Richardson Proves You *Can* Take Bombing Iran Off the Table

05/25/2011 12:10 pm ET

Remember the mantra? "Nothing can be taken off the table" in dealing with Iran, said Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, in what was clearly an endorsement of the threat of military force against Iran. It seemed for a time like there was an iron law of the universe that the set of Presidential candidates considered "serious" by the mainstream media couldn't intersect with the set of candidates (Kucinich, Gravel) who clearly said that it is wrong for the United States to threaten to bomb Iran. The three Democratic frontrunners subsequently said other things, but they never repudiated this formulation.

This, of course, despite the fact that threatening to bomb countries that haven't attacked you is a war crime. "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state," says the UN Charter.

But that doesn't matter, apparently, and so it seemed that whatever process determines who is a "serious" candidate and whatever process determines what these serious candidates say about foreign policy worked together to ensure that any discussion of taking bombing Iran off the table was itself, off the table.

Until now. "If we want Iran to improve its behavior, we would do well to stop threatening to attack them," Bill Richardson told the Center for National Policy, AP reports.

Richardson said that the United States should talk to Iran without preconditions.

Presumably, as former US Ambassador to the UN, Richardson cannot be dismissed so easily as Representative Kucinich, who is only the former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Since we have a "serious" presidential candidate who is willing to say that it's wrong to threaten to attack Iran, there should be a serious debate among the Presidential candidates about U.S. policy towards Iran.

AP reports that "nearly all the Republicans vying to replace Bush said during a recent debate they would not rule out using nuclear weapons" against Iran. So, nearly all the Republicans will not rule out committing an unprecedented war crime - use of nuclear weapons against a country that has not attacked us. If Democrats want to be the party of law and order, this would be a good place to start.

Ask your Representative to oppose an unauthorized attack on Iran: