This blog spends a lot of time hunting down and attacking the anti-Semitism that comes from the Left. It’s worth remembering, though, that anti-Semitism also has a long and honored history on the Right. Lately, Patrick Buchanan is the poster boy for this kind of ugly thinking. He exposed himself again today in an article he wrote — an article that relies on a story from the ultra-Leftist Nation magazine — blaming AIPAC’s pressure for Nancy Pelosi’s decision not to cut into the President’s constitutional power to declare war.
The big hoo-ha revolves around a spending bill for Iraq that would have required President Bush to seek permission from Congress before launching a war against Iran. Buchanan is incensed that Nancy Pelosi refused to go along with this, blaming the fact that some attendees booed during a speech she gave an AIPAC gathering in which she criticized the Iraq War. From this, he drags in the fact that Israel is worried about Iran and, voila, according to The Nation and to Buchanan, Pelosi was so frightened by the AIPACers, and so sensitive to their fear on Israel’s behalf about Iran, that she effectively gave away Congress’ right under Art. 1, sec. 8 of the Constitution to declare War.
Just to fill you in on the legislative blanks, here’s the source of Buchanan’s outrage:
According to John Nichols of The Nation, Pelosi’s decision to strip the provision barring Bush from attacking Iran without Congress’ approval “sends the worst possible signal to the White House.”
“The speaker has erred dangerously and dramatically,” writes Nichols. Her “disastrous misstep could haunt her and the Congress for years to come.”
Nichols does not exaggerate.
If Bush now launches war on Iran, he can credibly say Congress and the Democrats gave him a green light. For Pelosi, by removing a provision saying Bush does not have the authority, de facto concedes he does have the authority.
Bush and Cheney need now not worry about Congress.
They have been flashed the go sign for war on Iran.
Pelosi & Co. thus aborted a bipartisan effort to ensure that if we do go to war again, we do it the constitutional way, and we do it together.
Nothing in the provision would have prevented Bush, as commander in chief, from responding to an Iranian attack or engaging in hot pursuit of an enemy found in Iraq. Nor would the provision have prevented Bush from threatening Iran. It would simply have required him to come to Congress — before launching all-out war.
Buchanan can spin this as much as he wants, but the fact is that the bill as it stands does nothing to affect the fact that, under the Constitution, it’s still Congress that gets to declare war. Of course, presidents have always found ways around this fact (witness the “police action” in Korea in the 1950s), but the bottom line is that Congress gets to declare war, and all that’s left to a determined President is either to convince or to circumvent Congress, as has been done since the Civil War era. It’s that simple. A mere funding bill cannot give away Congress’ powers, nor is it a green light saying that Bush can do whatever the Hell he wants. And unlike Buchanan, I’m sure that Bush isn’t fool enough to believe that this funding mandate is a green light, allowing him to act utterly without Congressional limitations (and funding, let’s never forget that funding). Only a man in the grip of an anti-Semitic rage would weave together these little bits and pieces into a full throttle anti-Semitic attack against a nefarious Jewish lobby. Shame on him!