As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Candidates on the Iran NIE

Before yesterday, the real debate on the Republican side was whether to use conventional or tactical nuclear weapons to bomb Iran, and they seemed knocked back a bit by it, while still trying to maintain their warmongering ways.

“For years now, the Islamic Republic of Iran has defied and played games with every international effort aimed at persuading the country to halt enriching uranium,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, said in a statement. “Sanctions and other pressures must be continued and stepped up until Iran complies by halting enrichment activities in a verifiable way.”

Apparently, the intelligence community has been deceived. Dirty lying Iranians!

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, has taken a slightly different line on Iran than his rivals, often focusing on reports that it was supplying weapons to militias in Iraq that were being used against American troops (which have also been proven false -ed.).

Mr. McCain said the release of the report was such a “rare occasion” that he would still “have to try and make sense of it” before commenting in depth. But he did say that Iran was still bent on the destruction of Israel and on interfering in Iraq, and that therefore the sanctions against Tehran were appropriate. Referring to the war in Iraq, he said, “We were deceived by intelligence reports in that situation,” and because of that, the public is “justifiably skeptical.”

"Because I lied to you about Iraq, my friends, all intelligence is suspect, and I'm free to tell you anything I want without fear of contradiction." That's almost a deliberate "Peter and the Wolf" situation; the intelligence community "cried wolf" on Iraq, so they can't be believed EVER AGAIN (except they didn't cry wolf, they were overwhelmed by neocon infiltrators setting up their own intelligence shops inside the Pentagon and Dick Cheney forcing them to change their conclusions).

Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, the responses were telling. While Barack Obama harkened back to 2002, noting that the classified NIE on Iraq contained some skepticism about the case for WMD and that lawmakers must read the intelligence before coming to conclusions (Clinton and Edwards admitted they hadn't), and John Edwards took it as a lesson that we should "avoid radical steps like the Kyl-Lieberman bill declaring Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, which needlessly took us closer to war." Kyl-Lieberman was a deliberate attempt to move the goalposts and focus on Iranian meddling in Iraq, with the proof on nukes already collapsing.

But the Clinton response was decidedly different.

The assessment of the NIE vindicates the policy Senator Clinton will pursue as President: vigorous American-led diplomacy, close international cooperation, and effective economic pressure, with the prospect of carefully calibrated incentives if Iran addresses our concerns. Neither saber rattling nor unconditional meetings with Ahmadinejad will stop Iran's nuclear ambitions. Senator Clinton has the strength and experience to conduct the kind of vigorous diplomacy needed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

There's very little tamping down of the rhetoric here, just an opportunity to use the phrases "stop Iran's nuclear ambitions," which apparently are already stopped. This is Clinton needing to sound hawkish even in the face of dovish information.

But the candidate that has this right, actually, is Joe Biden.

Biden, a Delaware senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referred to a newly released U.S. intelligence assessment finding that Iran - despite the Bush administration's assertions otherwise - has not restarted its nuclear weapons program. There is "a significant window of opportunity in which to act to avoid the stark choice of either war, or a nuclear Iran," he said.

The Constitution demands that the president consult Congress on decisions about going to war, he said. "That's why I want to be very clear: If the President takes us to war with Iran without congressional approval, I will call for his impeachment," Biden said.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,