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Sunday, November 07, 2010

Containment is off the table?

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the Halifax International Security Forum on Saturday that the United States will need to attack Iran's nuclear capability before 2012, and that containment is now off the table.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said his fellow conservative, fresh from their historic elections romp this week, support "bold" action to deal with Iran.

If President Barack Obama "decides to be tough with Iran beyond sanctions, I think he is going to feel a lot of Republican support for the idea that we cannot let Iran develop a nuclear weapon," he told the Halifax International Security Forum.

"The last thing America wants is another military conflict, but the last thing the world needs is a nuclear-armed Iran... Containment is off the table."

The South Carolina Republican saw the United States going to war with the Islamic republic "not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime."

He spoke just days before expected nuclear talks will see US and Iranian officials sitting at the same table for discussions on Tehran's nuclear drive. The two countries have lacked diplomatic ties since the Iran hostage crisis of 1979.


The electoral defeat of four Democrats who sat on the powerful US House Armed Services Committee bolsters the Republican's position.

But Democrats may gain surprise support for continued diplomacy from some ultra-conservative Tea Party newcomers to Washington who diverge on foreign policy matters with their Republican brethren.

Various UN resolutions and sanctions have sought to halt Iran's uranium enrichment activities, so far having little effect.
Here's Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's non-response to Iranophile Roger Cohen asking about Graham's statement.

Let's go to the videotape.

The problem is that under the US constitution, it's the President who has the power to make war. Congress has the power of the purse, but it cannot order an attack. I don't see Barack Obama attacking Iran under any circumstances - at least as of right now. The best we can hope for from Congress is that they push Obama hard enough that he won't stop an Israeli attack, and maybe he'll even support one after the fact. And even that's a stretch.

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