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September 28, 2007

The Lieberman/Kyl Resolution

It's true, as some have pointed out in comments, that the Lieberman/Kyl resolution does not authorize war with Iran. In that respect, it is not analogous to the Iraq War Resolution. What it does do, however, is give Bush enormous cover if he ever decides to launch an attack on Iran. When he says, "My fellow Americans, last September, a bipartisan vote in the United States Senate designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers. At 4am this morning, I asked the Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a bombing raid of their suspected safehouses and ammunition dumps..."

Democrats can complain and yell and scream, but their opposition will be terrifically compromised by having designated the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group in the first place. What will the say: That they're a terrorist group killing American soldiers, but nonetheless, nothing should be done? It's ludicrous. And it eerily echoes the excuse many Democrats, like Hillary Clinton, give for their authorization of the Iraq War in 2002: They thought Bush would use the legislation to increase diplomatic pressure and intensify actions, not resort to military force. On this, Democrats were fooled -- or said they were fooled -- once. That more Democrats voted for the Iran resolution shows that they are decidedly willing to get fooled again.

September 28, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Yup

Posted by: Cernig | Sep 28, 2007 3:48:05 PM

Indeed.

Posted by: Gray | Sep 28, 2007 3:48:39 PM

I see what you're saying.

Posted by: JewishAtheist | Sep 28, 2007 4:10:01 PM

I am a pessimist...but still...to attack Iran is not only crazy, but batsh!t insane. I can't conceieve of Bush doing it...or the Joint Chiefs signing off on it.

It's got to be a way to puff himself up...doesn't it?

Posted by: Paul | Sep 28, 2007 4:10:46 PM

Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again. -- G.W. Bush

Posted by: stm177 | Sep 28, 2007 4:19:14 PM

"...but batsh!t insane."

I think the country is about to go batshit insane. Bush, OTOH, is pretty sane, just really evil. Just really hardball politics, like we haven't since before the civil war.

The current rumour says after the primaries but before the general. Yes it will be tough on Republicans, but they have their stalwart base and electoral advantage. The point is what will it do to the Democrats.

OK, so Bush bombs, and most importantly, Iran retaliates with actual damage to US forces, a carrier, a couple brigades, movement toward Basra and Kurdistan. Hillary says, well 5000 dead at mullah hands, not my choice, but now war to unconditional surrender of Iran. Time for a draft.

I will be real curious as to what MY and Kevin and Ezra do. Vote for Giuliani?

Want to see a tough Presidency? HRC with Republicans at her throat and half her base hating her guts on inauguration day. Shoot, she could get impeached and convicted in year one, by a coalition of peaceniks and wingnuts.

Bush, with an attack on Iran, will just be playing his usual radical politics.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 28, 2007 4:34:26 PM

What will [the Democrats] say: That they're a terrorist group killing American soldiers, but nonetheless, nothing should be done?

Ezra, I'm curious: are you of the opinion that the Revoluionary Guard is not arming Iraqi insurgents as the Administration claims; or that they are, but to an insignificant degree; or that they are, but Lieberman/Kyl is a bad idea because it may lead to a disastrous war with Iran? If it's the latter, what is the proper response to Iranian meddling in Iraq that is lethal to our troops and disruptive to our military objectives?

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano | Sep 28, 2007 4:47:31 PM

Pagano: "what is the proper response to Iranian meddling in Iraq"?

Hmmm, let me think - maybe more American meddling in Iraq? But now the tough question: what is the Iranian government's proper response to American meddling in Iran? Standing by and doing nothing? What do you expect them to do?

Here's what you need to read: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20651

"are you of the opinion that the Revoluionary Guard is not arming Iraqi insurgents as the Administration claims"? Let's assume they do. If that makes them a terrorist organization, then the CIA is a terrorist organization, having armed insurgents in many countries over many years (including, not coincidentally, Iran). Can we agree on that? Now, what is the proper response to that?

Posted by: piglet | Sep 28, 2007 5:02:27 PM

I don't understand what definition of "terrorist" is being used in a phrase like "a terrorist group killing American soldiers". It seems to me that someone killing soldiers in a war zone is by definition not a terrorist, unless "terrorist" means simply "someone we don't like".

Posted by: KCinDC | Sep 28, 2007 5:07:53 PM

Piglet,

You're an idiot. I'm not calling anyone out, I'm just asking what Ezra's opinions are on these things. What you need to read is what I wrote, not what you think I think.

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano | Sep 28, 2007 5:29:07 PM

are you of the opinion that the Revoluionary Guard is not arming Iraqi insurgents as the Administration claims

See, here's the thing. If doing that makes the Iranian army a terrorist organization, what does that say about the US?

Posted by: George Tenet Fangirl | Sep 28, 2007 5:31:37 PM

You two seem obsessed with foolish consistency. Is it supposed to be brave and clever to draw a moral equivalence between the Iranian regime and the Bush Administration? OK, bravo. Your fruit basket is in the mail. Now what should we do about Iranian interference in Iraq that is lethal to our soldiers and which disrupts our military objectives?

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano | Sep 28, 2007 5:36:37 PM

"Now what should we do about Iranian interference in Iraq that is lethal to our soldiers and which disrupts our military objectives?"

Surrender & withdraw, leaving all equipment behind. After which, Saudi Arabia will dump all its dollar holdings and crash the world economy. Then in the new cold dark poor America, progressives can demand new 50%+ marginal rates to save the social programs and create the alt-energy economy. Republicans will simply bow their heads in shame and do whatever we want, chastened & humiliated by the Clinton ME debacle.

