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Clinton and Obama Shadow Boxing Over Iran Vote (Or Lack Thereof)

1349219264_a545c9a421_m.jpgI really think I’ve had enough of Profile in Courage Barack Obama trying to pin Hillary Clinton for voting "yea" on the toxic Kyl-Lieberman bill while he was huddled in the corner somewhere and didn’t vote. If Obama cared so very much about the bill and isn’t just being a political opportunist, then why didn’t he mention it in their debate that very night? Seems like it might have been a good time to bring it up.

But the truth is, Joe Lieberman once again led everyone over a cliff introducing a stupid and bellicose Iran bill. He’d done it just this last summer, too. Right after Lieberman voted against the troops and against the Webb Amendment, he launched a new Iran Amendment. As Siun wrote at the time:

This gist of the amendment: It is the sense of the senate that Iran is participating in acts of war against the United States. (h/t OpenLeft)

They were making minor changes to the language right up to the last minute but the released draft states:

that “the murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable act of hostility against the United States,” and demands the government of Iran “take immediate action” to end all forms of support it is providing to Iraqi militias and insurgents. The amendment also mandates a regular report on Iran’s anti-coalition activity in Iraq.

Joe says:

“For many months, our military commanders and diplomats have warned us that the Iranian government has been training, equipping, arming, and funding proxies in Iraq who are murdering our troops,” said Senator Lieberman. “This amendment is a common sense, common ground statement of the Senate to Tehran: we know what you are doing, and you must stop.”

Levin and Salazar asked to be added as co-sponsors before the language was finalized, McCain used the bullshit Michael Gordon Hezbollah story to justify his vote, Graham waxed poetic comparing Iranian leadership to Hitler and Sen Durbin spoke of his support – as long as the amendment specified that it was not an authorization of military action. (Wow, what a relief! We all know that little details like congressional authorization matter so much to this White House).

Levin introduced the actual vote on the Lieberman Amendment by stressing that the Senate stands as one and that Iran had better listen.

The vote on that bill? 97-0. (those not voting: Brownback (R-KS), Johnson (D-SD), and Vitter (R-LA). We were all gobsmacked. And both Obama and Clinton had no trouble voting for that one.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton’s response to the NIE revelations today is utter gibberish:

"The new declassified key judgments of the Iran NIE expose the latest effort by the Bush administration to distort intelligence to pursue its ideological ends. The assessment of the NIE vindicates the policy Senator Clinton will pursue as President: vigorous American-led diplomacy, close international cooperation, and effective economic pressure, with the prospect of carefully calibrated incentives if Iran addresses our concerns. Neither saber rattling nor unconditional meetings with Ahmadinejad will stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Senator Clinton has the strength and experience to conduct the kind of vigorous diplomacy needed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons."

It’s just so full of contradictions and false assumptions it’s hard to know where to start.

The whole "war on terror" frame has everyone in this race speaking and acting like idiots. They might as well be shrieking about the Red Menace. It forces everyone to prove they are a giant swinging codpiece and thus "tough on terra," but really a diplomat at heart.

You don’t have to be terribly bright to see that following Joe Lieberman’s lead on anything falls under the category of "brutally stupid." Somehow our front runner candidates just do not seem to grasp that yet.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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