Stick to Facts: Designating Iran Revolutionary Guard As Terrorists Does Not Authorize Force

A misunderstanding is leading to a good argument, that the Lieberman-Kyl Amendment sucks, being argued with bad facts. In essence, the argument goes that this language:

that the United States should designate Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists…

triggers the September 18, 2001 AUMF. It does not. Let’s check the text:

SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Nowhere is there a finding that Iran was involved in the 9/11 attacks. No one can credibly argue that they were (after all, Saddam was behind 9/11 . . .)

Nothing in the Iran Amendment passed today authorizes the use of force (nor would it even if it was NOT a nonbinding “sense of the Senate” resolution.)

But what are the effects of having the IRG declared “Specially Designated Global Terrorists?” Let’s consider that question on the flip.

What does designating a group as a “foreign terrorist organization” do?

There are three consequences for a group that is designated an FTO:

— Any member who knowingly provides “material support or resources,” which includes financial assistance, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documents or fake identification, communications equipment, weapons, or transportation, can be prosecuted in U.S. courts.

— Any representatives or members of a designated FTO can be denied admission to the United States, or, if already in the country can face deportation.

— And, any financial institution that becomes aware of the fact that it is holding funds from a designated FTO or its agents must freeze the funds and report the action immediately to the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The missing consequence? Attacking them.

So let’s keep our facts straight when we argue why this Amendment is horrible. One of them is NOT that the Congress is authorizing the use of force against Iran. And let us also be clear that the Bush Administration ALREADY has the power to designate the IRG as a foreign terrorist organization.

In other words, let’s keep it real.

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    • Armando on September 27, 2007 at 1:46 am
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    bborn things. Let’s stick to them.

    • pico on September 27, 2007 at 1:51 am

    It’s not that Congress is giving the President a power he doesn’t already have: it’s that Congress is sanctioning a power the President shouldn’t have. 

    Remember when the president argued that the AUMF gave him authority to ditch FISA?  Some members of Congress were indignant.  This now gives him Congressional approval to deal with Iran under the AUMF, whether he chooses to or not.  It’s preemptive acceptance of what’s likely to be his reading, and that’s what’s so unacceptable about it.

    • pico on September 27, 2007 at 1:51 am

    It’s not that Congress is giving the President a power he doesn’t already have: it’s that Congress is sanctioning a power the President shouldn’t have. 

    Remember when the president argued that the AUMF gave him authority to ditch FISA?  Some members of Congress were indignant.  This now gives him Congressional approval to deal with Iran under the AUMF, whether he chooses to or not.  It’s preemptive acceptance of what’s likely to be his reading, and that’s what’s so unacceptable about it.

  1. get in the way of my righteous outrage!!!!

  2. Ooooo look! Bright shiny objects!

    People seem so easily distracted by shenanigans — MoveOn ads, Lieberman-Kyl amendment, and the perpetual favorites, Bill O’Reilly, etc.

    But yet, what’s been going on in the news in the past few days?

    • Iraq tried to kick out Blackwater after a massacre in Baghdad.

    • Top NATO commander in Afghanistan is asking for more troops.

    • War Sec. Gates is asking for $190 billion to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • U.S. snipers are baiting Iraqis to kill them.

    • Giuliani’s ally, Mike Mukasey, is being greenlighted for Atty Gen. despite civil liberties and election fraud concerns.

    • And the utter collapse of the U.S. dollar. Even Canada’s Loonie is worth more!

    The list is endless, but all the attention is on, in my opinion, stupid topics meant to distract us from the real issues of the day. And personally, if I read another ‘why I support so-and-so’ for president, I’m going to be very irritable.

  3. …thanks for this one.

  4. in my original posting.

    I agree, this is not an authorization to use force.

    However, Lieberman did this for a reason. The key reason being to get the paragraph in question into the congressional record.

    Why?

    I believe they (those who want to be able to attack Iran when the want, including Cheney, Yoo, and Lieberman) are building a case. This case includes:

    – An (extreme I realize) opinion that the original AUMF gives the president authorization to attack whoever gets in our way in Iraq. i.e. Iran. (Armando, I was finally able to respond to your original request which was in the 2nd link I provided – have a look)
    – An opinion that even if the AUMF authoization is hazy, the president still has the inherint authority to attack without approval from congress.
    – A couple of votes like this they can point to showing congressional ‘support’ for the idea of attacking, without actually having them authorize war.

    This is why this one sucks. It plays into their cynical little game that they can pull an attack off if they so choose.

    I don’t like it one bit.

    But hey, that’s just me.

    • plf515 on September 27, 2007 at 3:49 am

    and thanks for bringing them to our attention

    The facts, themselves, are bad enough.  There is no need to invent new ones

  5. Law means nothing to Bush and Cheney.
    By designating them as “terrorists” they are now under the category of those to be “hunted down” and “killed”.

  6. voted for it. As she seems to be who we get I say this makes it official, next stop Iran regardless of which party controls anything . So while this isn’t instant war it’s a step closer. When you look at the whole picture the Democrats are in line with the neocon agenda. No opposition to funding nothing even gets to the floor but this crap.

  7. george does not need facts as you pointed out…
    “(after all, Saddam was behind 9/11)”….
    all this does is add fuel to the fire……

      • pico on September 27, 2007 at 5:50 am

      the Prez from pulling the same strategy again, using this resolution as post-facto justification for a policy originally not connected with it?  This is too easy: they’ve given their blessing to a series of justifications for war. 

      Look, I’m not saying members of Congress have to avoid doing anything that Bush could twist (that would be just about anything).  But that doesn’t mean Congress has to jump into that cesspool willingly, which is what they’re doing by the resolution.  Re-reading the comments, you and I only disagree on two things: 1. whether the president could use this as a legal justification (I still maintain he could), and 2. how bad an idea this resolution was (you’re angry, but less angry than I am). 

  8. And these yahoos don’t get to make them up anymore like they did at the start of all this when America was mostly traumatized.  I remember who I am and I dwell with the facts.  Fantasy may have brought us Iraq at one of America’s lowest moments, but we are working with facts again and with the facts I will stay.

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