The "Finding" on Iran 


                The Bush-Cheney administration has, once again, demonstrated its disregard of the American people, international law, and the critical system of Congressional oversight.  Through the issuance of a recent Presidential "Finding", a document issued by the Executive branch justifying action on a specific issue, Bush has authorized more than 400 million dollars to conduct covert operations in Iran, including the killing of key individuals identified by Cheney's office.  Congress should have immediately refused to fund the operation, but in an election year the White House knows that if the knee-jerk fear of alleged terrorism can be exploited yet again, many members of Congress will go along with the plan.

                I suggest there are several reasons why the plan to conduct covert, lethal operations in Iran is a terrible idea.

                1.  Violent aggression obstructs constructive dialogue.   Throughout the Bush administration's reign, heavy-handed aggression has been evident in many aspects of policy.  The result has been a startling decline in America's standing in the world, and an increase in the mistaken notion that violence provides constructive outcomes.  Many nations, both potential allies and potential adversaries, have come to believe the U.S. has no desire to help build a more peaceful world.  That perception makes it more difficult for the new president to show the world the U.S. is serious about being a constructive member of global society.  Furthermore, a majority of Americans has clearly expressed the belief that diplomacy with Iran should take precedence over aggression.  Again, Bush and Cheney do not seem to care what the American people think.  The chance for diplomacy will be severely damaged by the clandestine activities carried out by the CIA and covert members of the U.S. military under Bush's Finding.

                2.  Weakening the Checks and Balances system between the Executive and Legislative branches of government weakens the nation.  The Checks and Balances system among the three branches of government is one of the critical foundations of the American political system.  The Bush administration has consistently attempted to add manipulative power to the Executive branch at the expense of Congress and the American people.  The Finding on Iran perpetuates that dangerous pattern.  It is being used to circumvent Congress (and, therefore, the will of the people in a representative democracy), and is based on highly suspect justifications some of which are not supported by objective evidence.  Some of the White House rationale for the Finding is claimed to be so secret it must be denied even to Congress.  Every aspect of government suffers when the Checks and Balances system is abused and weakened.

                3.  Lessons from the invasion and conquest of Iraq are being ignored.   The Bush and Cheney policy toward Iraq continues to produce severe problems.  Wisdom cries out for all of us to learn from the mistakes of the Iraq debacle.  Deception and lies were used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion and conquest of Iraq.  International law was ignored.  No constructive post-invasion strategy was devised prior to the conquest.  Gaining comprehensive knowledge of the Iraq society was never undertaken.  The Finding on Iran is characterized by many of those same inadequacies.  Time and time again the Bush team has acted as though it lives in its own arrogant fantasy world where facts, needs, and the Constitution itself are putty to be manipulated, nuisances to be disregarded, and obstacles to be overcome in gaining yet more abusive power.  The covert operations in Iran further embroil the U.S. in another foolhardy policy that could haunt us for years to come.

                4.  A departing administration should not tie the hands of an incoming administration.  As this article is being written, the Bush-Cheney team has little more than six months left in office.  The operation in Iran will put the new president in a most difficult position.  It almost appears as though the Bush team (a) doesn't care that the public has rejected Bush policies as evidenced by an approval rating as low as any in history; (b) stubbornly refuses to admit to or learn from its mistakes;  and (c) is determined to perpetuate its reckless cowboy foreign policy one more time without any regard for how such policy will restrict the options available to the new administration.   The healthy transition of power to a new administration is being damaged by the Finding on Iran and its implementation.

                5.  A major ingredient of wisdom is found in the choice of priorities.  With truly major problems at home and abroad, and with resources spread thin, carrying out the covert operations in Iran just doesn't make political, social, or economic sense. 
Resources will be diverted from the meeting of needs and from the essential task of getting our own house in order.  The strength and security of America depends much more on the success of those tasks than on another foolish attempt to prove America and America alone can do whatever it pleases in our complex world.  America is made less secure, and terrorism gains additional followers every time the U.S. government chooses priorities such as the covert operations in Iran.
                                                                                          Dudley Weeks

Dudley Weeks

(Copyright 2007: Domestic and international law prohibits the public use of this article without the written permission of the author. Any reprint must bear the author’s name and notice of legal restrictions.}