Nearly five years into the disastrous war in Iraq, many members of Congress complain that they were duped by the Bush administration and mistakenly trusted the intelligence they handed down. Despite this substantial mistake, Congress has not pushed back strongly against the administration’s claims about Iran’s nuclear program and its involvement in Iraq. Congress needs to demonstrate that they have learned their lesson and will demand accurate information and exercise oversight.
To encourage thorough examination of information relating to Iran, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is asking other representatives to sign a letter to the chairmen of the Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence committees, calling for hearings on an array of issues related to Iran. Here are some of the concerns he raises for further investigation:
Does the President believe he has the authority to take military action against Iran without authorization from Congress? If so, under what authority and in what circumstances?
From 2003-2006, Iran and the E.U. (with the tacit or explicit support of the U.S.) has exchanged a variety of proposals and counter proposals that explore the possibilities of diplomatic progress in a variety of areas, including over Iran’s nuclear program. What is the status of these negotiations? Why has little progress appear to have been made despite the similarities in the negotiating positions of Iran and the E.U.? Why has the U.S. conditioned our participation on a suspension of uranium enrichment rather than trying to achieve that through negotiations?
What evidence does the U.S. have that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons? What are the sources for this evidence? How reliable are they? Are there alternative explanations for this evidence?
What are Iran’s motives for pursuing nuclear weapons? Can these motives be addressed in a way that would lead Iran to abandon this pursuit?
What evidence does the administration have related to Iranian involvement in Iraq, including the alleged supply of weapons to groups killing U.S. troops and training of Shia militias? What are the sources for this evidence? How reliable is it? Are there alternative explanations?
Is there any evidence the Iranian government itself is involved in the alleged weapons smuggling?
Former U.N. weapons inspector David Kay recently recalled seeing stockpiles of explosively formed penetrators in Iraq when he was looking for weapons of mass destruction soon after the U.S. invasion. Is it possible that the weapons being used against our troops today have come from the black market and unguarded weapons depots rather than from Iran?
How do the different military services view military action against Iran? Are the Army and Marines supportive? What about the Navy and Air Force?
In addition to thoroughly examining claims about Iran, Congress must also assert its powers of oversight by explicitly stating that President Bush needs congressional authorization to launch military action against Iran. Click here to ask your representative to cosponsor a bill to prohibit funding for military action against Iran without congressional approval.