Before we all lose it over the Senate’s asinine Iran resolution, I thought we should all take deep breaths and calm down! The Senate did not authorize military action against Iran! The most dangerous wording in the Lieberman-Kyl resolution was removed before the vote!
According to a staffer in Senator Lieberman’s office, due to objections from some colleagues, Lieberman and Kyl removed these two quoted sections regarding use of military force. The remaining items, which the Senate did approve today, are pretty tame by comparison (though Senate moderates Biden, Hagel, Lugar, and Webb voted against it. The revised amendment implies that the U.S. military should plan a future force structure in Iraq to help contain Iran; states that it is a vital interest of the U.S. to prevent Iran from creating a Hezbollah-like proxy army in Iraq; and recommends that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards be put on the Executive branch’s list of specially designated global terrorists.
The quoted sections that were deleted from the resolution? The Carpetbagger Report explains:
To be sure, the revised version is preferable to the original. Two offending paragraphs, in particular, were omitted entirely, including the notion that “it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies.”
Indeed, the original resolution also included language that the Senate would “support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments,” as part of our drive to “combat” Iran’s “destabilizing influence.”
Was it still a terrible resolution? Of course. Did it indicate Congress now backs a war with Iran? Not only is the answer no, but the National Security Advisors blog makes the point that the Democrats had already, twice this year, acted in ways that could be considered as supporting the use of force against Iran. In other words, by forcing the removal of the most inflammatory language from this resolution, the Democrats could be read as now being less supportive of using force against Iran! Or maybe not. We’ve all been doing way too much tea-leave reading, and far too little focusing on the facts.
The facts are:
The Senate passed a stupid resolution.
The resolution does not give Bush any more authorization to use force against Iran than he already had.
But, most importantly, as IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei recently explained to Spiegel Online:
Sanctions alone will not produce a lasting solution. What we need in the Middle East is not more weapons, but better educational opportunities and more security for people. We should remind ourselves every day of the terrible situation of Iraq’s civilians. An improvement in the catastrophic situation in Baghdad, with its tens of thousands of civilian casualties, can only be achieved through political measures — through concrete improvement of the population’s living conditions and through opportunities for education and jobs. And, most of all, by politically involving the neighboring countries.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will continue to make belligerent speeches. Our government leaders will continue to respond with their own forms of belligerence. A war with Iran can still be prevented. The best way for us to help prevent it is to remain focused on the facts, and to take every civil action we can to make our voices heard. Call. Write. Email. March. Strike!