The National Attack Authorization Act?

We all know that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed by President Obama on New Year’s Eve contained a now-struck-down provision to authorise the indefinite detention of American citizens on US soil.

But did you know that the NDAA also paves the way for war with Iran?

From Dennis Kucinich:

Section (6) rejects any United States policy that would rely on efforts to contain a nuclear weapons-capable Iran. Section (7) urges the President to reaffirm the unacceptability of an Iran with nuclear-weapons capability and opposition to any policy that would rely on containment as an option in response to Iranian enrichment.

This language represents a significant shift in U.S. policy and would guarantee that talks with Iran, currently scheduled for May 23, would fail. Current U.S. policy is that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons. Instead, H. Res. 568 draws the “redline” for military action at Iran achieving a nuclear weapons “capability,” a nebulous and undefined term that could include a civilian nuclear program. Indeed, it is likely that a negotiated deal to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and to prevent war would provide for Iranian enrichment for peaceful purposes under the framework of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty with strict safeguards and inspections. This language makes such a negotiated solution impossible.

At the same time, the language lowers the threshold for attacking Iran. Countries with nuclear weapons “capability” could include many other countries like Japan or Brazil. It is an unrealistic threshold.

The Former Chief of Staff of Secretary of State Colin Powell has stated that this resolution “reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war.”

The notion of a “nuclear weapons capability” seems like a dangerously low standard. Let us not forget that Mossad, the CIA and the IAEA agree that Iran does not have a bomb, is not building one and has no plans to build one.

But the bill clearly spells out its intent:


Section 2 (A) pre-positioning sufficient supplies of aircraft, munitions, fuel, and other materials for both air- and sea-based missions at key forward locations in the Middle East and Indian Ocean;

(B) maintaining sufficient naval assets in the region necessary to signal United States resolve and to bolster United States capabilities to launch a sustained sea and air campaign against a range of Iranian nuclear and military targets, to protect seaborne shipping, and to deny Iranian retaliation against United States interests in the region;

(D) conducting naval fleet exercises similar to the United States Fifth Fleet’s major exercise in the region in March 2007 to demonstrate ability to keep the Strait of Hormuz open and to counter the use of anti-ship missiles and swarming high-speed boats.

As Kucinich notes:

This is an authorization for the use of military force against Iran. It ignores the warnings of both current and former U.S. top military brass who have spoken in opposition to the use of military force against Iran, including former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and current Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. A February 2012 poll demonstrated that less than 20% of the Israeli public supports an Israeli strike on Iran if approved by the United States. Congress must avoid the same mistakes it made in the Iraq war and reject any language that can be construed as authorizing war against Iran.

It seems like the framers of the bill are exceptionally keen on striking Iran as quickly as possible. Maybe they are receiving lots of money from defence contractors?

Unsurprisingly, the biggest Congressional recipient of donations from defence contractors was Howard “Buck” McKeon, the chairman of the armed services committee who also happens to be the sponsor of the NDAA:

The fact that Ron Paul is the number two recipient is a sign that not all defence contractors are keen to hit Iran. But some are.

Still, even though the bill hints very strongly toward it, it doesn’t mean that it is going to happen. Congressmen might be hungry for a war but the military — already overstretched — isn’t. Admiral Fallon was reportedly the force that kept Bush from hitting Iran, and it would not be surprising to see the Pentagon put up fierce opposition to a future war with Iran. It would be a long, expensive war, with the potential of massive negative side-effects, like dragging in other regional powers, disrupting global trade, and squeezing the US economy by spiking the oil price.

24 thoughts on “The National Attack Authorization Act?

  1. I honestly don’t think they’d dare.
    Far too much criticism, only the Israelis would back them, and the Iranians could probably sink their carriers in the gulf.
    iran has a whole bunch of exocets, and also a few new Russian anti-ship missiles that are deadly. They’ve got a bunch of little speed boats they’d fill with explosives and send suicide revolutionary guards on board, and use swarm tactics.
    Plus they can mine the Hormuz straights.

    I reckon it’s bluster.

