President Bush made the astounding statement this week that he considers "World War III" a possible outcome of Iran acquiring the knowledge necessary to make nuclear weapons.
This irresponsible threat could be considered simply another disconnect between brain and mouth on the part of this President if it weren't for two other facts.
The first is the fashion in which he took the United States to war with Iraq. He rolled a hapless Congress in advance of the 2002 elections. He ignored the counsel of most of America's allies, apart from Tony Blair, the sycophantic British prime minister; bypassed the United Nations, and marched straight into a war which, foreseeably, has turned into an ongoing catastrophe.
A second alarm bell is that the very same day Mr. Bush broached his apocalyptic notion, his nominee for attorney general, Michael Mukasey, was telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that in his view it is legal, based on the president's role as commander-in-chief, to ignore laws passed by Congress, doing what he wishes, regardless of the Constitution.
This view ignores both history and the Constitution, which clearly gives Congress, not the civilian head of the armed forces, the authority to declare war.
On Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the Congress to request authority to declare war on Japan, initiating America's role in World War II. On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson went before the Congress to ask for approval for a declaration of war against Germany, thus launching the United States into World War I.
It is appalling that Mr. Bush would, in arrogance and folly, even consider starting World War III over information that Iran might be acquiring that could eventually lead to its joining the other eight nations that now possess nuclear weapons.
If Mr. Bush did that - which is to say, launched an attack on Iran without Congressional consideration and approval - such action would justify the initiation of impeachment proceedings against him immediately.
This President must not be permitted to thrust this nation into a second catastrophic war. If he sees such a war as World War III, presumably casting himself as Mr. Roosevelt or Mr. Wilson, one must question his grasp of reality, his grip on reason.
Mr. Bush simply cannot be allowed to put this country and the peace of the world at such risk.