Disclosure: I worked for the Lamont campaign doing web design and production and some writing for the official blog (from 9/5/06 to 11/07/06).

Monday, April 17, 2006


Lieberman Claims No Knowledge of Iran War Plans

Sen. Lieberman says he has not been informed of any "set war plans" for Iran in an interview today with the Jerusalem Post. This likely means that Lieberman is not the "one Democrat" who, according to Seymour Hersh, had been briefed on such war plans by the Bush Administration. (Either that, or he's being completely disingenuous by specifying that he has not been informed of any "set" plans.)

Lieberman, who is currently traveling in the Mideast region, seems to have dialed down his usual hawkish rhetoric just a notch, but still advocates for keeping the military option on the table:

Lieberman said he knew of no "set war plans" being drawn up by the Bush Administration and, "I don't think anyone's yearning for military action against Iran."

Nonetheless, he said, there was skepticism in Congress about the likelihood of the UN Security Council taking "economic or diplomatic action." As a next step, that left the option of an "economic coalition of the willing," outside the UN framework, to try and deter the Iranians.

Military action was "probably the last choice, but it has to be there," stressed Lieberman, who has been visiting Israel over the Pessah festival. He said there was now "active discussion" of the options for such action.

Asked what last-resort military option was available, Lieberman said: "I don't think anyone is thinking of this as a massive ground invasion, as in Iraq, to topple the government." Rather, he said, he envisaged "an attempt to hit some of the components of the nuclear program," primarily from the air, with some potential for covert ground assistance.

"I think the only justifiable use of military power would be an attempt to deter the development of their nuclear program if we felt there was no other way to do it," he said. "And I use the word 'deter' because I'm skeptical of our ability - because they've spread their nuclear program and some of it is underground - to knock it out completely."

Even the mere act of giving Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld the option to use military force against Iran should not be an option for any sane Senator, on either side of the aisle. The political leaders in this Administration have proven - even to leaders in the military - that they cannot be trusted to use this type of power wisely. And Iran could easily be ten times the mess that Iraq has turned out to be (read Richard Clarke and Steven Simon's op-ed from Sunday's New York Times).

Lieberman is being either very naive or very reckless in stoking these flames, and I doubt it's the former. But at the same time he's also being much less vociferous than he was in the run-up to Iraq. Is it because he currently faces a primary challege?
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