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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Iran Liberation Act?

In 1998, Republicans pushed a bill through Congress called the Iraq Liberation Act, which made it the official policy of the United States to seek regime change in Iraq. The bill was even signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton. It took five years after that for the US invasion of Iraq under the Bush administration. Now, the 'progressives' fear that Republicans will employ the same treatment for Iran.
Supporters of the Obama administration's diplomatic approach say that advocates of an Iran invasion are pursuing the same long-term strategy now.:By putting the issue on the table right now, Iran hawks are hoping to limit the president's room to maneuver, and make it easier for a future president to launch a military strike. "Iraq didn't happen in two months," Rubin told The Upshot, noting that it took five years from the passage of the Iraq Liberation Act in 1998 until the 2003 invasion. "So this is the playbook."

Indeed, Marc Lynch of Foreign Policy magazine wrote recently that he's anticipating "some kind of Iran Liberation Act on the horizon" from the GOP Congress.

Duss agreed. "You see them running a very similar game as they ran in the '90s," he said. During that period, Republicans and their allies frustrated many of Clinton's political goals, "then offered [the Iraq Liberation Act] as a way to be bipartisan."

And last week's election results give the hawks more leverage. "After the election, they feel the broader Obama agenda has been rejected," Rubin said. "There's a feeling they may have Obama a bit more on the ropes." And that, in turn, may make the president more willing to move toward the GOP on Iran policy, observers say. "Graham is saying: If [Obama] wants Republican support and bipartisanship, being tougher on Iran would work," according to Rubin.

Starting in January, advocates of a tougher line on Iran will have powerful allies in Congress who could help advance that plan. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) [pictured. CiJ], a veteran Iran hawk who has downplayed the effectiveness of sanctions, will take over as chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The 'progressives' don't argue that Iran is not a threat: That would be too much for just about anyone to stomach at this point. They just don't want to do anything about it.
Rubin, Duss and others who oppose the hawks' escalating rhetoric say there's no doubt that Iran is a genuine threat to world security. But they argue that publicly raising the threat of a military strike is likely to be counterproductive. "Launching a third war in the Middle East against a Muslim country," Rubin wrote in the Jewish Chronicle on Monday, "will increase our vulnerability to terrorist attack, will increase the likelihood that Iran will accelerate its nuclear program, will expose Israel to powerful military attack with unpredictable consequences, will place our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan at risk, will severely harm the Iranian people and will trigger a new oil crisis."
And if the Iranians take the initiative to attack, while the US and its allies sit on the sidelines waiting for Iran to attack, all those bad things won't happen? What makes these 'progressives' believe that Ahmadinejad isn't a man of his word and doesn't mean it when he says he is going to wipe Israel off the face of the earth (God forbid).

What's perhaps most indicative of where things ought to be going is the reaction of the party most in Iran's firing line.
Still, the call for a more aggressive stance is winning support from America's top ally in the Middle East. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Vice President Joe Biden that Iran must be made to fear a military strike -- a departure from Netanyahu's previous focus on diplomacy as the best counter to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Reportedly told Joe Biden? Hell, he said it publicly in a speech that was immediately rejected by the Obama administration.

I don't view Iran as a 'third war.' I view it as the only war. As we now know from the Wikileaks documents on Iraq, it was Iran that was behind many - if not most - of the Islamist terror attacks on US troops on Iraq. And it's Iran that's supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan. If you want to uproot a problem, you have to attack its core. And that means attacking Iran.

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