Ok, so we are making progress. We didn't learn that the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq was completely wrong until after we had invaded the country in the worst foreign policy debacle in American history. Now we learn from the just released National Intelligence Estimate -- "Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" - that Iran halted its nuclear program in the fall of 2003, contrary to the previous NIE report and the Bush administration saber rattling.
Ok, so we are making progress -- our intelligence agencies don't want to be caught yet again providing this trigger-happy administration with yet another false justification for a disastrous war. How about if the Congress follows suit and undoes its complicity with what could be an even worse disaster.
Don't get too comfortable with this new NIE report. It is not likely to dissuade those itching for an attack on Iran. The neocons continue to "pray every day" for a military strike on Iran, as neocon godfather and Rudy Giuliani adviser Norman Poderetz recently told President Bush.
Freedom's Watch, the new advocacy group connected to Vice President Dick Cheney, has publicly declared its intention to raise tens of millions for an intense PR campaign featuring ads in key media markets across the country. Their number one priority? The threat posed by Iran.
And, don't expect anything reasonable from Congress anytime soon. The only thing that they have been willing to do on Iran is pass the Kyl-Lieberman amendment in the Senate declaring an Iranian government agency as a "terrorist group," a move that Senator Jim Webb describes as "tantamount to a declaration of war." The House defeated a measure demanding that the president can only attack Iran with an authorization from Congress.
What we need to be demanding now -- particularly in light of this recent NIE correction on the threat of a nuclear armed Iran -- is that Congress reverse its dreadful track record and prohibit the President from attacking Iran without explicit authorization from Congress (hey -- remember the Constitution?) and insist the United States immediately begin to pursue vigorous and broad diplomacy with Iran -- starting with direct negotiations without preconditions.
Getting Congress to reverse course and back off its dreadful record on Iran is not going to be easy. But, we need to start. That is why the Win Without War coalition will host a live web-streamed National Town Hall Meeting Tuesday night from the Jack Morton Auditorium on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Collin Powell's former chief-of-staff at the State Department, Col Lawrence Wilkerson and Lt. General Robert Gard, former President of the National Defense University, will be featured. They will be discussing the prospects and the consequences of a military strike on Iran. And, we will ALL be talking about what we need to do to reverse the wrongheaded direction of Congress and the White House on this issue.
Join us on-line at www.standupcongress.org, or, if you are near Washington, join us at the Jack Morton Auditorium on the corner of 21st and H NW. It is time!
Tom Andrews, a former Member of Congress from the first Congressional District of Maine, is the National Director of Win Without War, a coalition of forty-two national membership organizations including the National Council of Churches, the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, the Sierra Club, and MoveOn. Win Without War led the national campaign opposing the US invasion of Iraq and is now leading opposition to the Bush administration's policy there.
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