Yesterday, on Hardball (transcript when it becomes available), Tom DeLay was, for whatever reason, poisoning the airwaves rather than facing trial somewhere, and in the course of his appearance noted that we need to immediately erect a blockade around Iran, and that it had to be done soon, by this administration, or we may lose our chance because a President Obama would not. Expect to see the cries for a blockade of Iran increase over the next few weeks and months as the usual suspects, unhappy with our current two wars, will agitate for a third (for those of you so inclined, Pat Lang has some thoughts here that are relevant).
As such, it is worthwhile to note where some of this stuff is coming from, and one source is House Concurrent Resolution 362, which Rep. Wexler, a co-sponsor of the bill, discusses here at the HuffPo:
In the coming weeks, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, of which I am a member, may vote on House Concurrent Resolution 362. Given my growing concerns regarding this resolution, including its failure to advocate for direct American engagement with Tehran and open language that could lead to a US blockade of Iran, I will lead an effort to make changes to this resolution before it comes to the Foreign Affairs committee for a vote. Despite being a cosponsor of this resolution — these changes will ultimately determine whether or not I will continue to support H. Con. Res. 362.
My rationale for originally supporting H. Con. Res. 362, which currently has 230 cosponsors, was to urge the Bush administration to pursue a policy to place additional economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Iran as part of an international endeavor to prevent Tehran from moving forward on its nuclear program. Given my intense distrust of President Bush and his administration’s disastrous foreign policy record, I also sponsored legislation (H. R. 3119), which if passed into law would prohibit the use of funds for military operations in Iran unless authorized by Congress and prevents the president from unilaterally going to war.
Good thinking Rep. Wexler, as no one could have predicted the GOP would latch on to one bill and ignore the other. It is simply unpossible for anyone to have known that would happen.
At any rate, the actual text of the bill can be found here, and here is the portion that is perceived to be a green light for the blockade:
Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–***
(3) demands that the President initiate an international effort to immediately and dramatically increase the economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Iran to verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities by, inter alia, prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program;
If the House passes this, they a step closer to the signing statement greenlighting the next Middle East fiasco. And only a fool would think the Bush administration wouldn’t jump at the opportunity. Great work, guys.