    • Well, your post actually clearly shows your level of understanding of the us military. Iran has absolutely no chance in any naval engagement. Their forces and arms such as s 300 are almost exclusively for reactionary defensive purposes. It wouldn’t be a protracted engagement either as the mission would be to wipe out their nuclear capabilities. Although I am highly against military action with Iran posts like this show how clueless aziz is on Irans nuke program.

      • d —

        Very funny.

        The issue is the number of other nations that may be sucked into the conflict. Aside from the obvious fact that as Mossad has noted an attack on Iran would hasten their nuclear program (i.e. give them more defensive incentive to develop nuclear weapons in one of their many hidden fortified bunkers) you wanna see how protracted and perilous a war could get?

        China will not hesitate to protect Iran even with a Third World War

        Chinese General Zhang Zhaozong

        Just rhetoric?


        Pakistan would have no choice but to support Iran if Israel attacks it

        Pakistani High Commissioner Hamid Shamsul Hassan

        The Eurasian autocracies do not want any more American incursion into their back yard. Listen to their rhetoric. Iran — and yes, the present Iranian regime — is a key partner and ally of these nations.

        Ditch your Stratfor subscription.

  2. I think all legislation written tries to encompass all scenarios to ensure legality. It is hard to know if this was the case, or specifically written to pave the path to war. We will see.

    How do we protect the nation from external and internal threats? We need all encompassing legislation to give Judges flexibility. OWS could be funded by Iran or Russia. If you are a disgruntled student without a cushy job, and you are approached by a spook to write in opposition, blog propaganda, which undermines the best intentions of the administration, should you not be detained as a foreign agent or enemy combatant?

    Look at this You Tube video on the net. It is weird, and obviously written by strange people. Use of computer speech is freaky. Are we at war with the opposition of the good intention of the US Administration?

    Or their take on the NDAA

    Are these the Brown shirts of Hitler’s time? Remember Hitler’s thugs used propaganda to change the status quo. Weimerian Austerity programmes were disrupted by “Growth” plans of the extremists.

    I am being skeptical, because Anonymous is a funky way to get the youths on side and upset the good intentions of the Government.

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  5. I’m sure going to miss a world without war.

    But, until then GDP = C+I+G +(X-M) should do well. The loss of C due to high gas prices should be more then offset by the increase in G (Tanks, fighter planes and guns are still produced in the USA!)

  6. Since the German general staff started doing it in the 19th century, all advanced nations engaged in contingency planning for war — what to do if this country or group of countries are our enemies, what to do if anotthr country is, etc. If this planning is being done, it doen’t mean that war will take place. One wants simply to be prepared to cope with situations. Every half-baked politician or think-tank alarmist siezes on this sort of information to make propaganda for a particular cause. Asz doesn’t want war with Iran. But the regime in Iran is regionally aggressive and seriously anti-American. If the US did not engage in contingency planning, our leadership would not be protecting the interests of the country.

  7. robert r locke

    ” If the US did not engage in contingency planning, our leadership would not be protecting the interests of the country.”

    The interests of the country (meaning all Americans and not just the corporate and political elites), do not align with hostility with Iran. They would be better served if Iran was friendly with the US. The US only has a hostile government in Iran because the corporate elites in the US support Israel and serve Israeli ‘national’ (elite) interests. Obama serves Israel, the American government puts Israel first. I am not a fan of Iran…but I find the geopolitics in the region (including the US) all completely dominated by rich old men who are well past their sale by date… It is time we moved on put these politico dinasours out of business and got on with the business of building mutually beneficial trade and commerce between nations.

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  11. Hey Buddy Rojek you do know that OWS is backed by Soros?, as is stated in the naked capitalist communism is a tool of the rich, it is a preserve the wealth plan not a share the wealth plan as many think. The stated aim of communism is the overthrow of kings and governments, abolition of religion the family and private property which as Stalin stated is to be achieved by debauching the country’s currency. Think about it.

    • Soros funds a lot of things.

      But I’d hardly call OWS a communist group, Donny. It’s kind of an umbrella movement for the disaffected, a small minority of whom are communists.

      • I agree with you Aziz it’s the aims of the enablers I’m referring to. it’s anti establishment therefore most grist to the communist mill.

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