The Senate voted this morning on the politically charged Lieberman-Kyl amendment about Iran’s alleged destabilizing presence in Iraq. At a critical time when Congress should be counteracting the Bush administration’s saber rattling and promoting constructive diplomacy with Iran, the vast majority of senators endorsed more aggressive, unproductive posturing. The 76-22 vote included some surprises, with Republicans Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Richard Lugar (R-IN) voting against the amendment, with many Democrats, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, voting in favor. I will be making some calls and doing a bit of digging to try to find out more about the reasons behind these unexpected votes.
Before the vote, two of the most incendiary portions of the amendment were removed:
(3) That it should be the policy of the United States to stop inside Iraq the violent activities and destabilizing influence 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 inside Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.
While this is an improvement over the original version of the amendment, it is still a hostile move that could escalate tensions with Iran and pave the way for military confrontation. Please take a moment to write to your senators and thank them if they voted against the amendment, and let them know you are outraged and want them to promote diplomacy with Iran if they voted in favor.