Damfino what to. Daniel Ellsberg today recommends sit-ins in Congressional offices, but what does that DFH know? Kids today are so much cooler, and anyway, it was around 5 years ago that Tomasky said "Thank goodness there ain't no DFH's, cause we clean-for-gene guys can now end the war." Worked really well, huh.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 28, 2007 5:51:59 PM

Iraq that is lethal to our soldiers and which disrupts our military objectives

Nothing, aside from withdrawing. We have no business being there, we should get out, now, and, in the unlikely event that the Bush administration isn't lying to us, and the Iranians are really doing that, they are entirely in their rights AND SHOULD BE APPLAUDED.

Posted by: LarryM | Sep 28, 2007 6:20:54 PM

If the Iranians are killing our soldiers in Iraq, they should be applauded? Are you serious?

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano | Sep 28, 2007 6:35:09 PM

Hey LarryM,

You're completely batshit insane if you believe that Iranians are within their rights to kill American sldiers in Irag. Assholes like you make it hard to be against the war. Not impossible but hard. Eat shit!

Posted by: RalphB | Sep 28, 2007 6:35:30 PM

John,

Yes.

Ralph,

Were Americans within their rights to kill German soldiers during WWII?

Same. Exact. Thing.

Posted by: LarryM | Sep 28, 2007 6:49:56 PM

Ezra -- in what way does the resolution give Bush "cover?" I'm not asking to be a jerk, I really don't understand what people mean by this. Does it mean that he'll be able to diffuse political blame for attacking Iran onto the Democrats who voted in favor of the resolution? If so, color me skeptical -- I think that if he moves to attack Iran, the American people are going to hold him primarily responsible, no matter that Kyl / Lieberman was passed by the Senate. Does it mean that Democrats who voted for Kyl / Lieberman will have trouble criticizing his actions if he attacks? I can see that as a possibility, but on the other hand there are lots of Democrats who didn't vote for it, including the entire House of Representatives so far; so I'm not sure that blotting out the Senators who voted for Kyl / Lieberman would really be effective in blunting criticism from Democrats in general.

So I guess I'm asking: assuming that Bush does not at any time come to Congress seeking an AUMF, in what way does Kyl / Lieberman create a political upside for him that he would not have in its absence? I honestly don't see it.

Posted by: PT | Sep 28, 2007 6:51:21 PM

I should probably add to my previous post, I'm not saying that I'm either happy or neutral on the Senate voting to pass Kyl / Lieberman. I'm not happy about it at all, starting from the principle that the policy it embraces is dumb and I don't like my political leaders going around embracing dumb policies, regardless of whether they will ultimately be implemented. I'm trying to understand what the practical value of this particular vote is for Bush, that's all.

Posted by: PT | Sep 28, 2007 6:53:46 PM

Now what should we do about Iranian interference in Iraq that is lethal to our soldiers and which disrupts our military objectives?

Can someone point to real, hard, evidence (not assertions) from either governmental sources or others that shows that this is occuring, that the amount is significant, and how many of our soldiers have been affected?

And, by the way, exactly what are our military objectives?

This whole thing is just like the Iraqi WMDs that we were told existed in quantities that could lead to a mushroom cloud over our cities. But there weren't any.

The US is being suckered into yet another war that will have unknown unknowns up the wazoo.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Sep 28, 2007 6:58:32 PM

LarryM,

Wow. That's really beyond the pale. I can only hope you are an exotic vermin on this site.

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano | Sep 28, 2007 7:01:31 PM

"Now what should we do about Iranian interference in Iraq that is lethal to our soldiers and which disrupts our military objectives?"

Firstly, you should ask for evidence for this.

Posted by: Gray | Sep 28, 2007 7:12:37 PM

Gray,

You're right, and I do, or would, but my question to Ezra included the possibility that he doesn't believe Iran is doing what the Bush Administration says it is. I'm not passing judgment on that view, I'm curious which of these opinions he has (or if he has another).

Posted by: John-Paul Pagano | Sep 28, 2007 7:19:42 PM

Is it supposed to be brave and clever to draw a moral equivalence between the Iranian regime and the Bush Administration?

If I were brave I wouldn't hide behind a pseudonym. No, the question was intended to get you to reflect on whether you might be embracing a double standard (something to the effect of "whatever the US does is good, and whatever Iran does is evil, even if they both do the same thing"?) and on what a consistent standard might require (perhaps "Iran should not support insurgent groups in Iraq; the US should not support insurgent groups in Iraq"?). But I failed. Given that you're apparently unable to pursue any line of thought inconsistent with blind nationalism, though, I suppose failure was to be expected.

Posted by: George Tenet Fangirl | Sep 28, 2007 7:52:49 PM

John-Paul: Your questions were logical enough. I don't want to speak for Ezra, but I think the critical idiocy is in categorizing a foreign military power as a terrorist organization. Terrorism is typically thought of as an action taken by a nonstate organization, which is why in the past we have allowed Presidents to pursue terrorist organizations as an extension of law enforcement. Bush has deliberately muddied these waters by declaring war on nonstate actors, but we shouldn't cooperate. If you really believe that the Revolutionary Guard is arming insurgents against the US, then that's an act of war, not terrorism, and Congress should have a formal debate over declaring war on Iran. What it's doing instead is trying to sneak war in the back way, making it easier than ever for the President to make war without congressional approval.

Posted by: Antid Oto | Sep 28, 2007 8:11:34 PM

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