Last month, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) argued on CBS’s Face the Nation, that the U.S. should “be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq.” “If there’s any hope” of stopping Iran’s nuclear program, “we can’t just talk to them. … We’ve got to use our force and to me that would include taking military action.”
Today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Lieberman writes, “[E]very leader [in Washington] has a responsibility to acknowledge that…the Iranian government…has all but declared war on us and our allies in the Middle East.” He argues that the use of force against Iran is needed for one primary reason — to temper Iran’s “expansionist” desires to “dominate” its neighbors:
Iran is acting aggressively and consistently to undermine moderate regimes in the Middle East, establish itself as the dominant regional power and reshape the region in its own ideological image.
…[Iran] hopes to push the U.S. out of Iraq and Afghanistan, so that its proxies can then dominate [neighboring] states. Tehran knows that an American retreat under fire would send an unmistakable message throughout the region that Iran is on the rise and America is on the run. That would be a disaster for the region and the U.S.
Lieberman, however, used nearly identical talking points to retroactively justify the U.S invasion of Iraq. In the spring of 2004, after the search for WMDs proved fruitless, Lieberman argued that without U.S. intervention, Iraq would have embarked on its own campaign to dominate the “Arab world”:
I believe that [Iraq] developed [weapons of mass destruction] to use them against their neighbors. I’m talking about the Iraqis, their neighbors in the Arab world and the Persian Gulf.
Remember that Saddam was very clear that he had a plan. And the plan was to become the emperor, if you will, of the Arab world, to make Baghdad the capital of the Arab world.
Now, of course, that would have been terrible for the Arab world, and it would have been terrible for us. And, I think, in the short run his neighbors in the Persian Gulf and the Arab world are probably more significantly safe today than they were before, almost equal to our increase in safety as a result of our victory.
Lieberman was wrong in his solution for how to deal with Iraq and he’s wrong today about the consequences of U.S. military action against Iran. Fortunately, Lieberman is standing increasingly alone — according to a recent poll, 72 percent of the American public “favor diplomacy to pressure with Iran.”
UPDATE: Carpetbagger has more.