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I've seen several diaries on the theme of "Bush planning to attack Iran and he's more than crazy enough to do it" and counter diraies along the lines of "Attack on Iran - not gonna happen."  Most of the comments in both types of diaries have been of the "Yes, he will" or "No, he won't" variety or explanations of why it would be foolish strategically, militarily impossible, catastrophic for the US and/or the world, lead to WWIII (or IV or V or VI), etc.  
What I haven't seen, perhaps because they've quickly scrolled away into obscurity, are diaries dedicated to discussing the following questions:  
 - What might happen immediately after Bush issues an order to attack?
 - What legal (and, possibly, extra-legal) actions might be taken to prevent this order from being executed?  And by whom?

There have been a few comments/threads addressing these questions, e.g., in a recent diary postulating a military coup in the US (though the diarist's concern was that the military might execute such a coup for Bush's benefit, not to prevent an attack on Iran).  In any case, I thought it was high time to attempt to inspire a discussion focussed on how to prevent any such attack order from being carried out.  What are the  possibilities?

And, here's the thing:  I don't have a fucking clue and I'd bet most Kossacks don't either.   So, this is a "call to keyboards" for those Kossacks who DO have a clue about the constitutional and legal issues raised to discuss/debate this and answer dumb/clever questions posed by the rest of us.

To kick this off, I'll make myself the first target for derisive snark by offering a couple of ideas:

1)  Any attack order issued by Bush as C-in-C would likely be based on White House interpretation of congressional assent to pursue the "War on Terror" and to invade Iraq, a murky legal question at best.  Could a member (or members) of the Joint Cheifs, to whom the order would presumably be given, then approach Congress and/or SCOTUS questioning the legality of such an order?  Are they legally/constitutionally OBLIGATED to verify the legality of such an order?

2) WOULD/could any member/members of the JC do such a thing?  Claims have been made in comments to various diaries that there is no consensus among the JC for or against attacking Iran, with a couple postulating that some military branches are "gung-ho" while others are vigorously resisting.  I would not like to see this devolve into speculation about who might for and who might be against.  I would rather start from the assumption that succesful military action (as remote as that possibility might be depending on how one defines "success")  against Iran would require all services to be acting together.  More crucial to this discussion is the question, "Would successful RESISTANCE to such an order require unanimous consent of all branches of the military?"

3) Could Congress stop the excution of such an order merely by stating that such an action is not authorized?  Not "would they" but "COULD they"?  How would this happen?  What would be the mechanism?  This is THE important constraint that I'd like potential commenters to impose on themselves.  I'm personally not interested in debating (again) whether or not a Rethuglican-controlled Congress WOULD oppose the President.  

4)  And, of course, what can WE, the people, do?

The scenario, then, is this:

Bush issues the order.  We, the people, don't want it executed; the military doesn't want to do it and Congress doesn't want it to be carried out.  What happens next?

Originally posted to sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:26 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not looking for tips, just ideas and (13+ / 0-)

    productive debate.  And maybe ideas for a poll.

    Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

    by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:15:59 AM PDT

  •  Without (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kagro X, hind, cotterperson, litho

    Congressional authorization?

    Impeach.

    •  Impeach on what basis? (0+ / 0-)

      And how long would that take?  And, could the attack be carried out in the meantime?  Would the order to attack necessarily be suspended during the proceedings?

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:25:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  On the basis (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hind, cotterperson, Jesterfox

        that only Congress has the authority to declare war, not the president.

        How long would the impeachment take?  Who knows.

        Could the attack be carried out in the meantime?  Hopefully not.

        Would the order to attack be suspended during the proceedings?  I doubt bush would do so.

        •  AS Jeff Huber notes below, (0+ / 0-)

          then there's the War Powers Resolution of 1973.  Does that cover this situation?  And, again, who has the legal/constitutional power to prevent a Presidential order to attack from being carried out?  What's the specific mechanism for that?  How quickly can the proces be engaged?

          For instance, could a citizen (or member of Congress) get an emergency hearing in a federal court challanging the legality of the order?  If the federal court agreed, ho w quickly could it make it to SCOTUS?
          Nad, then, could SCOTUS overrule a C-in-C order?

          Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

          by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:54:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The war powers resolution of 1973 (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sxwarren

            did not (and could not) amend the Constitution, which provides that only Congress can declare war. I guess this whole diary depends on what you mean by "attacking" Iran. I read the diary to suggest a scenario whereby Bush orders an Iraq-style invasion of Iran.  If that is the case, he needs Congressional authorization, and although it might be OK to get that authorization 60 or 90 days later, he still needs to do it.  If you want to know more about the 1973 war powers resolution, look here.

            Wh has the legal/constitutional power to prevent a Presidential order to attack from being carried out?  Like I said above, if Bush launched an invasion without any valid reason and without any Congressional authority, Congress can and should impeach.

            What's the specific mechanism for that? The impeachment process.  See 1998.

            How quickly can the proces be engaged?  Who knows, but see 1998.

            For instance, could a citizen (or member of Congress) get an emergency hearing in a federal court challanging the legality of the order?  Maybe, but standing is frequently a problem in federal court, plus, the federal courts have various doctrines that might prevent them from hearing such a dispute.

            If the federal court agreed, how quickly could it make it to SCOTUS? Who knows.

            Nad, then, could SCOTUS overrule a C-in-C order?  Sure, anything is possible, but who knows.

  •  When people talk about the JC (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hind, cotterperson, kck, kidneystones

    stopping this war, they need to keep in mind that they are asking them to defy civilian authority. Not the greatest precedent, and also criminal.

  •  We have to march (5+ / 0-)

    A "premptive" march would be best, but if Bush starts a war in Iran we have to occupy Washinton DC.

    Completely peaceful of course but we as americans will have to march on the capital.

    Millions of us will have to do it.

    Never give up on Peace

    by Gator on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:25:50 AM PDT

  •  Why the quotes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren

    Why the quotes qround 'orders' ???

    •  Limited formatting options in titles. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slksfca

      I was trying to find a way, in the title, to make a distinction.  Not "What if Bush 'attacks' Iran" with the assumption that the bombing has already begun, but rather, "What if Bush orders an attack, but nobody wants to do it?"

      Maybe different punctuation would have been clearer.

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:34:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My thoughts... (7+ / 0-)

    As I read the War Powers Resolution of 1973, the president essentially has a free hand to conduct combat ops for 60-90 days before Congress can step in and stop him.  So if young Mister Bush decides to damn the political torpedoes, I don't see anything the legislature can legally do to stop him.

    Do we really want to see the military pull some sort of coup and refuse to obey orders?  I don't think so.  A mass set of resignations from the top brass--or the threat of such a thing--might be as close a thing as would be practicable.

    Ultimately, I think the only "real" check we have is the specter of a dismantling of the GOP by the electorate, but as I said earlier, that only works if Bush is acting rationally.

    Commander Jeff Huber, US Navy (Retired) is a freelance writer in Virginia, USA.

    by Jeff Huber on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:27:30 AM PDT

    •  Gets to the heart of one of my questions. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson

      I'm not proposing that the military ever defy a legal order from the C-in-C.  But what does the military do if there's clearly a question regarding the legality of an order?  Is there any provision for this in the 1973 War Powers Resolution?  Is there any legal wiggle room?

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:37:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see it getting to that (4+ / 0-)

        This isn't a simple question of Bush gives and order and the military obeys.  Rather, the military actually has to cooperate in the issuing of the order.

        Does Bush have the knowledge needed to draw up operational plans for a strike against Iran?  No, he needs Pentagon officials to develop and implement the strategy.

        My belief is that there is already sufficient dissent within the US armed forces to make it highly unlikely that an attack could be organized.  Nevertheless, the President is the Commander in Chief and he does have the formal authority to override his commanders.

        If he does so, the attack will almost certainly be carried out.  There is nothing Congress or the Courts can do institutionally to prevent an attack -- all they can do is punish the President ex post facto for his actions.

        By that time, however, it will be too late.  We need, now, to organize political opposition to a war against Iran.  We need to preempt the war.

        •  Federal courts? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson

          For instance, could a citizen (or member of Congress) get an emergency hearing in a federal court challenging the legality of the order?  If the federal court agreed, how quickly could it make it to SCOTUS?

          And, then, could SCOTUS overrule a C-in-C order?  Would it have that power under the constitution if it chose to rule that Congress had not formally provided the required authorization?

          Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

          by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:58:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  'John Marshall (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            taylormattd, BurnetO, sxwarren

            has made his decision.  Now let us see him enforce it."

            apocryphal, attributed to Andrew Jackson in reaction to the Supreme Court's decision in Worcester v. Georgia.

