the Bush administration had already planned this designation, the Senate vote could be understood as authorizing military actions against the Guards and thus against Iran.
    I am happy to learn now that Senator Clinton is of one mind with Senator Webb who voted against last week’s resolution.

  3. zanzibar says:

    I wonder why more Democrats in the Senate don’t rally behind Jim Webb on military and foreign policy matters. He is no slouch when defending American interests and he seems to have a sensible approach to these issues.
    I just could not figure out why Sen. Reid did not make the Republican senators actually filibuster Webb’s amendment on troop rest and conditions for placing US troops in combat including minimum training and equipment. By forcing Republican senators to stay up all night reading the phone book would have brought this issue into stark focus.
    When did 60 votes become the basic threshhold for consideration in the Senate? What happened to the old fashioned notion that you had to actually filibuster a bill you disliked? What happened to the “nuclear option” that Sen. Frist continually threatened?
    Why don’t we see more folks ridiculing the idea that we can bomb Iran into submission? And questioning the credibility and veracity of anything relative to war coming from the corporate media and this Administration? Isn’t the $trillion debacle with countless lives lost and enormous hardship on innocent Iraqis sufficient???

  4. MacDonald says:

    The question is how much does this mean in the present situation when Mrs. Clinton officially has declared the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization – on which strikes are already abundantly authorized – AND defined the Iranian nuclear program as a terrorist activity?
    “I voted for a non-binding resolution that designates the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.
    The Revolutionary Guards are deeply involved in Iran’s nuclear program and have substantial links with Hezbollah.”

  5. Tim G says:

    I recall few Presidents, possibly none, have accepted the restrictions imposed by the War Powers Act. This current Administration will not. What resolutions were passed post 9/11 regarding “terrorism” that the Administration can morph into a Congressional green light now that the IRGC has been designated a terrorist organization?

  6. lina says:

    While Webb would be an attractive VP candidate on anyone’s ticket, he is needed in the Senate to maintain the (slim) majority. The Dems have a shot at a 60-vote majority next year. If they’re smart (sigh) they won’t lure Mr. Webb out of the Senate.
    As for Mrs. Clinton, she remains all things to all people.

  7. Will says:

    Good Work Col. I see a lot of Clinton mention lately on this blog. Methinks you sometime have her ear. This work here has your imprint.

  8. David Solomon says:

    Colonel Lang,
    I must say this is the first decent news I have heard out of Hilary Clinton.
    Maybe, just maybe, she means it. Nevertheless, I am not yet sold.
    She is constantly trying to be all things to all people. One never knows where she actually stands.

  9. kim says:

    one small step for hilary. still waiting for her to back off from the iraq forever notion, and some clarity (maybe i missed it?) on divided jerusalem.

  10. JohnH says:

    Unfortunately, none of the Democratic candidates–I call them Hillary and the Seven Dwarfs–has much to show on their resumes regarding legislative or executive accomplishments. Kucinich probably has the best, and that relates to his experience as Mayor of Cleveland, staring down the bankers and utilities, accepting bankruptcy rather than selling off the municipal electrical utility. Biden and Dodd chair committees. Hillary has Bill covering her back. But accomplishment at the national or global level? Nada. Zip.
    So yes, it would be nice if Hillary could use some of her rising political capital. But I doubt if she has the skills or inclination to successfully maneuver a critical piece of legislation to passage. And that, frankly, speaks volumes about her fitness to be President.

  11. writebite says:

    Jim Webb probably knows better than anyone in Congress the dangers of getting tangled up with Iran, and that’s why he’s focused on it.
    Clinton/Webb? Makes sense, gives Hillary the Southern flavor and military clout.

  12. The DEMS are in an odd position. Only by focusing on ending the Iraqi deployment/war can they differentiate themselves from the Republicans. But if they truly want to wind the Presidency in 2008 they must do so. This is a good step but probably will just pass over the heads of most American voters. Iraq and the misnamed GWOT like it or not will again determine the outcome the outcome of the Presidency in 2008. This is the testbed and nothing else will matter because of the closeness of the vote on other issues and sorry to say the ignorance of the electorate.

  13. rjj says:

    “She is constantly trying to be all things to all people. One never knows where she actually stands.”
    [profanity deleted to conform to the local standards …] The choice is between bad and malignant.
    How much irreversible [!!!] damage did the Clintons and their policies do compared with the Cheney regime. That IS a stand — of sorts.

