It is a tragedy that in the midst of one failed war in Iraq, George Bush and Dick Cheney are pushing a second front of failure and gearing up to attack Iran. The "unilateral sanctions" recently imposed will hurt diplomatic progress in the region, and I find it disconcerting that so many Democrats supported President Bush in his saber-rattling.
Senator Clinton voted to enable George Bush when she voted for the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment. Senator Obama, skipped the Iran vote entirely.
Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate and work with us for peace. But it is a tried and true method of laying the groundwork for another war -- a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. Saying that we're on a "path to diplomacy" while imposing these sanctions and increasing the war rhetoric only strengthens hard-line elements in the Iranian leadership and increases the risk of violence breaking out.
Further, a policy of "unilateral sanctions will actually diminish our diplomatic options. "Unilateral sanctions" are both ineffective and porous, and they will undermine the effort to get meaningful multilateral sanctions that the Iranians would possibly pay attention to.
Diplomacy continues to be the path not taken by the Bush administration.
Again and again, President Bush has shown a disdain for diplomacy and our own governmental institutions. The Democratic Congress needs to stand up to this president and prevent him from starting another needless war, which will further isolate us in the world and strengthen our enemies.
Bush's goal seems clear -- to keep ramping up the rhetoric and threats until he's managed to back us into another unwanted war. But what isn't clear to me is what Congress is going to do about it. Haven't we yet learned the lesson that if you give this president an inch on this aggression, he will take a mile?
I know this region. I spent 80 percent of my time as ambassador to the United Nations on Iraq and the Middle East issues. If we want to succeed in the region, we have to get all of our troops out of Iraq. We have to talk to the Iranians and back that up with global diplomacy to build strong support for tough sanctions. That is how we will be successful, not with the president's saber-rattling. Congress needs to stop him before he goes too far.
Of course, Congress just had a chance to stand up to Bush with an unequivocal "no war with Iran" vote. But they squandered the opportunity -- just as they, time and time again, have missed chances to stand up to Bush on Iraq.
Now is not the time for a "wait and see" attitude -- not on ending the war in Iraq and not on starting a war in Iran.
When it comes to Iraq, I want all the troops out, now. If the president won't do it, we need to convince Congress to stand up -- go to www.getourtroopsout.com to join us.