THE BLOG
09/25/2007 12:47 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Beware Kyl-Lieberman Pro-Iran-War Amendment

They're trying to get us psychologically primed for bombing Iran.

As early as today (Tuesday, September 25, 2007) the Kyl-Lieberman amendment (No. 3017) may be voted on.

It is non-binding, but it is a "sense of the Senate" amendment basically saying the Senate views Iran as a danger to our war in Iraq, and that it is hunky-dory for the president to use everything at his benighted fingertips to oppose Iran, including military options, which means bombing and war.

Next war, next war, next war! -- yipppeeeee. Makes Joe Lieberman smile. And Cheney half-smile. And Bill Kristol - well God only knows what pleasures he feels at each new war.

So please call your useless, exhausted, scared Democratic senators and congress people, and your useless, exhausted, scared moderate Republican friends, and urge them to vote against this.

Google news has exactly three articles on this amendment. This was the most reasoned of the three - Joe Murray, writing in the Bulletin, "Philadelphia's Family Newspaper."

I feel inarticulate today, so I'd like to quote Mr. Murray a bit:

The neoconservative movement is in its 11th hour. With the blood of 5,000 soldiers on its hands, Iraq in the thralls of a civil war, the Middle East as stable as Nicole Richie and America isolated and alone, the movement that beat the drums of war is being repudiated and silenced.

.....Americans want out of Iraq. A Sept. 18 USA Today poll showed that 59 percent of Americans are in favor of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.

....But even though [the] country has indicted, tried and convicted neo-conservatism as a fatally flawed foreign policy, adherents to the movement are not going quietly into the night. Realizing that the end of the Bush presidency means an end to the neo-conservative reign, neo-cons in the White House are planning one last hurrah that is poised to take place in Tehran.

"Senior American intelligence and defense officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran," wrote the British daily The Sunday Telegraph.

...Last week, unbeknownst to most Americans and ignored by most media outlets, Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., filed an amendment to the 2008 Defense Reauthorization bill that gives a wink and a nod to the White House for the anticipated invasion if Iran.

....The amendment proclaims "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."

The Senate, therefore, should "support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described ... with respect to the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Translation: War with Iran will face no opposition from the Senate.

The topic of a possible attack on Iran is not in the news too much (although a lot of the media have been reflexively demonizing Iran lately, have you noticed?), but I did see the topic on one of the Sunday political talk shows.

I watched the McLaughlin Group on Sunday, after only watching one of Hillary's five appearances. (I must say I enjoyed her laughter on Fox News. A worthy response, and a hearty laugh.)

The topic on the McLaughlin Group was triggered by comments from General John Abizaid, who retired from being in charge of the Iraq war in May. Shortly before his retirement, he testified in Congress that he was opposed to the idea of the surge.

(And Bush, in naming Petraeus as his successor, undoubtedly chose someone in FAVOR of what Bush wanted. Yeah, he listens to his generals. Picks them to agree with him, then "obeys" them. Does Bush tell the truth ever? Every word he says seems a manipulation.)

Anyway, recently, in a very under-reported speech, Abizaid expressed his opinion that attacking Iran was a bad idea. (I quote from the McLaughlin Group home page, which doesn't have transcripts but only limited snippets.)

Abizaid said he doubted Iran would ever attack the U.S., and he went on to say "Iran is not a suicide nation. They may have some people in charge that don't appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon. ...There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran. Let's face it. We lived with a nuclear Soviet Union. We've lived with a nuclear China. We're living with nuclear other powers as well."

Wow. Imagine, saying out loud "there are ways to live with a nuclear Iran."

The panel was conservatives John McLaughlin, Pat Buchanan, Tony Blankley, and liberals Eleanor Clift and Clarence Page.

FOUR of the five agreed with Abizaid and thought bombing Iran was a nightmare choice to consider.

That means conservatives McLaughlin and Buchanan were with the liberals on this position, indeed they were leading the conversation. Only gym-teacher-from-hell Tony Blankley was itching for a fight.

I used to view Pat Buchanan as a nightmare bully conservative. I must say, I have found relief and after a while interest in hearing him be against the war in Iraq (from the beginning). And I found his comments about what to do about Iran to be ... well ... really statesmanlike. (I'm transcribing this from my DVR recording of the show.)

