DownsizeDC.org
December 12, 2011
URGENT! Anti-Iran Bill INCREASES Chance of War
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day:  "We haven't had a connection with Iran since 1979. Even in the darkest days of the Cold War we had links to the Soviet Union ... If something happens it's virtually assured that we won't get it right, that there will be miscalculations which would be extremely dangerous..." Admiral Mike Mullen, recently-retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

TOMORROW, Tuesday December 13, the House will vote on the "Iran Threat Reduction Act" (HR 1905) under a "suspend the rules and pass" vote -- which means, with no amendments and no debate.

We at DownsizeDC.org believe there are many problems with the bill. Section 601, however, is particularly dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that even if you believe Iran is a threat and deserves harsh sactions, it is important for your Representative to vote NO and force a debate.

That's because Section 601 will hamper intelligence gathering and INCREASE the chance of war based purely on misinformation or misunderstanding.

Under suspension rules, it takes just 1/3 of the House to prevent passage of the bill. Suspension would...

* Give the House time to read, debate, and consider the full consequences of HR 1905
* Allow for amendments to remove Section 601

Please tell your Representative to vote "No" on HR 1905 on Tuesday.

You may borrow from or copy this letter...

This letter is to my Representative, but my Senators are cc'd so they know where I stand.

It is imperative that you vote NO on HR 1905.

HR 1905 must be defeated so that it can be amended to remove Section 601.

Section 601 outlaws any diplomatic contact between U.S. and Iranian officials -- no matter how low level or incidental those interactions are. The President can waive this restriction only by notifying certain Congressional committees 15 days in advance.

As Stephen Zunes points out, "never in the history of this country has Congress ever restricted the right of the White House or State Department to meet with representatives of a foreign state, even in wartime." (http://huff.to/vgSc5E)

Imagine, if this 15-day requirement applied to Cuba and the Soviet Union. How would the 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis have been resolved?

And, in the event of war, with whom can our diplomats negotiate a peace settlement, since all contact would be illegal?

If this bill was currently in force...

* The U.S. couldn't have won Iranian cooperation in suppressing the Taliban.
* And couldn't have won the freedom of three American hikers held in an Iranian prison.

In the event of a confrontation with Iran, should the Obama Administration have to wait more than two weeks before having any contact with any Iranian officials?

This ban on communication makes a war based on misinformation or misperception much more probable. As experienced diplomats William Luers and Thomas Pickering have noted... (http://bit.ly/v9TR3o)

* The U.S. hasn't had formal, high-level contact with Iran since 1979...
* Making our "knowledge" dependent on indirect, often biased reporting from emigres and other self-interested sources.

How can the U.S. know Iran's intentions, when we know so little about the country and its rulers? ...and then adopt a policy of preferred ignorance?

It's infantile to suggest that diplomacy is either an endorsement or agreement with another party -- even an enemy. Communication is a valuable tool to understand the perceptions and intentions of others. Countries that cut off contact are more likely to go to war -- only to find out later that the war was based on falsehoods.

Oppose HR 1905 -- ESPECIALLY make sure Section 601 is removed.

END LETTER

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Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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