Bush Provokes Viet Nam Flashbacks For Senate Foreign Relations Committee


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During the height of the Viet Nam War, the Nixon administration began secret cross-border raids into Cambodia to stem the flow of supplies into South Viet Nam. The administration denied to Congress that it was conducting such raids.

On Wednesday night, president Bush called Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran, onto the carpet over the flow of supplies and munitions into Iraq saying:

We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq

Senator Joseph Biden, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during a hearing with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, put the president on notice regarding cross-border incursions:

I believe the present authorization granted the president to use force in Iraq does not cover that, and he does need congressional authority to do that. I just want to set that marker.

While it is politically understandable that a Democratic chairman of such a committee would make such a statement, Charles Hagel, a Republican on the committee, weighed in with a similar statement:

When our government lied to the American people and said we didn't cross the border going into Cambodia, in fact we did. I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee. Madame Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the president is talking about here, it's very, very dangerous.

Whether recent moves by the administration against Iran are just a veiled threat or part of a long term strategy to engage Iran militarily, it remains to be seen. As previously mentioned here, the addition of more troops combined with a second aircraft carrier in the gulf could be a prelude to war.

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