Emergency powers are reasonable. But the situation with Iran is the opposite of an emergency. As Rich notes, the Iranians have been engaged in this activity for a very long time — decades, in fact. This is not some new, unforeseen, and sudden development. Authorizing an act of war on the Iranian state is something that no Congress has undertaken in the nearly 20 years since the beginning of the so-called war on terror and something that none of the three presidents who have served during that period has sought. The newspapers call Iran’s actions “provocative,” but the U.S. government has steadfastly declined to be provoked. Judging by their actions, nobody in Washington thinks this is an emergency. This is one of those things that politicians insist “cannot be tolerated” even as it is tolerated year after year after year.

Maybe somebody should take it more seriously. But in reality we have had nearly two decades since 9/11 to think about it, and that after an Iran hostage crisis that came to a climax when this gray-bearded columnist was in the third grade. This surely must be the most soporific state of war ever to have existed. It proceeds at a splendidly glacial pace, like a parade float stirred by the occasional crosswind.