Democratic presidential hopeful takes a get-tough stance against tyrant of Tehran
By BARACK OBAMA
Americans need to come together to confront the challenge posed by Iran. Yet the Bush administration and an anonymous senator are blocking a bill with bipartisan support that would ratchet up the pressure on the Iranian regime. It's time for this obstructionism to stop.
The decision to wage a misguided war in Iraq has substantially strengthened Iran, which now poses the greatest strategic challenge to U.S. interests in the Middle East in a generation. Iran supports violent groups and sectarian politics in Iraq, fuels terror and extremism across the Middle East and continues to make progress on its nuclear program in defiance of the international community. Meanwhile, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared that Israel must be "wiped off the map."
Hook, line and sinker. He bought the whole thing. Please, other than the increasingly hysterical rhetoric of the Bush White House (that is eerily similar--if not outright identical--to the 2001-2002 rhetoric against Saddam Hussein), why would Barack Obama believe that Iran is such a threat? Given the past seven years, should Bush's say so truly carry that much credibility?
In fairness to Obama, much of his op-ed is actually very critical of the Bush administration for their lack of diplomacy, but it hardly matters, because by accepting the Bush framing of a looming crisis against Iran, he's given all the right wing pundits the ammo of saying, "Even that liberal Obama thinks we have to take out Ahmadinejad!" He even justifies the threat by citing Ahmadinejad's words against Israel, although, unfortunately, he relies on the Bush administration's translation of Farsi, which as we've seen before, only has a glancing relationship with reality.
This is not to single out Obama either; all of the top tier candidates have tried to earn their "I'm not a wimpy Democrat but a strong leader" bona fides with tough talk against Iran. But this kind of talk is incredibly irresponsible and we--as the progressive community--MUST be clear with the Democratic contenders who are seeking our support that if they think the occupation in Iraq is going bad, any military actions against Iran would be like Iraq on steroids. We've already seen how much damage a president with no understanding of the geo-political or cultural circumstances of an area can do. We simply cannot afford another one.