  14. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I have to echo some of the sentiments expressed regarding Senator Clinton: she has been unabashedly shrill when it comes to possibility of a war against Iran…and suddenly, this pops up. Has she abandoned her old views? Doubtful, especially since everyone would be happy to play her prior public statements–e.g. regarding Iranian nuclear program and the Revolutionary Guards and how must be dealt with. Plus, it’s not at all obvious whether there’s any realistic chance that this will be translated into reality: thousands of bills are introduced, but most are never heard of again. I wouldn’t expect it to be any more than a quick publicity ploy unless I see it making headlines as a realistic possibility.
    Politically, given how things stand, a Clinton/Webb ticket makes good sense–it can be a potential election winner. Whether such a ticket can bring a solution to anything, I’m not so sure. I suspect that a key motivation for Cilnton’s warlike rhetoric (at least before this resolution) was to preempt the natural expectation of “softness” from a woman (yes, it’s unfair, but it is unfortunate truth). That won’t go away even if she is elected president: at the risk of sounding blunt, I wouldn’t trust a woman politician with control of military affairs not because she would be too weak, but because she’ll be too warlike because too many people would expect her to be weak. I don’t see President H. Clinton choosing a calm, reasonable course over something overly bombastic.

  15. Will says:

    Someone has repackaged Keirsey’s four temperaments types of Artisan, Guardian, Rational, & Idealist as … get ready
    Improviser, Stabilizer, Theorist, & Catalyst.
    I am beginning to think it’s all baloney or bologna, as you wish. But I wonder where Hillary would fit in all of this? Guardian-Stabilzer? That would be a SJ
    Bill is definitely an SP, Artisan-Improviser, b/ very skillful and informative rather than directive contrast with SP Dumbya

  16. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    Sy Hersh’s new piece in the New Yorker supports the idea that the White House wants war and is headed in that direction:
    “They’re moving everybody to the Iran desk,” one recently retired C.I.A. official said. “They’re dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It’s just like the fall of 2002”—the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”
    That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”….
    At this time, I do not see the Senate of the United States opposing the war.
    Here is the roll call vote on HR 1585, Defense Authorization:
    Nays – 3
    Byrd (D-WV)
    Coburn (R-OK)
    Feingold (D-WI)
    Not Voting – 5
    Biden (D-DE)
    Clinton (D-NY)
    Dodd (D-CT)
    McCain (R-AZ)

  17. Arun says:

    Col. Lang wrote: …not yielding to anyone where actual American interests are involved but, also not pursuing the chimera of revolutionary social change either.
    I think some of America’s problems stem from the fact that it has many times effectively blocked evolutionary social change so I hope neither tearing down nor propping up regimes is a plank in this platform.

  18. ked says:

    “She is constantly trying to be all things to all people. One never knows where she actually stands.”
    David, it’s pretty clear – she’s a skilled politician standing for President.
    I could go on for some time criticizing her, however what distinguishes Hillary from other candidates, is that if elected, she is most likely to ACHIEVE whatever she intends. This is why she is so scary to the right wing (oh, & she’s a girl). The underlying questions are, “what does she REALLY intend?” (unlikely to be the focus of the campaigns) and (of course) “is she electable?”.
    Webb should stay in the Senate (he can campaign effectively for the Dem ticket from there). VP office is ruined & he wouldn’t last as SecDef.

  19. GSD says:

    Col. Lang,
    It appears that Iran is dropping the US dollar. Now more than 85% of their oil business is done with other currencies.
    The US/Iran war index just shot through the roof.

  20. Binh says:

    Does anyone here think it would be hard for the White House to get authorization to attack?
    Also, because of her careful “triangulation,” Hillary is in the absurd position of calling for “robust negotiations” with terrorists. If it’s okay to that with Iran, why not OBL?

  21. cletracsteve says:

    So, while I support this I ask:
    – What declaration of war has already been voted on to permit an attack of Iran that requires this legislation (we haven’t attacked other countries simply because of a terrorist organization)?
    – What signing statement is the unitary executive going to apply to this legislation?
    – What congress is going to impeach the President if he invades?
    – what (U.S. Supreme or International) court will take on this case?
    – What relevance does this have if the President claimes he is ordering surgical cross-border strikes on safe-havens of militias interfering in the already approved Iraq or GWOT use of military force?
    – What use is this once Israel provokes Iran and the President uses his existing authority for quick, short term response actions?

