Friday, September 28, 2007

War Watch: Iran

With all the fussing and feuding over the “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Visits Columbia University” sideshow earlier this week, the herd journalists of our national news media largely overlooked a Senate vote three days later that may well serve as a license for military action against Iran’s noxious president and his nation.

David Bromwich provides the background in “Hillary Clinton Votes for War Again,” available at The Huffington Post Web site.

The vote in question was on a revised version of a measure called the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which passed 76-22.

Bromwich focuses on two troublesome provisions.

The first states “that it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies.”

The inclusion of Hezbollah [Bromwich notes] deserves some notice. It is part of a larger attempt, already apparent in the Lebanon war of 2006, to manufacture an “amalgam” of all the enemies of Israel and the United States throughout the region, and to treat them all as one enemy. Those who believe in the amalgam will come to agree that many more wars by the United States and Israel are needed to crush this enemy.
The Kyl-Lieberman amendment’s second troublesome provision, according to Bromwich, is its designation of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard as a “foreign terrorist organization.”

Now, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard is the largest branch of the Iranian military. By granting Vice President Cheney’s wish (a distant dream in 2005) to put the Iranian guard on the U.S. terrorist list, the Senate has classified the army of Iran as an army of terrorists. The president, therefore, as he follows out the Cheney plan has all the support he requires for asserting in his next speech to an army or veterans group that Iran is a nation of terrorists.
The group of senators who voted against the measure consists of 20 Democrats and 2 Republicans:

Biden (D-DE)
Bingaman (D-NM)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Byrd (D-WV)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inouye (D-HI)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Leahy (D-VT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Sanders (I-VT)
Tester (D-MT)
Webb (D-VA)
Wyden (D-OR)

Hagel (R-NE)
Lugar (R-IN)
It is worthwhile noting that two of the dissenting Democrats — Biden and Dodd — are currently seeking their party’s presidential nomination.

Of two other Democrats engaged in the same quest, Bromwich has some pointed observations.

On Barak Obama, who was absent from the Senate vote:

In a speech in Iowa on September 12, he addressed by anticipation the matter before the Senate in Kyl-Lieberman: “We hear eerie echoes of the run-up to the war in Iraq in the way that the President and Vice President talk about Iran. They conflate Iran and al Qaeda. They issue veiled threats. They suggest that the time for diplomacy and pressure is running out when we haven’t even tried direct diplomacy. Well George Bush and Dick Cheney must hear — loud and clear — from the American people and the Congress: you don’t have our support, and you don’t have our authorization for another war.”
It is baffling that a man who spoke those words two weeks ago could not find the time or the resolve to cast his vote in a conspicuous test for authorizing war on Iran. This seems to be one more demonstration of Obama’s tendency never to take a step forward without a step to the side. As for his own message about Iran, it has not been “loud and clear,” but muffled, wavering, experimental.
And on Hillary Clinton:

With Hillary Clinton, we know where we stand. [On September 26] she voted to bring the country a serious step closer to war against Iran. And she did so for the same reason that she voted to authorize the war on Iraq. She thinks the next war is going to happen. She hopes the worst of its short-term effects on America will have died down before the election. She suspects the media and voters will show more trust for a candidate who supported than for one who opposed the war. She wants a ponderous establishment of American troops and super-bases to remain in the Middle East for years to come. If she wins the presidency, she will inherit the command of that army and those bases, and she believes she can manage their affairs more prudently than George W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton is consistent. Every move is calculated, her actual intentions are masked, but the total drift is easy to comprehend...
Barnett Axelrad

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1 comment:

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