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No Congress, No Peace

Jonathan Schwarz writes in Mother Jones:

Gauging the Bush administration’s true intentions toward Iran is not easy. Each week brings a new story that hints at a struggle between the hardliners who’d like to take down one more point on the Axis of Evil and the realists who prefer one disastrous Middle East conflict at a time. Given the administration’s track record, uncoordinated and sporadic attempts by members of Congress to prevent an attack on Iran will restrain it no more than would cobwebs. Yet Congress does possess the power to stop a war—if it chooses to exercise it. If we wake up one morning to find cruise missiles flying, the responsibility will not be Bush’s alone. It will also belong to a Democratic-controlled Congress that could have acted but decided not to.

What, then, would a serious congressional strategy to block a war with Iran look like? Constitutional scholars and congressional staff agree there’s no one magic answer. The alarming truth is that 220 years after the adoption of the Constitution, there are few settled answers about what legal powers the executive branch possesses to start a war. But there are several steps Congress could take to make a war with Iran politically very difficult for the White House.

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