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    you mean there's somebody in Iraq not already packing an assault rifle or four?..., 2007-08-19 10:11:08 | Main | my wingnut outreach program is only in its infancy..., 2007-08-20 13:08:48

    adrift in a barroom, acting like a jerk and a kid:

    Perhaps the good news about the Bush Administration's decision (as proposed by one bipartisan H.R. 1324) to list the Iranian quds force as a terrorist organization is that the strange prohibition against describing state terrorism as "terrorism" and all the frenzied moral panic that word entails will be lifted, and we can start describing the Bush Administration accurately.

    Like some of the press reports Will Bunch suggests that:

    By explicitly linking the Iranian elite guard into the post 9/11 "global war on terror" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush's lawyers would certainly now argue that any military strike on Iran is now covered by the October 2002 authorization to use military force in Iraq, as part of their overly sweeping response to the 2001 attacks.

    The relevant bits of the 2002 AUMF grants them the privelidge of attacking anyone harboring those involved in 9/11 whenever the whim strikes them. The 2002 AUMF Against Iraq [pdf] grants the same privelidge to:

    1. defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
    2. enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

    Iraq poises no threat, clearly, and never did, and no UNSC resolution returned the favor of supporting an invasion of Iraq, at least to any literate sixth grader, and so the invasion of Iraq itself was an arguably illegal violation of that bill. But we're talking about the Bush administration, and an insufferably complicit Democratic congress. What Bunch et. al. are suggesting is the government could just expand the war into Iran for the arbitrary fuck of it and be none the worse for the wear. And they're probably right.

    Bunch figures as such the argument might be that Iran captured some Al Qaeda members and offered them to us in a terrorist exchange, and since Bush gave them the finger he could then turn around and say they're "harboring" Al Qaeda members.

    On the basis of the first AUMF - with the same legal tender - the US government bombs Waziristan on a fairly routine basis, has intermitent spats in Somalia, and has taken out targets in Yemen - and probably others I've missed - on the basis of striking such alleged Al Qaeda targets. They could bomb some podunk jail cell in Iran to the same none-effect. But that's not legal cover for a major military campaign of any sort inside Iranian territory. The second AUMF is rather narrowly constrained to Iraq, whether or not the Iranian government is supporting attacks against the US forces defending the Iranian allied Iraqi regime. There's no real legal basis here in existing law for a sustained attack on Iranian soil, not that anybody is ever going to hold this administration to any sort of legal constraints.

    So why bother declaring a forward unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization? The AP says it's to cut off finances to Iran, but the US has long since cut Iran off from our impressively degenerating stream of finance. Declaring them a "terrorist organization" grants the administration greater leeway to target Americans who have, say, travelled to Iran, or folks with family they send letters to, risking the possibility that Iran might get an unmarked stamp they can steam off and re-use and so facilitating "terrorist communications". But far as I can figure the Bush Administration can do pretty much whatever the fuck they want at this point, far as doing whatever the fuck they want is concerned.

    Back before the war most of the conservatives I know were sure all the saber rattling over Iraq was just saber rattling. Maybe it's just more of that.

    addenum: "I just sat through a hearing on Iran, and there is apparently universal bipartisan agreement in the committee that Iranians feel kindly toward Americans and welcome them as friends, and that Iranians should be brutally punished by the toughest economic sanctions possible."

:: posted by buermann @ 2007-08-19 23:54:40 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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