Monday, March 02, 2015

Bibi to Declare War

Tomorrow's the day that the Republican President of the United States, Benjamin Netanyahu, delivers his State of the Union address to Congress. He will, as he has done before, all but ask Congress for a declaration of war with Iran.
For years, Netanyahu has said that if the US doesn't bomb Iran then Israel will. For years, the US has not bombed Iran and neither has Israel. Netanyahu doesn't want to waste Israeli resources and lives on such a stupid war. He wants the US to fight a proxy war, to do all the stupid wasting, on his behalf.  Finally, he has an American Congress willing to act as his puppet.

This leads to an interesting thought experiment - What would happen if Congress declares a war the President didn't ask for? A Declaration of War requires only a simple majority to pass. It is a resolution, not a law. As such a Declaration of War is not subject to a presidential veto.

Obviously, President Obama would refuse to prosecute the war. But, Iran may not believe his diplomatic statements. They could respond by mining the Strait of Hormuz, trapping much of the Fifth Fleet (up to two carriers and 20 ships) in the Persian Gulf where it can be attacked relentlessly.  Israel would do nothing since the whole point of this is to force the US to do the fighting for her. There would be no grand global alliance against Iran as there was in the Afghan and Iraq wars.  The United States would be forced to fight a major war alone for the first time since 1898. And the war would be popular in some places as sharply rising oil prices would be a boon to US oil producing states.
But, perhaps, cooler heads in Iran would listen to President Obama. There is no actual shooting as the war declaration is ignored. Republicans for years have accused President Obama of treason for vague and idiotic reasons. This would give them actual grounds, aid and comfort to the enemy in a time of war. If a Republican like Ted Cruz gains the White House in 2016 he could file a criminal indictment against former President Obama for treason. Tried in the right court (i.e. Texas), a former president might be sentenced to execution for treason.

All of this is wildly unlikely. It's more likely that Mitch McConnell is an actual turtle-human hybrid. It's also possible that Netanyahu's speech will blow up at home and he will lose the Knesset elections set for two weeks from now. We can only pray.

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