Lieberman: Airstrikes in Iran are ‘a distinct possibility.’

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"Lieberman: Airstrikes in Iran are ‘a distinct possibility.’"

This morning, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, where Pat Buchanan asked him whether he believed “the United States states should conduct air strikes on the Iranian Quds force in Iran if they do not stop” interfering in Iraq. Lieberman replied that he “hoped” the U.S. would not have to strike at “the people who are responsible for killing Americans,” but said that the Iranians should “have in mind that it’s a distinct possibility.” Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/05/liebiranbuch.320.240.flv]

Lieberman, one of the most vocal supporters of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), has been pushing for war with Iran for a long time. As far back as last June, he said that the U.S. had “to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq.”

Transcript

BUCHANAN: Now, Do you believe that the United States should conduct air strikes on the Iranian quds force in Iran if they do not stop this and do you expect president Bush to do something like that because almost everyone in the administration at a high level, including gates, are saying this hasn’t stopped, it’s going on.

LIEBERMAN: Pat, I hope we don’t have to get to the point of moving in any way into Iran to strike at the base of the people who are responsible for killing Americans. But I hope that the Quds force and the Iranian government has in mind that that is a distinct possibility because let’s be direct about this — and that’s why I asked General Petraeus the question — the Iranians have been equipping to go back and are responsible for the killing of hundreds of American soldiers. This is an outrageous act of the kind of proxy war against us. These people have American blood on their hands and plenty of Iraqi blood as well. I want them to understand that if they don’t stop this, they run the risk having us strike the lines that they are using, the bases, the depots that they have. Pat, you just can’t sit back.

BUCHANAN: I know that, Senator. What I want to ask you is look, I was with Richard Nixon and they doing this from Cambodia and he finally said, Enough, and he bombed the base camps in Cambodia and even went into them. Why is President Bush hesitating to do what should be done, in your judgment, to protect American soldiers from these IEDs, rockets, mortars and other things which are steadily pouring in and they’re using them to fire into the Green Zone?

LIEBERMAN: Yeah, well, obviously President Bush is the only one to answer that question. I’m sure one of the reasons is that he hopes the diplomatic efforts, including now some real strong action by Prime Minister Maliki from Baghdad. Maliki sent a delegation to Tehran about two weeks ago to say to the Iranian government high up, Cut it out. This not only is killing Americans, it’s killing Iraqis. It is a violation of Iraqi sovereignty. He has now appointed a special committee to pull the facts together. I think the best way for a real military conflict to be avoided is for the Iraqis to tell their neighbors, We want to live in peace with you but not going to stand by nor are the Americans if you continue to come in here and basically, through militias and extremists, kill thousands of Iraqis and Americans.

Update

As Brian Katulis writes, “The best way to motivate Iraq’s neighbors to actually do something is to announce that the United States plans to redeploy its troops from Iraq within a specific time frame.”

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