With bucketloads of respect to those who think yesterday’s vote in favor of the Lieberman-Kyl amendment on Iran was foolish politics at worst and meaningless at best, I can’t help but stick with my original reaction. This thing stinks to high heaven. (more)
Jim Webb appears to think so too.
On the Senate floor today, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) made an impassioned appeal to his fellow senators, declaring that the Lieberman-Kyl amendment on Iran should be “withdrawn” because the “proposal is Dick Cheney’s fondest pipe dream.” Webb cautioned that the “cleverly-worded sense of the Congress” could be “interpreted” to “declare war” on Iran.
“Those who regret their vote five years ago to authorize military action in Iraq should think hard before supporting this approach. Because, in my view, it has the same potential to do harm where many are seeking to do good.”
I share Jim Webb’s concern that, given the opportunity, Dick Cheney will not hesitate to use the vote on yesterday’s amendment as part of his justification to attack Iran should that opportunity come to pass. He will not seek formal congressional approval. At the link provided, there is a video of Webb’s remarks, and I would encourage folks to have a look.
I would add that I believe the designation of the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization was the whole point of the exercise and that the addition and subsequent removal of the two paragraphs outlining the explicit use of force was a smokescreen. Joe Lieberman does not strike me as a man who does things for no reason. To me, there is a clear method to the madness.
In fact, I have a feeling there was a telephone conversation in Washington last night that went down something like this:
DC: Hey there my Lieber-Man, nice job today.
JL: Always a pleasure and an honor to speak to you Mr. Vice President. Thank you for your kind words.
DC: Well, as you know, there is still work to be done. But I just wanted to say, your efforts were noticed and appreciated.
JL: Well, I did have to take out those two paragraphs we talked about. But you were right, they focused on those instead of the key bit. I’m always impressed with your ability to call these things, sir.
DC: Suck Up – heh heh. Well, the terrorist designation was the key. As I’ve said, that bill without the word terrorist would have been useless as tits on a bull – just like that resolution calling MoveOn a bunch of meanies. Heh heh. Anyway, thanks again.
JL: Ha, Mr. Vice President, you always could make me…
— click —
JL: Mr. Vice President? Are you there sir? I think the line went dead…
On balance, I think the amendment was only a small step of the whole Cheney plan. But since it was part of the plan, why oh why did our guys feel the need to play along?
More from the ThinkProgress link:
“At best, it’s a deliberate attempt to divert attention from a failed diplomatic policy,” said Webb. “At worst, it could be read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action, without one hearing and without serious debate.”
I would like to add that I believe attacking Iran is by no means a done deal. But Dick Cheney is playing a game at a higher level than many of our friends in the Senate appear to realize.
Some final words from Webb:
We haven’t had one hearing on this. I’m on the Foreign Relations Committee, I’m on the Armed Services Committee. We are about to vote on something that may fundamentally change the way the United States views the Iranian military and we haven’t had one hearing. This is not the way to make foreign policy. It’s not the way to declare war.
In my view, those Senators who voted for this POS Bill are really the ones who should be put on a ‘list’, never mind that silly MoveOn diversion.
UPDATE: Armando notes below a possible confusion given Webb made the remarks before final passage of the Bill. Did he make these remarks before the 2 worst paragraphs were removed? Good question.
His response after the bill indicate he is absolutely worried about the terrorist designation, as below (repeated here):
Webb says that because the Revolutionary Guard is a military arm of the Iranian government, the resolution declaring it a terrorist organization is “tantamount to a declaration of war.”
He is clearly concerned about IDing the Iranian National Guard as a terrorist organization. If you watch his speech, that comes through loud and clear.
PS – Hopefully NPK and the Big A can see past semantic differences here.