Matthew Yglesias writes:
If Wishes Were Ponies...: Congress's de facto war powers have been reduced to the need to get congressional approval for war-related spending.... [But] according to the media, if Democrats vote for a funded withdrawal of troops, and then Bush vetoes those funds and demands that Democrats give him a blank check, then it would be a failure to "support the troops" for Democrats to refuse to cave.... We've also seen that many -- if not most -- congressional Democrats accept this framing.
So if Bush decides he wants to bomb Iran, nobody in congress is going to stop him.
Dana Priest, though, speaks for surprisingly many journalist when she says:
Frankly, I think the military would revolt and there would be no pilots to fly those missions. This is a little bit of hyperbole, but not much. Just look at what Gen. Casey, the Army chief, said yesterday. That the tempo of operations in Iraq would make it very hard for the military to respond to a major crisis elsewhere. Beside, it's not the "war" or "bombing" part that's difficult; it's the morning after and all the days after that. Haven't we learned that (again) from Iraq?
To me, though, it's important to avoid overstating the degree of military opposition to a bomb Iran policy. As best I can tell, the Army is dead-set against it. But the Army wouldn't be carrying the mission out anyway. It'd be shocking for the Air Force to suddenly come to appreciate the strategic limits of air power. In their minds, bombing Iran won't compound the error of Iraq; rather, it'll show the manifest benefits of doing things their way rather than getting bogged-down into an Army-style quagmire.
I would not say "many, if not most, Democrats accept this framing." I would say "some Democrats accept this framing, and others believe the press has them by the short hairs, and together there are enough to block action." Which is why it is necessary to scare both members of congress who want to get reelected and our ethics-free journalism core.
I do think that Dana Priest needs to have her meds adjusted: our military obeys lawful orders--even if it thinks the orders are unwise. Perhaps if congress forbade an attack on Iran, the planes would not fly. Not otherwise.
This is why it is so important to impeach George W. Bush and Richard Cheney and to do it now.