  22. jonst says:

    You wrote: “As for Mrs. Clinton, she remains all things to all people.”. Name me one politician, with a realistic chance to win who does not? Edwards? Obama? Spare me. Do you really know where they stand David Solomon? I don’t buy this demonization of Hillary. Its not that the things people say about her are all that wrong. Or wrong at all. But you could certainly same the about ALL the politicians running for Prez. Both parties. And yet some how, some way, they always wind up saying it loud and clear about whomever the Dems select as their nominee. One thing that Hillary said recently that I really loved. When asked about her high negatives, she replied something along the lines of ‘WHOEVER get the Dem nomination is going to be smeared, and if you don’t understand that dynamic you have not been watching the way the game is played since 1988’. Now they are going after her laugh. Its calculated. We’re told. And indeed it is. Damn calculated You think she is the only one with a calculated laugh? Its joke to even think that.

  23. johnf says:

    There are increasingly sure signs of a British General Election lasting til at least the end of October. I’d be very surprised if Brown – whose just announced more troop withdrawals – would go ahead with one unless he’d received cast-iron guarantees from Bushco that it would not be thrown into turmoil by an attack on Iran.
    Whatever happens after it – provided he is re-elected – is anyone’s guess. He’s emiting both hostile and peaceful smoke. But the Tories – his main opposition – have just been lauding John Bolton at their annual conference.

  24. Peter Principle says:

    “I think there is some chance of a Clinton/Webb ticket.”
    Naw, he’s too liberal for her, especially on economic issues.

  25. rjj says:

    Ms. Clinton’s laugh is tactical.
    Laughter is a perfectly proper response to our o’erweening media radiculi.**
    ** radix (root) is colloquial Latin for the mv; -ulus -uli, the diminutive thereof – singular and plural.

  26. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    What we are talking about is “preventive war.”
    Normally, under international law, this is considered a war of aggression and hence illegal. Hitler etal. liked the doctrine as the generation of that era noticed.
    wiki (but thin):
    “In international law, preventive war has no recognized status as distinct from a war of aggression.”
    One reason the Nazi’s liked the doctrine was because their legal theoretician Carl Schmitt legitimized it in his writings which also included legitimizing dictators and states of emergency.
    Neocons owing to their guru Leo Strauss, and non-neocons who follow Strauss, love Schmitt. Why? Schmitt was Strauss’s professor and mentor in Germany.
    new translation of a classic Schmitt text, reviewed:
    “Carl Schmitt. _The Concept of the Political_. Translated by George Schwab. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. xxxi +126 pp.
    Table of contents, foreword. $15.00 (paper), ISBN 0-226-73892-2.
    Reviewed for H-German by Robert D. Rachlin, Vermont Law School
    A New Chicago Edition of Carl Schmitt’s Seminal Work
    Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), the so-called “crown jurist of the Third Reich,”
    articulated a vision of politics dominated by the distinction between friend and enemy. For Schmitt, this distinction was not merely an attribute of the political. It was foundational; it served as a prerequisite, the condition _sine qua non_ of the political, which, in turn was a logical precursor of the state. This key concept is declared in the first sentence of _The Concept of the Political_: “The concept of the state presupposes the concept of the political” (p. 19). This foundational work is now available in an “expanded edition” from University of Chicago Press.
    Readers are likely to bring to it not only questions about its status as a justification for National Socialism and as a reflection of the many contradictions in Schmitt’s life, but may not be able to avoid making connections between his thought, the increasingly authoritarian nature of democracies, and events in contemporary politics. For Leo Strauss, whose comments on Schmitt are included in the book, Schmitt’s critique of liberalism was itself “in the horizon of liberalism” (p. 122). Readers are challenged by the work, and indeed by Schmitt’s life, to decide this matter for themselves.
    The division of the world into allies and opponents is likely to resonate with many readers; it also squared conveniently with the notions of the National Socialists. Schmitt was, of course, not the first to understand the political utility of the friend/enemy antithesis. From Cato the Elder to the Crusaders, from the American demonization of the “Hun” to their criticism of “godless communism,” extending to Islamicist use of the term “the Great Satan,” moments of crisis lend urgency to such characterizations. As Oren Gross and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin have noted, “counter-terrorism measures often actively produce and construct a suspect community. One is either with ‘us’ or with ‘them.’ There is no middle way.”[1] For Schmitt, however, the idea of the enemy was more than an instrument of politics or policy. It was antecedent to the very existence of the state.
    Schmitt’s significance for modern political thought includes his theory of the state of emergency (_Ausnahmezustand_), a condition that arises when the very existence of the state and its constitutional order are threatened by external or internal forces. In the state of emergency, legal norms are set aside as a new “sovereign” assumes power. Schmitt begins his other foundational work, _Politische Theologie_ (1922), with the famous statement: “Souverän ist, der über den Ausnahmezustand entscheidet.”[5] The existence of states of emergency, _états de siege_, and other challenges to national stability and the effect that such a condition should or should not have on the legal order have been subjects of widespread scholarly interest for many decades. The relevance of the subject to current political debates about the powers of the national executive vis-à-vis the challenge of transnational terror organizations requires no elaboration.”
    And so forth. This is excerpted from an academic list, should anyone wish to get the full review:
    From: H-NET List on German History [mailto:H-GERMAN@H-NET.MSU.EDU]

