Lieberman Calling for Iran Strike?

The transcript (PDF):

Well, the fact that it's good that we're working with Britain, France and Germany now, but the pace is too slow.  We've got to try
to take it to the United Nations.  I'm pessimistic that Russia and China will let us do what we want to do.  And then I think we've got to form a coalition of the willing first to impose economic sanctions on Iran.

SCHIEFFER:  Well.

Sen.  LIEBERMAN:  And secondly, we can never take the military option off the table.  And if we feel that if Iran having nuclear weapons is that much a
danger to the rest of the world, then we've got to be prepared to take military action to deter their ability to get nuclear weapons.  And that's the last option, the military option.

Let's stipulate that Lieberman's right, that Iran is this massive threat and it's necessary to use military force.  Not that I think that's even close to necessary, but let's play a thought experiment.  It'd be nice if we hadn't, you know, deployed our military in Iraq.

Tags: Senate 2006 (all tags)

Comments

29 Comments

Let's not
Iran is not an immediate threat to the US. Trying to get to the right of the Republican Party because they targeted Iraq rather than Iran is exactly the wrong move. Attacking State actors based on American perceptions of threats they may or may not pose in the future is how we got in the Messopotamia to begin with.

Preemptive assaults are legitimate. Preventive strikes are not. We should not even be putting ourself in the position of arguing that Iraq has cost us the ability to make a preventive strike on Iran.

Out hawking the PNAC is not a road I want to go down.

by Bruce Webb 2006-01-22 12:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's not
Maybe this is about politics for some folks, like Lieberman. Who knows? But let's not kid ourselves. Iran is a threat. They're building nukes for chrissakes, and they directly fund terrorists. They will not hesitate to attack Israel or our European allies, and they are perfectly willing to help our terrorist enemies attack us here in the U.S. This is everything Iraq was not.
by bluenc 2006-01-22 01:04PM | 0 recs
Links please
Because I heard every bit of this about Iraq and Social Security. Fool me once shame on me. But I wasn't shamed even the first two times. Bring your your links, cite your evidence. At this point you are not an authority, you are six letters in a row.

"bluenc" man I am running scared, because you are who exactly?

by Bruce Webb 2006-01-22 01:22PM | 0 recs
To be presice
You know they are building nukes how?

And clearly "they will not hesitate to attack Israel or our European allies, and they are perfectly willing to help our terrorist enemies attack us here in the U.S." is based on your perceptions of Hezbollah. But you could bring some evidence that Hezbollah has any plans to strike in America.

In the words of our beloved leader "bring it one".

by Bruce Webb 2006-01-22 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Let's not
Let's assume you are correct- how does politizing the situation make it possible to even figure out what to do? Did making Iraq political by Bush, and the politizing the CIA intel help there? Selective analysis isn't a good thing. You have to take into account- not only the elements that are bad for other side- but bad for your position as well. In this case, it's akin to all the Iraqi war hawks saying they supported going to war in Iraq but-for the Bush Administration's execution of it. How can one make any determination without including the actual players and context involved? And I mean all of the context involved.
by bruh21 2006-01-22 02:28PM | 0 recs
Disagree
I think, politically, going to the right of Bush on Iran is a good move. First, nobody knows if anything will come of it, but if the Democratic Party unites behind a strong stance against Iran then Rove won't be able to pick off "weak" Dems. More importantly, Dems calling for immediate sanctions and keeping military options open, etc. are saying so BEFORE Bush is. Even Hillary accused Bush of "outsourcing" the negotations to the EU3. Is is a critique of Bush, not an echoing of it.

As for the reasoning of it, it all boils down to threat assessment. I knew Iraq was a paper tiger in 2002. I am quite confident that Iran is not a paper tiger today. If their nuke program was for peaceful purpose then they would have accepted the Russian uranium repurchase program with no problem (it was exactly the program that Kerry-Edwards supported, and was a good test of Iran's motives). Iran clearly wants to be a nuclear power and is well on its way toward it. The only questions are:

  1. How far away are they? There is little consensus about the "point of no return" but I doubt it's ten years off.

  2. How bad would a nuclear Iran be? Would joining the nuclear club make Ahmadinejad "rational"? Or would it encourage Iran to hand nukes to terrorists, or to strike first against Israel or hostile Arab regimes?

  3. What are our military options? Our army is bogged down in Iraq so invasion is completely unfeasible. Yet, air strikes may be only temporarily effective and may end up being counterproductive as Iran closes the Straits of Hormuz and the throws the world economy in turmoil.

