You may say that I'm a dreamer, but this hateful and unconstitutional amendment to the already-gratuitous Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 proposed by Rep. Thomas Cotton, R-Ark was a wonderful opportunity to put away not only Dick Cheney but pretty much the entire clan. It wasn't possible to indict Cheney for war crimes, violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, or even under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for paying bribes before he was VP, which was good enough for Spiro T. Agnew. Could cutting deals in the 90's with Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani be the one unpardonable act?
Too bad cooler heads (Alan Grayson and Ed Royce) prevailed and convinced Cotton to withdraw his amendment. “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”
Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would "automatically" punish family members of people who violate U.S. sanctions against Iran, levying sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
Cotton also seeks to punish any family member of those people, "to include a spouse and any relative to the third degree,"
"There would be no investigation," Cotton said during Wednesday's markup hearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. "If the prime malefactor of the family is identified as on the list for sanctions, then everyone within their family would automatically come within the sanctions regime as well. It'd be very hard to demonstrate and investigate to conclusive proof."Halliburton under the Cheney regime dodged Iran & Libya Sanctions Act of 1996 as documented by 60 Minutes in 2004. Halliburton's price: $40 million a year.
Cheney was upfront about it:
"We seem to be sanction-happy as a government. The problem is that the good Lord didn't see fit to always put oil and gas resources where there are democratic governments."
The Iran Sanctions Act, which was aimed at companies doing $20M or more in business with Iran, was never enforced, causing John Bolton to fulminate as follows:
Failing to enforce the law by punishing such companies both sent "a signal to the Iranians that we're not serious" and undercut Washington's credibility when it did threaten action.Meanwhile Iran has barred Cheney's old business partner and fellow billionaire elitist Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (president of Iran 1989-1997) from running in Iran's June elections along with another rival of Grand Ayatollah Khamenei. Juan Cole describes this as an authoritarian, even totalitarian development. The actual workings and implications of foreign politics are far too complicated for pundits or Congress, so if they are looking for a way to show Iran that the US is filled with Very Serious People who are Purpose-Driven to boot*, then they could have done no better than to have sacrificed the Cheney Clan on the altar of Empire.
Alas for the lost opportunity! To paraphrase Ahmad Chalabi, Congress could have been "heroes in error."
*And I'm the gal to boot them, too. :)
1:42 PM PT: Update: I hope I don't have to tell anyone that this amendment is completely horrifying and that the only thing I would have added to Alan Grayson's response was a motion to censure Cotton for bringing shame to our nation (to say nothing of humanity). Don't know how Congress works, maybe that isn't the done thing.