  27. John Moore says:

    I’d be happier with a Webb/ Clinton ticket than a Clinton/Webb ticket. Webb was a conservative Republican who is now essentially a conservative Democrat. He would be more palatable to Southern Democrats and former Southern Democrats who now vote Republican. Hillary not only has to defend her current policies and choices, but also her legacy as First Lady and her husband’s legacy. Those are millstones for her. It’s also amazing the emotional vitriol one sees at the mention of her name. People seem to either hate her or like her, and it’s purely an emotional reaction.

  28. DH says:

    John Moore:
    “I’d be happier with a Webb/ Clinton ticket than a Clinton/Webb ticket.”
    I doubt that Webb has the temperament necessary to run for president…too much of a loose cannon, what with his aide transporting Webb’s gun inside the Capitol and Webb dissing the President at that White House reception. For those reasons I think Hillary might worry about being upstaged by a Real Man.

  29. zanzibar says:

    An attack on Iran could lead to a free fall in the US$ – considering the precarious state it already is in.
    Vietnam’s central bank plans to remove the currency peg to prevent accelerating domestic inflation and to get ahead of the stampede for the exits. Our ME ally Qatar plans to significantly reduce its US$ holdings in its sovereign wealth fund. Our other petrosheikh buddy Saudi Arabia is also planning to delink its currency from the US$. The news of an air and cruise missile attack on Iran could be the spark for the Asians and the PetroSheikhs to hit the get out of dodge button. Without the $billions each week from them we could not be in the fight too long.

  30. jonst says:

    Off topic… but we mentioned the Liberty ship incident many times. Here is news about it.

  31. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    “America should seize every opportunity to force regime change in Syria and Iran, a former senior adviser to the White House has urged.”
    Cheney’s guy Wurmser. His wife works at Hudson Institute. “[Meyrav]Wurmser’s acute knowledge of the Palestinian Authority’s tactics led her to realize that the Oslo process was doomed to failure from the outset.” https://www.hudson.org/learn/index.cfm?fuseaction=staff_bio&eid=Wurmser
    It’s an inside the Beltway thing.

  32. DaveGood says:

    I see little practical difference between a vote for Clinton…. or anyone else America will be allowed to choose from.
    Your kids will still get sent to the mideast wars and your job to Mexico.

  33. Binh says:

    This is the first that I’ve read this about the Clinton-Webb proposal:
    It says that war with Iran must be authorized. Yet it specifies that authorization is not required to repel attacks, to thwart imminent attacks, or to engage in hot pursuit into enemy territory.
    From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bromwich/iran-the-decider-and-th_b_67706.html

  34. dawn says:

    Kyl-Lieberman simply does NOT authorize a strike against Iranian forces in Iran. It requests the use of military power against Iranian forces in IRAQ. There is simply no chance that our troops wouldn’t exert such power against Quds Forces that were attacking them or aiding those who attacked them in Iraq in any case.
    Designating the Quds Force as terrorist (which I believe Bush can do without Congressional authorization) doesn’t empower Bush to strike Iran in Iran without Congressional Authorization. Iran is ALREADY designated a state sponsor of terror, and Bush has ALREADY stated that those who harbor, support, hug or kiss terrorists, will be considered terrorist themselves. So, if he’s as eager to attack Iran as everyone supposes, and if the mere designation of a state or state entity as terrorist were sufficient justification for such an attack, he could ALREADY have done so. At the very least he could have used this argument to justify an attack. To my knowledge, he hasn’t done so because he cannot. Finally, Bush argued that Saddham Hussein harbored terrorists, yet he still found it necessary to go to Congress for a use of force authorization against Iraq. I cannot see how Kyl-Lieberman obviates such an authorization against Iran.

  35. You picked up on the political aspect of the joint press release and the “interesting” timing.
    By the way, did you have a chance to watch Webb on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”? He was very cagey when asked which candidate he would support. Nonetheless he did manage to slap down the Pelosi meme about superdelegates following the will of voters by saying that party leaders specifically gave superdelegates the power to vote for the person they thought would make the best candidate.
    If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it almost sounds like a talking point straight out of the Clinton campaign.

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