President Obama, alongside Prime Minister Brown and President Sarkozy, gave a stern warning to the malevolent theocrats and their minions ruling unhappy Iran. ..again. Obama missed the chance three months ago to incite a true revolution in Iran after the corrupt presidential election. He has done nothing more than Bush or Clinton to end the tyranny of the mullahs. In fact, Obama has seriously weakened our ability to influence events in Iran by gutting the CIA. Is there any reason to believe this president will take direct action before the mullahs build a nuclear device? No, there is not.
Obama is no better than Bush, but he is not much worse either. Although President Bush quite rightly identified the mullahs as one of the three centers of the Axis of Evil, he took very few actions to weaken the mullahs or give support to the oppressed Iranian people. Republicans have a chance to separate themselves from the failed policies of Obama and Bush. Congressional Republicans ought to introduce a resolution, supported by as many Republicans as possible, to declare war on Iran.
Congressional Democrats will not allow this resolution to pass, of course, but that is not the point: Republicans need to clearly state just what we must do to stop an evil regime in Iran from beginning a hot world war. Congress has the exclusive power to declare war. How a declared war is conducted is up to the president, and the resolution of war should confirm that fact. If President Obama elects to wage war without direct military operations, fine. If he chooses not to win a declared war, then that is his failure and not the failure of America.
If congressional Democrats elect to suppress a resolution to declare war on Iran, then that is on their shoulders as well. The Republican position would be very direct. Iran supplies weapons and helps to kill our soldiers in Iraq and in Afghanistan. The mullahs have publicly and often declared America as the "Great Satan." Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust and calls for the death of Israel. The Iranian theocrats are trying, as fast as they can, to acquire nuclear weapons which would allow them to produce deadly mischief in the world. The national security reasons for declaring war are compelling.
But moral reasons for ending the reign of the malevolent mullahs are just as compelling. Women are stoned to death and officially raped by the "government" of Iran. Ahmadinejad, by his own words, appears to have devised a "Final Solution to the Gay Question." Christians, Jews, Bahai, Zoroastrians and other religious minorities have no real rights in Iran. The mullahs purport to have a sort of democracy, but then they steal elections and deny the Iranian people any role in their government.
Republicans should push – and push hard – these moral reasons for liberating Iran. Feminists, gays, Jewish supporters of Israel, and other constituencies which have historically supported Democrats can and should be put on the spot: the corrupt tyrants of Iran hate you; the people of Iran do not; you should seek a free, tolerant, and peaceful Iran, and that will only come if we help the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs.
Republicans should point out that a declaration of war would enable us to recognize a government in exile and to support that government as well. This government could explicitly state its governing principles, like restoring traditional Iranian neutrality with regard to Israel, bringing back as well a tolerant and pluralistic Iran in which women have equal rights, religious minorities are respected, and homosexuals are not persecuted. America might able to persuade other nations to recognize this government as well, perhaps even moderate Arab governments like Morocco. This government in exile could talk directly to the Iranian people, coordinate resistance, and be ready as soon as the people acted to bring in a near regime.
Declaring war on Iran would also authorize the president, if America needed to use limited military force against the Iranian dictators to do so. This need not mean invasion, but it could mean strikes against specific targets in Iran and it could also mean direct collaboration with Israel to end the nuclear capacity of Iran. If the mullahs wanted to send troops against our forces in Iraq or in Afghanistan, fine: overwhelming air superiority and very smart military technology, along with the most battle tested troops in the world, could provide humiliating military defeats for an aggressive Iran.
We are, whether we know it or not, at war with Iran because Iran, in every meaningful sense of the word, has declared war on us. Republicans have very few cards to play in this undeclared but very deadly war. Compelling Obama and his Democrats to deny the reality of this war, which is not only against America but against Israel, against women, against gays, and against global peace is a change from the failed policies of the past.
We need today a Churchill, or at least a Party of Churchill. Republicans should be that party. There is precious little that a minority party in Congress which does not hold the presidency can do about grave national security threats. Republicans are in that situation. So what should they do? Everything they can, and that means asking Congress to declare war on Iran.