History has taught us that governments which go through a difficult situation in the military field tend to expand their field of operations. Nixon, who was immersed in the Vietnam bottleneck, expanded the war into Cambodia. But the same delusions that took us to Iraq are being manipulated in Iran and Syria. Military confrontations along the border have increased and on October 1st, in a meeting held in the White House, the “options” against Syria including “special operations” were assessed. Government agents are already preparing the propaganda machinery to justify an attack.
The Bush administration seems to believe that the U.S. President has the power to launch a war on anybody it chooses without even having to consult with Congress. During the speech given by State Secretary Condoleezza Rice to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, Senator Chafee observed: “Under the Iraq war resolution, we restricted any military action to Iraq. So would you agree that if anything were to occur on Syrian or Iranian soil, you would have to return to Congress to get that authorization?”. Rice’s reply? “Senator, I don’t want to try and circumscribe presidential war powers. And I think you’ll fully understand that the President retains those powers in the war on terrorism and in the war on Iraq, since his options remain open”.
The provisions of the Constitution are wisely designed to protect the people of our country from just the kind of dubious war that the Bush administration conducted against Iraq - and which the great majority of Americans now believe was a mistake. Similarly, the UN Charter protects not only countries that might be attacked, but also the people of countries whose leaders may be tempted to conduct such attacks. Nothing could do more for national security today than a reinvigoration of these constraints on military adventurism. The Congress and the American people need to make one thing perfectly clear to the President: Any military action undertaken without the explicit endorsement of the U.S. Congress and the UN is not an “option”.
As the President himself said at the end of Fahrenheit 911: “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!” The Congress and the American people allowed President Bush to fool us into war with Iraq. Shame on us if we allow him to do it again in Syria, Iran, or anywhere else.

ZMag (United States)

Attack Syria? Invade Iran? By what Constitution?”, by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith, ZMag, October 20, 2005.