McLaughlin asked Buchanan if Abizaid's offering his opinion about Iran was irresponsible, and Buchanan said this:

No, it was not irresponsible, and I would commend the General for doing this, John. I think what is going on here... first, a nuclear Iran is a terrible idea, but then you get down to the choice if we have to go to war to prevent it or delay it for 10 years, is a war with Iran worth it? General Abizaid is saying "I don't believe it is worth it." And secondly, I believe the General is speaking for generals retired and on duty right now, I think he's speaking for a lot of people in the Pentagon who desperately do not want this war with Iran, which the neo-conservatives and Mr. Cheney's element and the Israelis and others are pushing us toward. I think he performed a service for the country, he is doing what the Congress ought to be doing -- is weighing the question of whether or not what Iran is doing in Iraq and with regard to enhancement of nuclear technology is worth a United States war on Iran.

Eleanor Clift pointed out we were already living with North Korea, whose leader was as crazy or crazier than Iran's. And that Iran had a very middle class population who wasn't necessarily behind their leaders; it was remembered that millions of Iranians marched in SOLIDARITY with the U.S. after 9/11.

McLaughlin remembered that during the Iraq-Iran war (when we supported Saddam), Saddam used chemical weapons against the Iranians, and the Iranians did NOT use them back, because they said it was against their religion. (I didn't know that, did you?)

Plus if we embark on bombing Iran, Eleanor pointed out, you can't just assume the bombing will take care of it all, you have to have back-up troops if you need them, and we don't. And also bombing would throw these middle class Iranians back into the arms of the extremists, and the whole country would get nationalistic -- which happens when you bomb or invade a country, it doesn't usually lead to being offered flowers and dinner invitations. And that a more nationalistic Iran would be enormously harder to deal with in the future. Not to mention, if we bomb/invade yet a THIRD Middle East country, might not there really be hell to pay? Also not to mention the wonderful way that has of recruiting more terrorists?

Whaddya say, Bill Kristol, you agree in any way whatsoever, you despicable moron? (I'm sorry, but your name doesn't rhyme with "betray-us" and I couldn't think how else to insult you.)

Buchanan also felt that Iran may not really want the bomb at all, or if it did, it may primarily be for deterrence sake -- I mean, think about it, Israel has the bomb, the U.S. has the bomb, North Korea has the bomb, Pakistan (Lord protect us) has the bomb -- and Iran can't have it, why? Because we say they're crazy? Hmmmm.

Buchanan felt that there were assurances that we could give Iran that might cause them to give up the bomb (I think he meant promising not to attack them, but the section had a lot of overtalking), and that their economy was bad and needed help. And he felt that diplomacy with them should absolutely be tried and agreements made rather than going to yet another war. He felt coming to some agreement with them was possible, and way preferable to bombing them.

Plus, he also felt living with a nuclear Iran was preferable to another war. But that diplomacy had not been tried for real. (He also spoke of Nixon's making peace with China as a positive thing, and of Nixon having to overlook a lot that was bad about that country.)

I just found it very interesting to watch this show, which I haven't seen in a long time, in which the conservatives used to be in lock-step, and now they're not. Bush and the neocons have made Republicanism something it didn't used to be.

So McLaughlin and Buchanan (as well as some other conservatives) are not enamored of Bush and the neocons. Unlike Republicans in Congress, they're not lock-step with Bush. Only Tony Blankley was Bush-and-Cheney-esque... He feels we can "stop" Iran, which means by military means. And it's worked great in Iraq, right? Sure, no problem. Really easy to control stuff in the Middle East using force.

Well that's my hello for today.

Call your representatives. Tell them to vote "no" on the Kyl-Liberman amendment.

And didn't Barack Obama float the idea that the original Iraq war resolution should be rescinded? Or at least amended -- so that Congress RECLAIMS its constitutional power to declare war? (And they better add a specific clause, forbidding a strike on Iran without congressional approval too.)

I'm sure even if they did pass that, Bush could come yell at them when he wanted to bomb Iran and 60% of them would all quiver and give in. But still, it would be a good existential gesture, no?