Dear (insert name of Senator or Representative here),
As an elected official, you have a duty not only to the people who elected you, but to the Constitution of our country which provides the framework for our government. As is stated in Article 1, Section 8 of that document, Congress - not the executive branch - shall have the authority " To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on land and Water."
While we remain embroiled in an increasingly dismal quagmire in Iraq, with our military forces stretched thin to near the breaking point, it appears that President Bush is edging closer and closer to ordering military strikes against the nation of Iran because of their alleged nuclear ambitions. It further seems apparent that he feels that he can order such strikes - effectively declaring war on Iran - without the previous consent of Congress or the United Nations, and without the support of any of our international allies. (What few we have left at this point.)
Whether or not you believe that military strikes against Iran are needed or justified, I must appeal to you to step up and perform your duties as mandated by the Constitution. The President has the power to wage war, not to declare war. That heavy burden falls squarely on your shoulders and is one which you accepted by taking the oath of the office you now hold. After the fact will be too late for any Congressional hand-wringing and moaning to do any good. Now is the time for Congress to stand up and formally declare that this President does NOT have the authority to launch military strikes against Iran or any other nation or to start any war without first coming before Congress and having them consider the matter and cast a vote to be recorded for public perusal. Simply stating that I shall not vote for any Senator or Congressman who stands idly by and lets the Executive branch once again usurp the power to declare war is not enough. The next election cycle shall likely be too late to have any effect. Rather, I call on you to take a stand NOW and do the duty you swore to undertake when we elected you.
As to how you should vote, I would urge you in the strongest tone possible to consider the points made by so many authorities on mid-East matters. An attack on Iran - a significantly larger and more militarily capable nation than Iraq - would, without a doubt, result in retaliatory strikes at our troops, interests and allies across the globe, probably including both direct military assaults on our forces and resources as well as terrorist attacks at home and abroad. Iran also has the ability to deliver a savage blow economically which will be felt around the world and especially strongly here at home. Russia and China are also notably sympathetic towards the interests of Iran and it is possible that they might become involved in ways that we not only didn't anticipate, but could not prevail against. Another unilateral, "go it alone" attack by this President on yet another mid-East nation will further alienate us from our former allies and damage our position in the international community, possibly beyond repair. Most experts concede that it would be at least a few years, if not decades, before Iran could produce a working nuclear weapon, assuming that is even their intention. And to claim that such a possibility is some sort of Casus Belli while we allow other nations in that region, including Israel, to sport nuclear weapons smacks of hypocrisy and calls our motives and rationale into question for all to see.
I am requesting that you act NOW, while sanity and reason might still prevail, to draft and pass a resolution on both houses of Congress, declaring that the President does NOT have the authority to launch an attack on Iran without the prior consideration and consent of the Congress in the form of a declaration of war on that country. And God help us all should you and your colleagues decide to do so.
I would very much like to see every sane, thinking person in the country draft a similar letter and send it to their representatives this very week. This is no longer just a political football to be passed around. This is the future of not only this country, but of the planet.