President Barack Obama entered the wilderness of war alone today by claiming sole authority to send troops to Iraq to "protect" American citizens and "interests." With Iran already bombing ISIS positions and sending top military personnel to Baghdad, and with Syria's Assad regime striking ISIS from the air, the war is sharply escalated.
It is doubtful, however, that ISIS can be dislodged from its captured territory by external military force. Meanwhile, thousands of the former Mahdi army and other Shiite militias have mobilized to protect Baghdad where a cycle of anti-Sunni sectarian killings already is on the rise.
On the home front, Rep. Barbara Lee and Virginia Republican Rep. Scott Rigell are circulating a letter calling on Obama to seek Congressional approval. (firstname.lastname@example.org) In a dramatic turn of events on the Senate floor, the highly-regarded Senator Tim Kaine threw his national reputation behind the Congressional demand. Kaine is a Virginia senator with a strong military record and a savvy former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Tom Hayden's letter to Kaine follows:
Dear Sen. Tim, You took a brave and memorable step in calling for our president to adhere to the War Powers Resolution over military action in Iraq. Hopefully strong opposition from Congress will limit his military intervention. I hope his great respect for you makes him respond constructively. Nearly all Republicans are happy to let him either take unilateral action or be checked by Congress, since their goal is to defeat him politically. The danger in his attacking the ISIS zone is that it will unify all the factions and militias into seeing the US as the military enemy, leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy that they will become a terrorist sanctuary against the US. The removal of both Assad and al-Maliki, combined with emergency multinational initiatives aimed at power-sharing orpartition, are the ugly short-term answers. Public debate on ending authorization of the 80-year "Long War" doctrine is of the highest priority. When the public understands the "Long War", like the Cold War, is predicted to span eight decades until magical "success", that it is unwinnable, unaffordable, self-perpetuating, and an immanent danger to our own security, they will respond to your leadership. Our hopes are with you in this turning point. TOM HAYDEN