Writing in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Sens. Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham celebrate the defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq while waxing indignant over Iran’s alleged role in the continuing violence:
Al Qaeda has been badly weakened by the surge, but it still retains a significant foothold in the northern city of Mosul, where Iraqi and coalition forces are involved in a campaign to destroy it.
Most importantly, Iran also continues to wage a vicious and escalating proxy war against the Iraqi government and the U.S. military. The Iranians have American blood on their hands. They are responsible, through the extremist agents they have trained and equipped, for the deaths of hundreds of our men and women in uniform. Increasingly, our fight in Iraq cannot be separated from our larger struggle to prevent the emergence of an Iranian-dominated Middle East.
First, you know who also has American blood on their hands? The former Sunni insurgents now on the U.S. payroll because they have promised to stop attacking Americans. Many of these former Al Qaeda fighters are personally responsible for the deaths of our men and women in uniform. But, apparently, agreeing to cooperate–at least for the moment— with America’s foreign policy goals wipes away a lot of American blood.
Second, while containing Iran’s growing influence in the region is an important goal, as is eradicating Al Qaeda in Iraq, it’s necessary to recognize that Al Qaeda’s presence in Iraq and Iran’s rising power are both themselves consequences of the Iraq invasion. By smashing the Iraqi state, the U.S. invasion, created an opportunity for Al Qaeda to foment sectarian hatred and violence in Iraq. By removing Iran’s greatest enemy Saddam Hussein, and creating a government dominated by Iran’s proxies, the U.S. invasion has strengthened Iran. It’s unclear why Lieberman and Graham should feel entitled to crow about solving problems that they helped cause in the first place.
Think Progress has more on the selective accounting of Lieberman and Graham’s op-ed.