By Dan Fleshler | June 26, 2008
The plot thickens. Politico’s John Bresnahan reports that:
Reps. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) have issued a letter today stating that a non-binding resolution they offered on Iran does not call for a military action against that country…
…While the resolution (I repeat, non-binding) also includes a specific denial that it authorizes use of American military force – “Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran” – it has, understandably, led some to believe that it is tantamount to a declaration of war against Iran.
“These assertions are absolutely false and, frankly, utter nonsense,” Ackerman and Spence wrote. “The resolution states plainly and distinctly that “nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran;” the economic sanctions the President is urged to seek are explicitly placed in an international context; and the methods contemplated for achieving these sanctions are no different than those currently being employed to implement existing UN Security Council sanctions on Iran, namely enforcement of export controls by UN member states within their own borders.”
What to make of this? I have no ax to grind or premise to prove here. That is the nature of this blog; I annoy everyone across the political spectrum, at one time or another. So I would like someone who is convinced that this resolution calls for a blockade to explain why, if these Reps wanted such a thing, they would go out of their way to deny it?
The resolution doesn’t have any legal standing; it’s just a forceful message, encouraged by AIPAC. It is easier for Member of Congress to be more hawkish in non-binding resolutions than they would otherwise be in bills that have the force of law; the former documents are generally more convenient vehicles for political grandstanding. So, it would seem to me that if they wanted to convince voters they were super-tough, they would have no reason to deny that they were calling for a blockade. Are they reassuring constituents who are nervous about war-mongering? If so, isn’t that good news? Or, am I being spun by some kind of nefarious, manipulative “War Party” in ways I am too naive to grasp? If so, how?