Allow me to agree with Rand Paul. We already have significant sanctions on Iran, which mainly hurt the population rather than the regime. The Senate wanted to take another dip with an even more stringent set of sanctions. And Paul said no.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked an effort Tuesday to quickly pass a bipartisan bill imposing tough sanctions on Iran, demanding that Congress make clear that the United States is not rushing into another war.

“Our young men and women, our soldiers, deserve thoughtful debate,” Paul, the tea party freshman with libertarian leanings, said on the floor. “Before sending our young men and women into combat, we should have a mature and thoughtful debate over the ramifications of war, over the advisability of war and over the objectives of war.”

Paul wants Senate Democrats to allow a vote on his amendment that says that nothing in the measure “shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of use of force against Iran or Syria.”

The House already passed this sanctions bill, which would mainly punish US corporations who do business with Iran. And the fact that Paul pulled the trigger on the one Iran sanctions bill that affects corporations is not lost on me. But is anything that he says here wrong?

The sanctions and the general belligerence are driving the US to war in Iran, which would mark the third in that region of the world in a little over a decade. Harry Reid claims that the sanctions bill has no reference to war, and that may be right in the technical sense. In that case, Paul’s request, that nothing in the bill “shall be construed as a declaration of war or an authorization of use of force against Iran or Syria,” should be no problem whatsoever (I don’t really know why Syria’s in there). And yet this is seen as a terrible imposition on the rush to impose new sanctions. Reid would have to file cloture and maybe take up a whole day on the issue. He might even have to give Paul’s amendment, a restatement of fact according to him, a vote!

Sadly, there just aren’t that many members of Congress willing to be skeptical of the executive warmaking powers, and the tendency to deprive Congress of those Constitutionally derived powers. I understand that Rachel Maddow’s new book Drift addresses this topic. That’s a step forward. And I hope she recognizes that her main ally in Washington on these issues happens to be Rand Paul.