I put off blogging on this for a while, as other issues took precedence, but I was brought back to this after reading a two-week old Newsweek article on Hillary and Iran. I've noted elsewhere that there seems to be an almost obsessive fear with regards to Iran--not so much from the threat Iran poses, but from the possibility that we may have to engage that threat. The anti-war Left, a lot of the Democratic leadership, and many in the press seem to abide under a constant fear of a war with Iran. Let me say that I don't want to go to war with Iran if we don't have to, and I think that view is shared by all but the most hardened hawks on the right. The thing is, whether some of us refuse to admit or not, Iran is a real threat, and we may have to engage that threat down the line.
The anti-war Left has gone after Democrats whom they feel have not done enough to oppose what they feel is a march to war with Iran. They have piled on Lieberman for basically pointing out that we may have to engage Iran, and they have recently piled on Hillary (and other Dems) for backing the Kyl-Lieberman resolution. At the last debate, the other Democratic candidates hammered Hillary over this. Edwards said it "was written by the neocons." Obama, Biden, and others attacked her. Hillary defended herself by asserting her commitment to dealing with the threat of Iran honestly. Here's the thing, whatever one thinks of Hillary Clinton's political motivations for voting for the resolution that effectively declares the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization, one thing ought to be clear: The Iranian Revolutionary Guard is a terrorist organization. If Hezbollah, Hamas, and al-Qaeda are terrorist organizations (no one is disputing that, are they?) then by what I've read, the Quds force is as well.
The problem many have with this resolution is that in their view, it gives Bush legal ammunition to further a casus belli for Iran. I am, for all intents and purposes, a supporter of the Iraq war, but I understand the concern of rushing too quickly into another war, without sufficient planning, or without sufficient public support. To call Iraq a controversial war is the acme of understatement. I reject the idea that this war was doomed from the start, and still cling to hope even now, but many assumptions were proven wrong about this war, and I understand the rational fear about these things.
I just don't see this resolution as necessarily leading to war. I'd been hearing a lot about this resolution, so I read it myself. The whole thing. Frankly, I see nothing to really be alarmed about, unless one totally rejects the idea of identifying threats. Consider this:
(b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--
(1) that the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region, the prospects for democracy for the people of the region, and the health of the global economy;
(2) that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq, including by overwhelming, subverting, or co-opting institutions of the legitimate Government of Iraq;
(3) 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, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;
(4) to 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 in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;
(5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224; and
(6) that the Department of the Treasury should act with all possible expediency to complete the listing of those entities targeted under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2006 and March 24, 2007, respectively.
The way I see it, all this does is acknowledge the threat, and says that we should do all we can to stop it. Diplomacy, economic pressure, and IF NECESSARY, military force. The fact is, we know that Syria has terrorist ties. We've had several resolutions stating this fact. Have we moved any closer to war with Syria as a result? Of course not. I'll say again, that only the most hard-line hawks are calling for strikes against Iran right now, but only fools delude themselves into thinking that all of Ahmadinejad's talk is bluster, and that the threat of nuclear Iran is not real.
OK, whew. That was longer than I'd thought it would be.