There aren't many good options. Bush is completely untrustworthy on matters of national security. But politically, there is nothing to be gained by letting the Republicans get out on front of this right now.
by elrod 2006-01-22 03:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree
You can't go to the right of the republiacans- thats the failure of triagulation. Here is what will happen- think as Rove would of your trying to go to the right of them. They will call  you on your bluff. Then what?
by bruh21 2006-01-22 05:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree
Call us on our bluff to do what? Launch an air strike? The Dems have no executive authority whatsoever. That's why the position makes sense. The Dems can support the most outlandish policy they want. They don't have to back any of it up because they don't have the White House.
by elrod 2006-01-22 05:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree
its silly because it will allow cover for whatever the republicans decide to do. it's the same kerry "i voted for it, before voting against it" box that you are sticking the democrats in. you are thinking one move ahead- i am considering what wuld happen several moves down the pike. ie, what happens if they start an escalation- what happens with what we say now and how it will effect the aftermath of what we can plausibly say then. we face a double standard where the republicans can and do act like they dont have any history or continuity , but democrats are reminded of everything they say. in part because democrats play into the republican trap, and here, your trap. if we come out with outlandish support, there is no wiggle room to get out of it. even if one were not liberal, or moderate, taking the more extreme position in terms of basic argument logic 101 is a bad judgement call. in terms of winning public debate its easier to defend not having been outlandish than being outlandish and having to retreat when the republicans try to one up you. and it doesn't matter if we control the white house- thats a red herring. it matters what we say and how it will be seen later. i am all for eliminating risk adversion- but the gambit you are talking about doesn't make sense on any level- politically, idealogically, morally or strategically- other than to once again try to triangulate- which the republicans have shown they are perfectly willing to go there. this election cycle immigration will show how far they are willing to go to create a wedge issue to win and election.
by bruh21 2006-01-22 07:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree
You are suggesting that the Democratic party runs to the right of the neocons on military policy?  And not because it is morally justifiable, but as a political strategy?  Playing political games is always distasteful to me, but when those games have real body counts, that should offend every ethical person.  

How about the leaders of the Democratic party advocate positions that they believe in?  I know they are out of practice doing that, but here is a good place to start.  I am convinced that integrity and passionate sincerity will score more political points than reckless game playing and obvious pandering.  

And for the record, I for one, reject wholely and completely any suggestion that neo-con military policy in general, and the invasion of Iraq in particular is reasonable and or justifiable.  The Democratic party has already done enough damage to the world by empowering the neo-cons by refusing to engage them on their violent and illogical policies.  

And as for Iran's nuclear ambitions, of course they are trying to arm with nukes.  Maybe it's because they are unstable muslims, or maybe it's because they are sitting on a huge supply of oil, and they have seen the world's only super-power invent evidence to justify an invasion of another sovereign muslim nation which is also rich in oil.  One third of the evil trinity of 'axis of evil' nations has been invaded by bushco.  One third already has nukes, and no oil, so wont be.  And then there is Iran.  If you were them, what would you do?

by Winston Smith 2006-01-22 07:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Disagree
I was suprised that this fucking ridiculous post was rated a 3.  I was wondering who would rate this death wish "super"?  And then I saw it was bluenc.  Dude, go blog on redstate, I am sure people there would find your comments insightful and intelligent.  
by Winston Smith 2006-01-22 08:07PM | 0 recs
Right move, Joe!
The 2006 election season is coming up soon. Karl Rove has announced that the Republican campaign theme is going to be the War on Terror. Are the Democrats going to be prepared and run a coherent, hard-hitting campaign or are they going to be all over the map once again and not provide a tangible alternative to the electorate?

We know the Rovian playbook. It's going to be another season of "you're either for us or with the terrorists". Another season of fear. The 2006 mid-term elections will be a replica of the 2002 and 2004 elections for the Republicans. They know how to execute this play perfectly.

The fear of a nuclear Iran will be ratcheted up and Rove will paint and box the Dems. The Democrats have already begun to play their usual role of being pushed into a no-win corner. With Lieberman's statements on CBS and Hillary's call for sanctions.The Democrats cannot out-macho the Rovians and they should know that by now, after losing that battle three consecutive election cycles. Iranian nukes are a red herring. US intelligence believes they are at least a decade away from the ability to enrich uranium.

What should the Democrats be doing instead? Challenge the Rovian fear campaign head-on by focusing on the incompetent Katrina-like performance of the Bush-Cheney team on GWOT and their Culture of Corruption. Running away from Rove's central campaign theme and pushing hundreds of reform proposals will only make them look lame and confused as usual.

The Dems have all the ammunition they need. They just need discipline, the will and most importantly the courage to face up to the Republicans and fight hard for the electorate's confidence. The American people want an alternative. A party with spine that will stand up for them. All the polls show that Americans believe Iraq was a mistake, that spying on Americans without warrants is wrong, and the country is on the wrong track. Bush is not popular. In fact the Republicans are very weak.

