WASHINGTON -- Some of the loudest cheerleaders for the Iraq War are hollering for Congress to kill an Iran nuclear deal that could prevent an even larger and more damaging conflict in the Middle East, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) argued in an interview with The Huffington Post.
One GOP lawmaker, Rep. Pete Roskam (Ill.), announced Monday that he has enough supporters to guarantee passing a resolution that disapproves of the deal. But Obama intends to veto any such disapproval, and his focus is on keeping enough Democrats on board to stop Congress from overriding him.
Blumenauer, one of those Democrats, said that he understands his colleagues' concerns about the deal, but argued that the agreement offers the best chance of restraining Iran on the nuclear front, and that ditching it plays into the hands of people who were all too happy to go to war before.
“There is no better solution. Nobody’s got a plan B,” said Blumenauer. “They talk about maybe a better deal. How are we going to get a better deal without all this international support?”
He noted that the United States would likely lose the support of many nations that would like to do more business with Iran. Without international backing, the main option to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons would be force, he said.
“There is no good alternative, unless you’re prepared to go to war with Iran, a country that is more than twice the land mass -- it’s bigger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined -- and the population is more than those. You’re talking 70 million people,” Blumenauer said. “And they are much more sophisticated, wealthy and advanced, than either of those other two countries.”
“The American public has no stomach for another military campaign,” he added. “If we were to launch in that direction, I think that you’ve heard from respected military leaders who think that all hell would break loose, that we have no idea where that would lead, and it would be catastrophic.”
However, Roskam noted that Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly proclaimed that the United States would walk away from a bad deal -- which suggests it could be possible to do better, and not resort to military action.
“Surely there was an alternative besides this dangerous agreement and war,” Roskam said in a statement. “Congress and the American people believe a better agreement is still achievable, and we can start by walking away from this one.”
Although Roskam was not in Congress to vote on the Iraq War, he supported it. Blumenauer said that most of the people most opposed to the Iran agreement were wrong about Iraq, suggesting that perhaps a different approach is better.
“Some of the same people who were so resolutely against this agreement are the same people who were so excited about our invasion of Iraq, including Bibi Netanyahu, who was spectacularly wrong then,” Blumenauer said. “Netanyahu famously was talking about Iran [being] just months away from a bomb.”
While Roskam believes he has the votes needed to disapprove of the deal, he does not yet have enough support to override a veto of that disapproval. House Republican leaders will need to keep all 247 Republicans voting against Obama, plus attract 43 Democrats to get the 290 votes needed for a two-thirds majority -- the level needed to override a veto.
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.