            Though he never said it, there is still a truth expressed in the statement.  The Supreme Court relies on the goodwill of the Executive for the enforcement of its orders.

            In the case we're talking about, I wouldn't exactly want to rely on that goodwill...

      •  The problem: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sxwarren

        What's a legal order if it comes from the C-in-C?  Especially if he orders something in the name of national self-defense?

        Commander Jeff Huber, US Navy (Retired) is a freelance writer in Virginia, USA.

        by Jeff Huber on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:07:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Precisely my question. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jesterfox

          Would it be legal for Bush to order the bombing of Canada to commence tomorrow morning?  If not, why not?  And how would that be different from ordering the bombing of Iran?  And, if it wouldn't be legal, what recourse is there available, and to whom, to prevent the order from being executed by the military?

          Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

          by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:51:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Upon the First Warning: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren
    1.  Stay clear of all windows.
    1.  Keep hands free of glasses, bottles, cigarettes      etc...
    1.  Stand away from bar, table, orchestra (optional), equipment and furniture.
    1.  Loosen necktie, unbutton coat and any other restrictive clothing.
    1.  Remove glasses, empty pockets of all sharp objects.
    1.  Immediately upon seeing the brilliant flash of nucular explosion, bend over and place your head firmly between your legs.
    1.  Then kiss your ass goodbye!

    Freedom...er...FreeDems are on the March!

    by Asinus Asinum Fricat on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:36:13 AM PDT

  •  $5/gal gasoline the same hour (0+ / 0-)

    Since the oilco's would be privy to BushCo's plans, that'd be the first sign you'd see, as they'd figure they could get away with it.

    If they get any more cash flooding in, they'd choke and drown. Well...I wish they would.

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross" - Sinclair Lewis

    by Loboguara on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 07:45:02 AM PDT

  •  If Bush issues the order, (5+ / 0-)

    I believe the only ones who can stop him are the military.  If they don't stop him, we'll all be helplessly watching the bombing on tv.

    No one will or can do anything to stop him if the military goes along. All of the huge marches, that took place here and around the world, against his war/occupation on Iraq were dismissed as "exercises of free speech but, hey, we're gonna do what we're gonna do," by this administration. Why would he listen to the people now?  We're irrelevant to his agenda.

    Congress hasn't been able to do anything about all the rest of the illegal stuff this imperial president has done as he consolidates more and more power; why would they do anything if he decides to bomb Iran?

    •  Not why, but 'how'? (0+ / 0-)

      IF, a majority in Congress really wanted to stop an attack on Iran ordered by the President/C-in-C, HOW would they go about doing so?  Is there any legal/constitutional recourse to follow that can be implemented in time to prevent the order from being carried out?  If so, what can we do to make sure that this course is followed?

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:46:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  General Strike (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, sxwarren, kck, Cat Whisperer

    I've been promoting the idea of General Strike as an appropriate response to news of Shock&Awe over Iran.

    General Strike is the Nuke of non-violent protest/action, the last resort when we retract our consent to be governed in so incompetant a manner.

    I go into it a bit in this comment

    This level of action seems to be off most people's radar screen as possible or efficatious; a pipe dream.
    I will be called absurd for suggesting this course of action, but I have yet to hear a better alternative response.

    -8.0, -7.03 don't always believe what you think...

    by claude on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:16:13 AM PDT

    •  Exactly my thought for that part of it. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      highfive

      I've fantasized about a general strike accompanied by a mass march on DC coming from all corners of the country.  Literally, walking peacefully en masse.

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:43:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Preemtively march for Velvet Solidarity (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sxwarren

      Americans should start marching in solidarity with Arab families in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran. Even short of attacking Iran, our footprint in the ME is an unjust overwhelming hardship for families, globally.

      I suggest we march for Solidarity and create us some velvet...

      > 518,000 American children are in foster care. Got any bandwidth?

      by kck on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:56:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Bush orders an air attack (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jesterfox, sxwarren

    It will all be over one way or another before we know it.  The Air Force will either do it or find some way not to do it (probably by resignations, I'd guess).  So we don't do anything.

    Land or sea invasions take too long to set up.  We (and Iran) will see it coming a mile away.  You need too many divisions to pull a surprise attack.

    •  Even an air attack would require obvious (0+ / 0-)

      preparations unless Bush used ICBMs.  There would need to be significant involvement of the Navy (mobile launch platforms for cruise missles, etc.) that would probably require some respositioning of ships into a configuration that would be easily recognizable to the rest of the world's military straegizers, including Iran's.  It would be difficult to make any significant attack a surprise (except for the ICBM thing).

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 08:57:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would hope no one went. (0+ / 0-)

    Althought I'd understand if some need the money.

  •  I think an order ends the question. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren

    I don't believe there are any effective constitutional means for preventing the execution of a military attack ordered by the president, even if it appears nonsensical.

    We're limited to judging the wisdom of the action after the fact.

    •  So, a Congressional Resolution, clarifying (0+ / 0-)

      and specifying the circumstances under which an attack on Iran would be authorized, and specifically excluding pre-emptive attacks, is about our only hope at ths point?

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 09:47:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Then (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren

    I move to Australia. Do they let in Tiggers?

    Given a choice between a real Republican and a Democrat who acts like a Republican, Americans will choose the real Republican every time - Harry Truman

    by tiggers thotful spot on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 10:01:17 AM PDT

  •  Most likely scenario IMHO: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren, Cat Whisperer

    ibn Laden and company (Hezbollah, thus Iran) "cause" attack somewhere that is "evidence" of the terrorists coming together under Iran's leadership. The attack is sufficiently shock and awful that emotions are easily played - and no one (again) dares question Bushco's innocence. In fact, shadow players (Black Ops guys) have been setting this up all along. ibn Laden and Naserallah are not directly in cahoots, but are dealing with the same players.

    This allows a suspending of November elections, Cheney's instituting the final touches on the legalese (Patriot Act II, wiretapping no longer an issue, media suppression) and is made safe for launching an attack.

    Little does the public know the kinds of weapons available to the American military that might be employed (knocking out the Iranian electric grid using HAARP, for instance. Many Darpa programs become first-line use. Everyone (including the terrorists) are amazed and shocked.

    So shocked that everyone is speechless for a time. Everyone is transfixed by what they are seeing.

    The real state of Total Information Awareness becomes apparent as that database becomes used as justification for detaining people who are in open opposition to the Cheney Rule. Even powerhouses that disagree with Bushco are made silent by the information that can be used against them.

    Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Iranians and sympathizers decided that this is not a PR war anymore. Muslims slowly begin to organize to end USA domination. They turn to China and Russia. China does not want to "crash" the USA currency. Russia (a rising power in its own right) does. Russia, other oil-rich (Caspian and the "stans") along with Venezuela make a pact to provide oil to allies soothing China. China demands a cash-out of Treasuries, the dollar crashes, and their real financial situation is revealed to the American people - who are rendered completely impotent by the state of their finances.

    The ruling class has long ago secured their future. The remaining "elites" must depend on their "friends in high places" and are compliant. The middle-class, locked into their mortgages, even as housing prices tumble, become slaves to banks: They owe their souls to the "company store".

    The American Nation, as we have known it, ceases to exist. Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Palestinian, Egyptians, Iraqis and Iranians attempt to work toward a unified Pan-Arabic state - but fail repeatedly due to differing interests. China and Russia (now the leading oil producer) become dominant.

    If this scenario does not terrify any normal American into raging on the streets - then I do not know what will. Getting this scenario (certainly, logical as all the pieces are in place) into the mainstream consciousness, as an alternative to blind obedience when an attack comes, is the the only antidote I can think of - an innoculation against Big Brother.

    As far as preventing the original shocking attack by the dreaded "islamofascists"... we still are only beginning to understand how 9-11 was played. We will not be able to prevent the catalyzing attack, if it comes.

    Between now and November may be the most dangerous time in the history of our nation, and the world.

    Perhaps this is just idle scenario-playing, and I hope that I am wrong... but I have no debt, little database and have a darkening in my soul...

    If you dance with the devil, then you haven't got a clue; 'Cause you think you'll change the devil, but the devil changes you. - illyia

    by illyia on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 10:29:39 AM PDT

    •  Sadly, I too, have imagined this same scenario. (0+ / 0-)

      And am terrified because it seems that all the pieces are in place awaiting the "catalyzing event."  I thought for awhile that it might be the Israel-Hizbollah war, but it perhaps began too early.

      Private life is all about managing pain. In business and government, this means externalizing and deferring costs whenever possible.

      by sxwarren on Sun Aug 27, 2006 at 11:25:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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