My concern is that the Democrats will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So, how can those of us in the reality community insure that the Democratic leadership understand that we can win if we focus on a singular theme - Bush and the Republicans represent the Culture of Corruption, Incompetence and Fear. We know their track record. Their GWOT is FUBAR!

Are you safer today than 5 years after 9/11? Why is OBL still roaming free and sending us audio tapes? Bceause the Republicans don't really care about terrorism. They just want to use it for their political propaganda and to line their pockets and the pockets of their contributors while looting the taxpayer.

Is the country better prepared to respond to an emergency of a terrorist devastation today than on 9/11 or will we get another Katrina? With the Bush team all we'll get is "hecukva job" disaster for emergency response.

Are we safer as citizens today with Bush spying on Americans in violation of the law? Not a single terrorist has been captured with all the "data mining" of Americans but we have the FBI following the Quakers, while the Constitution has been shredded.

Do you trust Bush to be able to resolve the Iranian nuclear threat or do we get another quagmire like Iraq? Good luck! Iraq will look like a Sunday picnic. Our teetering economy will be in a tailspin as oil prices hit $100/barrel while we wish for $3/gal of gas. And thousands more fanatical terrorists will be spawned. Not just the Sunni but now also the Shia.

Republicans can only execute flawlessly campaigns of propaganda and smear. They know how to ratchet up fear. But they are utterly corrupt and incompetent when it comes to leadership and governance. That's why the Dems need a coherent campaign. If the Lieberman's and Hillary's try to once again get cute with their triangulation and calculation and make a push to the right of Bush by talking like hawks not only will the American electorate not believe them, they will also lose their base.

by ab initio 2006-01-22 01:35PM | 0 recs
Iran = Iraq exit strategy?
Anyone want to bet on whether an invasion of Iran might be the adminisration's Iraq exit strategy?  Most everyone mocks the viablility of military intervention in Iran due to our deployment in Iraq.  But wouldn't Iran's nukes trump reconstruction in Iraq and provide the perfect reason to "cut and run" without being able to be accused of cutting and running?
by rvan 2006-01-22 01:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Iran = Iraq exit strategy?
The neo-cons will never leave Iraq unless forced out by the American people or the Iraqi people.  The plan in Iraq has always been one of a permanent military occupation which morph's into a military presence.  

Iran is not something that current bushco policy can deal with.  This government is in no position, either militarily or diplomatically to engage Iran.  And that is why Iran is so dismissive.

by Winston Smith 2006-01-22 07:59PM | 0 recs
"You're either for us or ........"
Given that Republican policies have both strengthened Iranian influence in Iraq and the hand of terrorists I'm not sure that these propositions are mutually exclusive.
by UKLIB 2006-01-22 01:57PM | 0 recs
Off the table
I'm not sure that Democrats who call for 'leaving the military option on the table' are necessarily calling for military strikes on Iran. If the West wants to deter Iran from gaining nuclear capability, diplomacy should be the first option -- the carrot. But in order for that to work in difficult situations (like that in Iran), the threat of action must also exist -- the stick. It's not that you're going to use force, but the possibility is always there. This is why so many Democrats voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq. The argument goes that, in order for Saddam to take our threats seriously, the U.S. had to show him that we were prepared to use force.

Unfortunately, Bush didn't view the authorization as muscle to back up diplomacy. Rather, he viewed it as a blank check for war. If it was John Edwards talking about not taking a military option off the table right now, I'd trust that he meant just that -- not limiting the options. But since it's Lieberman, I think we're right to be incredibly suspicious.

This is exactly why Iraq was such a bad idea. Iraq was largely contained and didn't represent much of a threat. Iran, on the other hand, is a more realistic threat. (Not so much to us, but to Israel and Europe.) But since we attacked Iraq as we did, we're left with virtually no foreign policy credibility to deal with Iran. Not only that, but we're left with virtually no military infrastructure to with which to engage Iran anyway. (I should also clarify here that it is not at all clear whether Iran is seeking nuclear capability for energy or energy and weaponry. Unfortunately, it's not so easy to tell.)

And by the way, "coalition of the willing?" I didn't hear him say it, but I hope to God that Lieberman said this sarcastically. Unfortunately, knowing Joe as we do, I have a feeling that wasn't the case...

by Scott Shields 2006-01-22 01:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Off the table
View the rest of Joementum's suck up performance PDF and video. Summary:

America is safer. 9/11 Commission wonderful. 9/11 recommendations all implemented. We are closer to catching Bin Laden. Part of winning the WOT is doing exactly what we are doing in Iraq.

Lieberman is a disgrace to the Democratic Party. Between him and Sen. Roberts I had trouble figuring out which one was the biggest Bush sockpuppet.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-22 02:59PM | 0 recs
As Jon Stewart would say...
hey, we only missed by one letter!
by Fran for Dean 2006-01-22 03:29PM | 0 recs
It Really Isn't Our Problem
The consensus of informational opinion seems to be that the Iranians are a threat to our European allies and possibly to Israel; not us, at least not yet.  If we assume that to be true, then why is the US in a forward position on this?  The EU, Russia and Israel can form a coalition which can take care of their problem and the US can keep our hands clean for once.  That isn't to say that we wouldn't join THEIR "coalition of the willing" in an air support role.  The Air Force is still in functioning order as is the Navy.  If we are going to continue to march towards world empire we need to relearn some of Englands old tricks.
by Demo Dan in Dayton 2006-01-22 04:39PM | 0 recs
Re: It Really Isn't Our Problem
We are the world's sole superpower. We have a leadership responsibility. Sadly, under the Bush administration, we have abandoned this responsibility. The US should be leading the way in holding Iran accountable for its broken promises and preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. We should be doing everything we can to help our friends in Europe and stand by our ally Israel.
by bluenc 2006-01-22 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: It Really Isn't Our Problem
WHY?  Nations have no permanent friends only permanent interests.  How is it in the best interests of the US to invade Iran?  We may be the only remaining superpower but we will not remain a superpower for much longer if we don't wise up pretty quickly and quit squandering men and resources on nonessential warfare.  The possible coalitions of regional powers that could cause the US untold trouble are too many to mention.  Our hamhanded foreign policy can't go on much longer, hopefully the grownups will be back in charge in 2008.
by Demo Dan in Dayton 2006-01-22 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: It Really Isn't Our Problem
Nobody's calling for an invasion. If the President announced tonight that we were invading Iran, I would disagree strongly because we haven't gone through the diplomatic process. Invasion is simply the option you keep on the table to back up your talk. What we do need to do is start taking this Iran problem seriously by joining our allies in Europe and holding Iran accountable in the world community. Iran needs to straighten up, and it is in our interest, since they're funding and arming some of the insurgency in Iraq.
by bluenc 2006-01-22 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: It Really Isn't Our Problem
I agree, though I have no confidence Bush will be able to carry any policy in Iran whatsoever. As I said upstream, however, taking a position in support of all military action - before the Republicans do - is a position that will help the Democrats.
by elrod 2006-01-22 05:47PM | 0 recs
Iran
I have major problems with someone who denies that the Holocaust existed and says that it was a myth.

I'm very concerned about what we do to Iran.

by kydem 2006-01-22 05:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Iran
I don't think anyone is arguing that Ahmadinejad is anything but a nutjob. But Mel Gibson's father is nutjob Holocaust denier, too. It's not like we're going to attack him militarily because of it.
by Scott Shields 2006-01-22 06:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Iran
Mel Gibson's dad isn't trying to build nuclear weapons and doesn't supply terrorists.
by bluenc 2006-01-22 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Iran
Nice sense of humor.

Anyway, while it's inarguable that Iran has been a state sponsor of terrorism, as I said in a comment earlier, it's not clear that Iran is pursuing uranium enrichment for energy or for energy and weaponry. Using nuclear power isn't a crime -- as a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, they are allowed peaceful use of nuclear technology. The US and EU have been saying that, since an illegal nuclear weapons program was uncovered a few years ago, Iran no longer has the right to pursue any nuclear program, peaceful or otherwise. I totally understand that, but I'm not sure it holds all that much water. After all, you're talking about an industrialized nation of 70 million people -- I'm sure an argument can be made for allowing them a peaceful nuclear program.

Point being, let's not jump the gun. Let's stay active in the discussion about Iran's nuclear program within the framework of the world community. We can't really afford another war right now, so it's imperative that we draw a distinction between the crap that Ahmadinejad spews and Iran's nuclear program. I doubt that anyone here wants him to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons, but we've got to pick our battles very carefully these days.

by Scott Shields 2006-01-22 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Iran
Well said. I think it's also important to remember that, even if Iran had unfettered access to the materials they need, a nuclear weapon would still be about ten years away. So we have time to let diplomacy work. I'm just arguing that a military option should always be on the table, in case we need to step in to defend ourselves and our friends.
by bluenc 2006-01-23 07:07PM | 0 recs
BTW...
While we are considering the "military option", what will happen to western economies when Iran exercises its "no more oil exported to you" option?  
by keepinon 2006-01-22 05:22PM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads