2C: the FCNL Staff Blog

Billions for Iran War in Military Bill?

By Kate Gould on 05/10/2012 @ 11:22 AM

Tags: Iran, Middle East

Kate Gould

The House military authorization bill includes billions for weapon systems designed for saber-rattling toward Iran, and possibly for use in an attack on Iran. The bill would also require the administration to prepare for war by dramatically escalating the U.S. military presence in the Mideast.

While the bill does not explicitly state that the new weapons systems it includes would be used for war with Iran, a staffer from the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) has reportedly explained that the additional funding for weapon systems 'could be used in a war with Iran'. This detailed weapons and policy outline pushing for a war with Iran is adapted from legislation (H.R. 4485) introduced last month by Rep. Mike Conaway (TX), and has been supported by only 13 Republican co-sponsors.

The Hill reports that the military bill would fund billions in weapons systems, ranging from drones to rockets to heavy artillery systems, designed to be used to 'counter the Iranian threat':

That bill will have roughly $350 million in research and procurement funding for a entire slate of weapons designed to counter the Iranian threat.

If approved, the House version of the fiscal '13 defense bill will finance everything from unmanned intelligence drones and self-guided, shoulder-fired rockets to heavy machine guns mounted on U.S. warships to repel small-boat attacks. The Iranian navy has been known to use fleets of small patrol boats to swarm larger warships steaming near the Iranian coastline.

Floor Vote Week of May 14

While it is unclear to what extent advocacy groups have been involved in advancing these pro-war provisions, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has endorsed provisions from the NDAA on Iran.  Shortly after the 'chairman's mark' of the NDAA was released, the Bipartisan Policy Center sent out an invitation for an event on the upcoming U.S.-Iran talks, noting that the NDAA contains some of the BPC's recommendations on Iran:

"Currently, The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is being considered before the House Committee on Armed Services that contains provisions recommended by BPC for halting Iran's nuclear progress."

The military authorization bill, formally known as the "National Defense Authorization Act" or the NDAA, was approved in the Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. The NDAA is expected to be debated on the House floor early next week, during which dozens of amendments are expected to be added to the bill before its final passage.

The Pro-War Package has 3 Components:

1) Billions in anti-Iran weapons systems

2) States that it is U.S. policy to support military action to prevent Iran from threatening other countries with a nuclear weapon:

This provision would declare that it is U.S. policy "to take all necessary measures, including military action if required, to prevent Iran from threatening the United States, its allies, or Iran's neighbors with a nuclear weapon" (section 1221, b).

The legislation fails to mention that Iran has never threatened to use nuclear weapons, that Iran has repeatedly denounced nuclear weapons in the strongest possible terms or that U.S. and Israeli intelligence agree that Iran is not building a nuclear weapon. And certainly no mention that military and intelligence officials from across the political spectrum in the U.S. and Israel agree that attacking Iran would increase the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran, and that diplomacy is the single most effective way to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran and a devastating war.

3) A requirement that the administration prepare for war with Iran:

This legislation would also require the administration to formulate a plan to dramatically expand the U.S. military presence in the Mideast in order to prepare for war with Iran. The committee itemizes the sorts of high-tech weaponry, fighter jets, and military drills that it would want to see spelled out in such a plan, in order to 'underscore the policy of the United States' in the section above--namely that the United States is ready to launch a full-fledged war against Iran.

This reporting provision (section 1222 b) requires the Pentagon to escalate U.S. militarization of the Persian Gulf in order to 'underscore' the U.S. military threat to Iran:

The Secretary of Defense shall prepare a plan to augment the presence of the United States Fifth Fleet in the Middle East and to conduct military deployments, exercises, or other visible, concrete military readiness activities to underscore the policy of the United States described in section 1221(b).

Take Action

You can take action by calling 1-855-68 NO WAR and ask that your representative vote against the NDAA, and to support the Conyers/Paul/Jones/Ellison amendment which declares this bill is not an authorization for the use of force in Iran. Stay tuned to this page for updates on the amendments that FCNL is watching on Iran, Afghanistan, nuclear weapons, indefinite detention and other issues here, and see the text of all of the Iran-related sections of the NDAA here.

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