I could probably actually blog about this every single week and find plenty of fodder, but this week I saw some particularly egregious statements that undermine our efforts to enact effective diplomatic relations with Iran:
#3: “Mr. Chairman, our best chance to avoid war with Iran is to make sure that Mr. Khomeini [sic] and Mr. Ahmadinejad know that all options, including the military option, Mr. Chairman, are on the table, should they continue to defy those standards of behavior that all responsible members of the international community must respect in order to coexist.”
-Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ)
Rep. Franks made this remark while proposing an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that would have required the Department of Defense to develop and maintain a military option against Iran and report on Iran’s progress on uranium enrichment. The amendment was passed in a watered-down version, which still drew objection from some members of the committee. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI) stated, “The language in [Rep. Franks’] amendment and the language in Mr. Hunter’s amendment in effect is a declaration of war on Iran.” Franks obviously thinks our current policy of rattling our saber at Iran exceptionally effective, and hasn’t given much weight to the idea of diplomatic engagement as a far better route to avoiding war.
#2: “This is a girl who puts on her pearls, goes down, throws down a shot of liquor and bombs Iran, you know.”
“Hehehe, it does have an appeal to it.”
– Right wing radio host Bill Bennett and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
If I didn’t already have a full-time job, I might start a blog chronicling all the idiotic things Joe Lieberman and his buddies say. Think Progress featured Bennett’s glowing analysis of Hillary Clinton’s “transformation” from Lieberman’s appearance on Bill Bennett’s radio show. First of all, last time I checked, Hillary Clinton was a 60-year-old woman, not a girl. Secondly, starting an unprovoked war on Iran that would devastate its civilian population is not a drinking game, it’s a crime. I can only hope that Lieberman’s colleagues in the Senate can minimize the damage Lieberman wants to inflict on our foreign policy and the United States’ standing in the global community.
#1: “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”
By now you have probably all heard this one, and it’s so outlandish it almost doesn’t need an analysis (though since Lieberman also offered that Bush “got it exactly right,” perhaps I’ll offer an alternative viewpoint). I suppose it’s not surprising that President Bush has no idea what diplomacy actually is since he hasn’t engaged in it effectively. If he did decide to engage Iran, it sounds like he would have his advisers in a room trying to come up with an “ingenious argument” to convince Iran to forgo uranium enrichment. If he had ever expressed interest in engaging in diplomacy, he would know that it is a tough, pragmatic process that isn’t just talking for the sake of talking, but includes putting a broad range of issues on the table and using carefully calibrated combinations of pressure and incentives. President Bush has also adopted one of my biggest political pet peeves—pulling out some comparison to Hitler as a way to seal up a political argument, regardless of how inappropriate the comparison is. Given the fact that most of Bush’s foreign policy has consisted of “foolish delusions,” there is no reason to give much weight to his ideas of what our foreign policy with Iran should look like.
Honorable mention for appropriate response to idiotic Iran statements:
"This is bulls**t, this is malarkey, this is outrageous!"
-Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), responding to Bush’s comparison of proponents of diplomacy with Iran to Nazi appeasers