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Pelosi: Bush lacks authority to invade Iran
Posted by: McQ on Friday, February 16, 2007

Said the Speaker of the House:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Bush lacks the authority to invade Iran without specific approval from Congress, a fresh challenge to the commander in chief on the eve of a symbolic vote critical of his troop buildup in Iraq.

Pelosi, D-Calif., noted that Bush consistently said he supports a diplomatic resolution to differences with Iran "and I take him at his word."

At the same time, she said, "I do believe that Congress should assert itself, though, and make it very clear that there is no previous authority for the president, any president, to go into Iran."
OK. But that's a strawman argument if ever I've seen one.

No one is going to "invade" Iran if the decision to use military force is made. Why in the world would President Bush do such a thing to begin with, given the increasing commitment in both Iraq and Afghanistan? It makes no sense.

Let's get real here. If military force were to be used in the future, it would be limited to air strikes at key targets (infrastructure, communication, military installations, nuclear sites, naval assets, air defenses, etc).

Invasion would not only be foolish but unsustainable at this date and time.

While I agree with Pelosi's point, it's rather moot. If Bush decides to hit Iran with air strikes, there isn't a single solitary thing Congress or Speaker Pelosi can do about it as he has 90 days, under the War Powers Act, to pretty much do anything he wants with the military before going to Congress. And folks, in 90 days, one heck of a lot can be done with an air campaign ... especially if the purpose is to degrade and destroy various Iranian capabilities.

So while I hear all this angst expressed about plans to "invade" Iran, I'll tell you now it's not going to happen. That doesn't mean we won't strike Iran, however (and no I'm not saying I hope we do or calling for us to do so). And if we do, it will be both legal and something Congress will simply have to sit and watch for at least 90 days.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Wouldn’t the better headline be: "Bush: Pelosi lacks power to stop me from doing what I want".

Sure, she could stop him... provided she got a bill through the House, past the probable filibuster in the Senate, and all with enough votes to override Bush’s veto. Or, if she was going to go the War Powers route, provided she got the Courts to agree to hear the case and rule in her favor and provided Bush was willing to abide by that decision.

The reality is she can’t do much of anything to keep Bush from moving against Iran (which I feel he should have done long ago). As she’s not stupid, I figure she knows this and her real goal is to pose in front of the cameras and play to her constituency.
Written By: steve
URL: http://
seems to me Pelosi (and other members of congress) is simply setting the stage for the appearance of more "Executive Cowboy-ing" and "illegal actions". I agree completely that Pelosi can’t stop a wide range of options- but comments like this will make Bush look more like a rogue when he does what he would most likely do; as if he somehow magically circumvented some constitutional impediment Pelosi hints exists with such a statement.
Written By: Some Guy in Chicago
URL: http://
She’s just playing to the audience.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
She’s just playing to the audience.
Yeah, the Mullahs. And they’re loving it.

You gotta laugh. The Dems don’t have the sack to get tough and end this war, so they’re trying to show their chops by pre-emptively ending a non-existant war before it starts.

Profiles in courage, all of them.

In the meantime Nancy, why don’t you write up your opinions about what Bush can and can’t do vis a vis Iran and try to pass a nonbinding resolution? (One that exempts American Samoa of course)

Written By: shark
URL: http://
I don’t have the time, today, but in the case of Bosnia, the Clinton administration... including Hillary Clinton, argued loudly that they HAD such authority, and the the argument Pelosi makes now was all so much hogwash.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if someone could dig up a quote from Pelosi at the time, supporting Clinton’s right to bomb the crap out of Melosovich, without Congress’ specific approval?

Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Since it appears you’ve signed on to the constiutionality of the WPA, section 5(c) states:
(c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) [relating to the 60 day limit], at any time that United States Armed Forces are engaged in hostilities outside the territory of the United States, its possessions and territories without a declaration of war or specific statutory authorization, such forces shall be removed by the President if the Congress so directs by concurrent resolution.
So, it appears to me that Bush can order the bombing and Congress can immediately order a stop to it (and it wouldn’t be too hard to interpret that section as preventing the president from ordering such bombing if congress has in advanced disapproved).
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://

Do you know if that section has been constitutionally challenged? It looks suspect under Chada as violating the Presentment clause. I don’t know one way or the other. I’m just wondering if you do.
Written By: MichaelW
MichaelW - I don’t know, but the link I gave is to a CRS report on the War Powers Act that I think discusses constitutional challenges to the act (or at a minimum discusses views on its constitutionality).
Written By: Ugh
URL: http://
The War Powers Act has NEVER been challenged in the courts...neither Congress nor the President wish to give the courts the chance to embarass them nor to grant the SCOTUS any powers in the realm of Foreign Policy/National Security Policy. So it is not possible to determine if or if not provisions of the WPA are Constitutional or not, there are only OPINIONS, generally opinions based on whether you like this or that President or not.

The WPA has led to the POTUS "consulting" with Congressional leaders prior to and before the use of force and it has lead the the various AUMF that so many libertarians regret in place of Declarations of War.

I think it is fair to say that it ahs had a good effect on US policy, by eliminating the possibility of a Tonkin Gulf Resolution situation.....much of the complaining aobut the GWot and OIF ultimately get refered to the AUMF’s passed prior to Afghanstan and OIF...Congress has managed to get isteld mousetrapped by some of the language that it approved....but the President has chosen to go to Congress rather than risk a show down over the WPA.
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
MichaelW - I don’t know, but the link I gave is to a CRS report on the War Powers Act that I think discusses constitutional challenges to the act (or at a minimum discusses views on its constitutionality).
I see now. Thanks.
Written By: MichaelW

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