Is The Whole “Surge” Plan A Set-Up?

Ken AshfordIranLeave a Comment

Andrew Sullivan wonders:

This paragraph, buried by the NYT, leapt out at me this morning:

A Shiite political leader who has worked closely with the Americans in the past said the Bush benchmarks appeared to have been drawn up in the expectation that Mr. Maliki would not meet them. "He cannot deliver the disarming of the militias," the politician said, asking that he not be named because he did not want to be seen as publicly criticizing the prime minister. "He cannot deliver a good program for the economy and reconstruction. He cannot deliver on services. This is a matter of fact. There is a common understanding on the American side and the Iraqi side."

Views such as these — increasingly common among the political class in Baghdad — are often accompanied by predictions that Mr. Maliki will be forced out as the crisis over the militias builds. The Shiite politician who described him as incapable of disarming militias suggested he might resign; others have pointed to an American effort in recent weeks to line up a “moderate front” of Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish political leaders outside the government, and said that the front might be a vehicle for mounting a parliamentary coup against Mr. Maliki, with behind-the-scenes American support. [My italics.]

If this is the case, this president is lying to us once again. It’s one lie too far. If all of this is a ruse to depose Maliki and attack Iran, the constitutional consequences of a runaway, duplicitous president are profound.

Of course, there’s considerable discussion about whether the President can constitutionally attack Iran absent a Congressional authorization.  Clearly he can’t.  But constitutional limitations have not stopped this President before, and it’s pretty clear that the Bush Administration thinks it is not constitutionally required to get Congressional approval — a scary abuse of power that exceeds even the worst from the Nixon Administration.

Washington is full of rumors that Bush has already ordered a "secret war" against Iran.  I tend to doubt that, but I happen to agree with Pat Buchanan and others who say that Bush is trying to provoke an attack from Iran, in order to launch a war there.  After all, if Iran attacks us, then Bush can, under the War Powers Act, attack Iran without Congressional approval.