Last night at the Democratic debate in Philadelphia, Hillary Clinton got hit with both barrels over her support of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment on Iran. While I tepidly sympathize with the concern about this amendment ('if you give the Bush Administration an inch . . . they will invade an Islamic country') the current debate over Iran, in Democratic circles, is vaguely troubling.
For those of you who have read my earlier posts you would know that I am not a giant fan of the junior Senator from New York, but I thought her argument about Iran last night was a strong one:
I am not in favor of this rush for war, but I'm also not in favor of doing nothing. Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. And the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is in the forefront of that, as they are in the sponsorship of terrorism. So some may want a false choice between rushing to war, which is the way the Republicans sound -- it's not even a question of whether, it's a question of when and what weapons to use -- and doing nothing. I prefer vigorous diplomacy. And I happen to think economic sanctions are part of vigorous diplomacy. We used them with respect to North Korea. We used them with respect to Libya. And many of us who voted for that resolution said that this is not anything other than an expression of support for using economic sanctions with respect to diplomacy.
She's basically right here on two counts. First, the most bellicose language in the Kyl-Lieberman amendment was taken out of the final version and if you read the amendment it does seem a bit tame.
Second, Democrats agree that war with Iran is a bad idea, but what is their alternative? If you read the responses of the other Democratic presidential candidates from last night they spend most of their time saying why they think military action is a mistake . . . and precious little on how a Democratic Administration would stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. Frankly, Hillary has come the closest to answering this question (although she has a ways to go).
I was a shocked to go to Joe Biden's presidential campaign web site and discover that this is basically all he has to say about Iran's nuclear program.
We need to end the genocide in Darfur as well as check Iran and North Korea’s progress on nuclear weapons and prevent them from increasing their nuclear arsenal.
And this guy is the supposed foreign policy expert of the Dems running for President. He has an entire section on what the US should do in Darfur and nothing on how to deal with Iran's nuclear program. My old boss Chris Dodd says even less. Barack Obama says more about Charles Taylor on his web site then he does Iran. Kudos to John Edwards for actually addressing the issue in-depth.