Patrick J. Buchanan: Bush has no authority to launch a war on Iran
There are powerful forces in this country and Israel that wish the United States to launch a massive preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, and her military and naval assets as well. They will push the president hard to do this before he leaves office. These forces include the Israelis, their strong lobby in the United States, the neoconservatives, some conservative and centrist newspapers, and GOP prospective presidential candidates. They see Iran as an existential threat to Israel and a grave threat to the United States and its interests in the region. The President appears to believe Iran is an intolerable threat, should it acquire a nuclear capability. Sooner rather than later is the argument pressed upon him, as it was upon the Kaiser by the German General Staff in late July 1914.
However, President Bush does not have the authority to launch a war on Iran, as Congress has not authorized such a war, and it must under the Constitution. Those of us who believe such a war would be a calamity for Iran, the United States, and the region will be demanding that President Bush first get the approval of an admittedly weak Congress, before he takes us to war. Also, fear of what war with Iran would do to oil prices, to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, to our vulnerable friends in the Gulf, to the war effort in Iraq - and many other considerations - are inhibitions. There is not here in America, today, the consensus for war on Iran that there was for war on Iraq, and there remains a strong possibility that opponents of a new war can prevail. But the war drums have already begun to beat in the same precincts where the drums began to beat for war on Iraq.
This is the great issue, the great question of the second half of George W. Bush's second term.
Patrick J. Buchanan