At the Senate confirmation hearing for Leon Panetta, President Obama’s Defense Secretary nominee, reliable neocon Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) wanted to make sure that Panetta has a plan for attacking Iran:
LIEBERMAN: As President Obama has said, all options have to remain on the table. I wanted to ask you whether, as secretary of defense, you will consider it one of your responsibilities to have credible military plans to strike and destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities if the President as commander-in-chief decides it is necessary to use that option?
As if to humor the Senator from Connecticut, Panetta noted that President Obama has said that all options are on the table, and “that would obviously require appropriate planning.” Watch it:
In September, Lieberman delivered a major foreign policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations where he re-hashed the same arguments he used to push for the Iraq war and then glossed over the negative impact of the invasion and occupation. Lieberman’s argument at the time was to get over talking about “options” and do some real threatening. “It’s time to send a message,” Lieberman said. “We will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability — by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must.”
Lieberman also teamed up with group of senators last winter to send a letter to Obama urging him against making any deal with Iran that would allow continued nuclear enrichment on Iranian soil. The position renders negotiations with Iran moot, since domestic enrichment is considered a right by Iran, an overwhelmingly popular stance even across sharply-divided political factions.
Aside from all the negative consequences of attacking Iran, IPS reported yesterday that former CentCom commander Retired Adm. William Fallon criticized the kind of rhetoric Lieberman is espousing, saying it serves as an obstacle to engagement with Iran. “The problem was and still is…this incessant focus on conflict, conflict, conflict,” he said, adding, “We ought to be working pretty hard to focus on other things that would put us in a different place.”