Speaking today at the Johns Hopkins Center for Politics and Foreign Relations, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) accused “left-wing blogs” of making up “conspiracy theories” about the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, which passed the Senate last month. It designated part of the Iranian army a terrorist organization. Lieberman called opponents of the amendment “politically paranoid” and “hyper-partisan.”
He also claimed that the “amendment contained nothing” that could be seen “as a green light” for war:
These were absurd arguments. The text of our amendment contained nothing–nothing–that could be construed as a green light for an attack on Iran. To claim that it did was an act of delusion or deception.
On the contrary, by calling for tougher sanctions on Iran, the intention of our amendment was to offer an alternative to war.
Lieberman’s argument is the only “deception” going on. It didn’t take “conspiracy theories” to realize that the amendment would move America closer to war with Iran. In the original version of the bill, which was only changed after pressure from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), language was included that explicitly endorsed the use of “military instruments” against Iran:
(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.
Even after the “military instruments” language was removed from the amendment, the final bill still shifted America into a more war-prone posture. As Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) noted at the time, just labeling Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as “a foreign terrorist organization” could “mandate” the military option against Iran:
It could be read as tantamount to a declaration of war. What do we do with terrorist organizations? If they are involved against us, we attack them.
Given the language of the bill and Lieberman’s previous calls for “aggressive military action” against Iran, progressive blogs were hardly “delusional” in warning against the dangers of the amendment. But Lieberman would rather lash out at straw men caricatures of “left-wing blogs” and “hyper-partisans” than deal with legitimate criticism.