James Kirchick calls me out for yesterday's snarky post about Joe Lieberman and his "Iran is killing our troops so let's do something" amendment:
By its actions in Iraq, Iran has essentially declared war on us. How the United States ought to react is still up for debate. Other than snark, what do Dave and those who, however bad their spelling, righteously call Lieberman a "warmongerer" suggest?
Speaking for myself I suggest: Not going to war with Iran. Hyperpowers like the United States are in a unique position where all sorts of small powers want a piece of us and we have the ability, if we so choose, to respond to all of them. When we're losing face and some of our soldiers get killed, it's awfully tempting to do that. It's wise to resist the impulse because it's altogether easy to get bogged down in these responses. That's sort of the lesson of our Iraq adventure, isn't it?
The problem with Lieberman is that his default response to Middle East flare-ups is military action. He has a track record of this stuff, and he tells anyone who'll ask that, yes, he'd support war with Iran. If we answer Iran's rather measly challenge (the bad guys are spending about $3 million a month in Iraq, which is as much as we spend every half hour) with some sort of large-scale military response, what does Lieberman think will happen? Why's he convinced it won't metastize into a larger war?
The near-unanimous support for this amendment brings to mind the unanimous support for the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act. That act stated that "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." Whatever one thinks about the wisdom of the Iraq war, keep in mind that regime change in Iraq was the official, bipartisan policy of the United States government years before it became fashionable for journalists to write tiresome, 5,000-word articles linking Ahmed Chalabi, PNAC and Paul Wolfowitz.
OK, I'm going to get accused of snark again, but… so what if it was a bipartisan policy? The fact that it was a stupid and disastrous policy seems more pertinent.