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Democrats on Iran

Posted in the database on Sunday, February 05th, 2006 @ 18:04:31 MST (1221 views)
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While the Democratic leadership competes with George Bush to see who can be tougher on Iran, it would be comforting to think that the more progressive Democratic base had learned a bit more from the invasion of Iraq than the leadership. Would that that were true. Unfortunately...

Yesterday I read Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly article, which starts by disclosing this rather interesting fact:

Contrary to conventional wisdom, which suggests that Iran's research sites are too widespread to be destroyed via bombing, [Gen. Wesley] Clark believes that a military strike on Iran could wipe out its nuclear program very effectively indeed. He figures that a 14-day bombing campaign plus a few special-ops missions -- which he described in some detail -- would pretty much put them out of business. What's more, he also seems to believe that an operation like this is very much under active consideration within the White House and the Pentagon.

Drum then sums up the situation:

It does suggest that Democrats ought to figure out now what they think about Iran. After all, we've got the Ken Pollack book, we've got the referral to the Security Council, we've got the slam dunk intelligence, and we've got the lunatic leader screaming insults at the United States. Remember what happened the last time all the stars aligned like that?

Believe it or not, I believe that Drum's assertion of "slam dunk intelligence" is something he isn't even questioning (certainly if he did he should have put it in quotes like I just did). And the "lunatic leader screaming insults at the United States"? Aside from the "lunatic" charge, which has about as much intellectual weight as comparing someone to Hitler, I must have missed where Saddam Hussein (or Ahmadinejad for that matter) was "screaming insults at the United States" before the U.S. decided to invade his country.

But all of this is prelude to the point of this post. Drum closes his post by asking his readers this:

So: What would be the Democratic response if (a) Bush asked for an authorization of force against Iran or (b) simply launched an assault without asking Congress?

And here is the scary part. Out of 51 responses, far too many of them are gung-ho for bombing Iran. The right of Iran to develop nuclear power, or even nuclear weapons? Didn't come up. The lack of a right of the U.S. to decide unilaterally (or even multilaterally) that they have the right to bomb Iran under these circumstances? Didn't come up. Even the "easier" position of learning from history that the Bush administration (and all recent administrations) will lie through its teeth to start a war is only mentioned by a few; those opposed are far more concerned with the "practical" problems of such an act.

And Washington Monthly readers are not alone. Over at Daily Kos, another bastion of progressive Democrats, a poll accompanying an article on Iran has 24% voting for "force" to "take out" Iran's nuclear facilities, and another 21% for sanctions. Together that's not a majority, and it certainly does put the readers of Daily Kos ahead of the Democratic leadership, but it's definitely not encouraging, and indicates that there would be little if any domestic political "price" if the U.S. bombed Iran.

Hands off Iran!



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