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'Freedom Fries' Congressman calls for halt on Iran strike

Michael Roston
Published: Thursday January 18, 2007
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The North Carolina Republican who coined the term "freedom fries" will lead a press conference today on a bill to put the brakes on any US military strike against Iran, RAW STORY has learned.

Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has proposed legislation requiring the president to consult and receive authorization from Congress before initiating a military attack on Iran. The measure will be presented at an 11:30 am press conference tomorrow with co-sponsors Ron Paul (R-TX), Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), Richard Neal (D-MA), Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) and Marty Meehan (D-MA).

Jones became prominent in 2003 when he pushed Congress to require that cafeterias in the House of Representative office buildings change the name of french fries to "freedom fries." In the time since this act, Jones has become a critic of the Iraq War. This change of heart appears to inform Jones' current policy.

"One of the many lessons from our involvement in Iraq is that Congress needs to ask the right questions prior to exercising its Constitutional authority to approve the use of military force," Jones said in a Jan. 12 statement sent to RAW STORY.

The North Carolina Republican added that the possibility that "some U.S. officials are contemplating military action against Iran" required the legislative branch to make it "crystal clear that no previous resolution passed by Congress authorizes such use of force."

Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who once ran for president as a Libertarian, explained to RAW STORY via a spokesman that he was "opposed to any escalation of the Middle East conflict in Iran, in whatever form that may take." He warned in his weekly "Texas Straight Talk" column that "the administration intends to move the US closer to a dangerous and ill-advised conflict with Iran." He specifically feared that "a contrived Gulf of Tonkin-type incident may occur to gain popular support for an attack on Iran," referring to the engagement between the US and Vietnam that was used by President Lyndon Johnson to justify an escalation of America's military intervention in Vietnam.

At the same time, it was not clear whether the scenario outlined by Paul could be used to override Jones' resolution. It reads that the president could not take action in Iran "Absent a national emergency created by attack by Iran, or a demonstrably imminent attack by Iran."

Jones' office did not answer a request from RAW STORY for clarification of the meaning of the legislation.