A picture of Senator Michael B. Enzi
Michael E.
Republican WY

About Sen. Michael
  • Hire More Heroes Act of 2015—Continued

    by Senator Michael B. Enzi

    Posted on 2015-09-16

    submit to reddit

    Read More about Hire More Heroes Act of 2015--Continued

    ENZI. Mr. President, I want to supplement my remarks from last week with some insights from Alan [[Page S6685]] Dershowitz's book ``The Case Against the Iran Deal.'' All of us received a copy of this last week. I read it last week.



    Incidentally, Mr. Dershowitz has been a consultant to several Presidential commissions and has advised Presidents, U.N. officials, Prime Ministers, Governors, Senators, and Members of Congress. He has sold more than 1 million copies of his books worldwide in a dozen different languages, and he is a law professor emeritus at Harvard. He is an accomplished attorney and has been active in politics. I make that point because Mr. Dershowitz endorsed President Obama in 2008. So I think his comments might be particularly telling.

    I want to start by discussing the point Mr. Dershowitz makes that I find the most intriguing. ``The President is not the Commander in Chief of Foreign Policy.'' Mr. Dershowitz notes that the Constitution does not make the President Commander in Chief, period; rather, article II, section 2, clause 1 of the Constitution makes the President ``Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States.'' Mr. Dershowitz points out that this language does not make the President Commander in Chief for purposes of diplomatic negotiations, and his involvement in international diplomacy is as chief negotiator whose deliberations are subject to the checks and balances of the legislative and judicial branches. Specifically, Mr. Dershowitz writes that the President ``cannot make a treaty without the approval of two- thirds of the Senate. He cannot appoint ambassadors without the consent of the Senate.'' And this is probably the most important one: ``And he cannot terminate sanctions that were imposed by Congress without Congress changing the law. . . . Our Constitution separates the powers of government--the power to command--into three coequal branches.'' Mr. Dershowitz goes on to describe the President's actual constitutional role as the ``head of the executive branch of our tripod government that stands on three equal legs.'' I would remind my colleagues that this argument is being made by a prominent scholar on U.S. constitutional law.

    This point reminds me of what a former colleague who carried a copy of the Constitution in his pocket said in June of 2004. When debating the 2004 Omnibus appropriations conference report, Senator Byrd said: Why so deferential to presidents? Under the Constitution, we have three separate but equal branches of government. . . . How many of us know that the executive branch is but the equal of the legislative branch--not above it, not below it, but equal.

    I wonder what the former Senator from West Virginia would think of the ways the President has sought to diminish the role of Congress with regard to the Iran deal.

    According to Mr. Dershowitz, those actions include declaring the Iran agreement to be an ``executive agreement'' instead of a treaty or joint agreement, promising to veto any congressional rejection of the deal, agreeing to submit the deal to the U.N. Security Council before Congress considered it, trying to marginalize opponents of the deal as politically motivated, and describing the only alternatives to the deal as Iran quickly developing nuclear weapons or war with Iran.

    Another discussion I found interesting in ``The Case Against the Iran Deal'' relates to the President's assertion that if we don't accept this deal with Iran, the only other option is war. Mr. Dershowitz argues that this ``sort of thinking out loud empowers the Iranian negotiators to demand more and compromise less, because they believe-- and have been told by American supporters of the deal--that the United States has no alternative but to agree to a deal that is acceptable to the Iranians.'' He also writes that while numerous administration officials have said ``no deal is better than a bad deal'' with Iran, he views the United States as negotiating on the belief that the worst possible outcome would be no deal.

    In addition, Mr. Dershowitz notes that ``diplomacy is better than war, but bad diplomacy can cause bad wars'' and points out that Israeli, French, Saudi, and other leaders have expressed concern ``that the Iranian leadership is playing for time--that they want to make insignificant concessions in exchange for significant reductions in the sanctions that are crippling their economy.'' That leads me to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's 2013 United Nations speech, which Mr. Dershowitz argues was distorted by the New York Times.

    The Prime Minister said: Last Friday, [Iranian President Hassan] Rohani assured us that in pursuit of its nuclear program, Iran--this is a quote--Iran has never chosen deceit and secrecy, never chosen deceit and secrecy. Well, in 2002 Iran was caught red-handed secretly building an underground centrifuge facility in Natanz. And then in 2009 Iran was again caught red-handed secretly building a huge underground nuclear facility for uranium enrichment in a mountain near Qom.

    What strikes me about the Prime Minister's words is that they give us a clear picture of whom we are dealing with in Iran. And if we need more evidence, just last week Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, predicted that Israel will not exist in 25 years and referred to the United States as the Great Satan. What level of trust can we have for this regime? Even if this agreement were a good deal for the United States, what makes us think Iran will abide by the terms of the deal? In other words, do you trust Iran? And to be clear, this is not a good deal.

    As Mr. Dershowitz writes, ``All reasonable, thinking people should understand that weakening the sanctions against Iran without demanding that they dismantle their nuclear weapons program is a prescription for disaster.'' Mr. Dershowitz goes on to ask if we have learned nothing from North Korea and from Neville Chamberlain. For those in the Chamber who are not history buffs, let me explain how I interpret Mr. Dershowitz's question.

    In 1994, the United States and North Korea agreed to a roadmap for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Several rounds of six- party talks were held between 2003 and 2009, but North Korea continues nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. The President seems to be heading down a similar path with Iran.

    As for Neville Chamberlain, he was the British Prime Minister when England entered World War II. He is best known for his policy of appeasing Germany in advance of World War II, signing the Munich Pact that gave part of then-Czechoslovakia to Germany. Hitler violated that pact and invaded Czechoslovakia, then Poland. Should we expect a stronger commitment to this deal from a country whose Supreme Leader refers to the United States as Satan? How can Mr. Dershowitz label this deal as a prescription for disaster? He does so by pointing out the ``enormous difference between a deal that merely delays Iran's development of a nuclear arsenal for a period of years and a deal that prevents Iran from ever developing a nuclear arsenal.'' Mr. Dershowitz says that if this deal is meant to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons, the President must clearly say so and the Iranians must agree with that interpretation. That has not happened.

    How did we get to such a bad deal? Mr. Dershowitz says the first mistake was taking the military option off the table when the administration declared that they weren't militarily capable of ending Iran's nuclear weapons program. He says the second mistake was taking the current sanction regimen off the table by acknowledging that many of our partners would reduce or eliminate sanctions. Lastly, he says we took rejection of the deal off the table by indicating that rejecting a deal would be worse than accepting a questionable deal. Mr. Dershowitz writes that ``these three concessions left our negotiators with little leverage and provided their Iranian counterparts with every incentive to demand more compromise from us.'' He adds that our negotiators ``caved early and often because the Iranians knew we desperately need a deal to implement President Obama's world vision and enhance his legacy.'' While this deal might implement the President's world vision in the near term, I question whether it will enhance his legacy because I do not think it makes the United States or the world more safe.

    [[Page S6686]] I am disappointed that the President didn't submit this deal to us as a treaty for our approval. I am disappointed that the minority has filibustered even allowing us to vote on disapproving the deal. I wish we had paid more attention to the fact that sanctions put in place by Congress have to be terminated by Congress, not by the President.

    I urge all of my colleagues to read Mr. Dershowitz's book because I think it provides some invaluable insights and might change their thinking. I think we need a different outcome.

    I thank the leader for the amendments he has put up that will make a difference. I think one of those should have been done before any negotiations, and that is that the American hostages be released. That would have been a good starting point. They should have walked away several times to show that the deal was in favor of Iran rather than the United States. It has to be some of the world's worst negotiating.

    I hope everyone will read Mr. Dershowitz's book, ``The Case Against the Iran Deal.'' We all got a copy.

    I yield the floor.

    I suggest the absence of a quorum.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.

    The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.

  • submit to reddit
  • Register your constituent account to respond

    Constituent Register