Guess who “has re-emerged as a central figure in the latest U.S. strategy for Iraq” accord to McClatchey’s Nancy Youssef? That’s right: Ahmed Chalabi! Let the good times roll.
Prior to the Iraq war, International Atomic Energy Agency chairman Mohammed ElBaradei warned there was “no evidence of ongoing prohibited nuclear or nuclear-related activities in Iraq.” He was subsequently smeared by the administration, but ultimately vindicated as the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize for getting it right.
Today on CNN, ElBaradei sounded alarms about the Bush administration’s increasingly hawkish rhetoric in regards to Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions. “We have the time” to use diplomacy, ElBaradei urged. There is “no military solution” with Iran:
I very much have concern about confrontation, building confrontation, Wolf, because that would lead absolutely to a disaster. I see no military solution. The only durable solution is through negotiations and inspections. … My fear if that we continue to escalate from both sides from both sides that we would end up into a precipice, we would end up into an abyss.
ElBaradei poured water over Vice President Cheney’s confident declaration last week that “Iran is pursuing technology that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. The world knows this.” While ElBaradei did not rule out Iran having an “intent” to obtain nuclear weapons, he explained that there is no evidence that Iran is currently pursuing such a program right now:
I have not received any information that there is a concrete, active nuclear weapon program going on right now. … We have information that there have been maybe some studies about possible weaponization. But we are looking into these alleged studies with Iran right now. … But have we seen having the nuclear material that can be readily used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No. So there is a concern, but there is also time to clarify these concerns.
ElBaradei also urged the U.S. to halt its fiery rhetoric and directly engage Iran in talks: “The earlier we go into negotiation, the earlier we follow the North Korean model, the better for everybody.”
I’m not sure Wesley Clark’s defense of Hillary Clinton’s support of the Kyl-Lieberman amendment was convincing, but it was the sort of thing that might convince. Clark is, after all, a great proxy to have doing outreach to more dovish voters for you — an Iraq War opponent, a committed multilateralist, and someone with deep ties to the blogosphere. Madeleine Albright not so much. When people worry that an HRC administration might be too hawkish, Albright is part of what we’re worrying about, she a member of the hawkish “strategic class” circle that Clinton was aligning herself with when she voted to authorize war with Iraq.
David Ignatius: “Military action would be irrational for both sides. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I wish the Bush administration could see that with each step it takes closer to conflict, it is walking toward a well-planned trap.” The thing is that the planning behind this trap isn’t really all that impressive and it’s pretty obvious what’s going on. The scary thing is that even though the trap’s not particularly clever, it’s very plausible that we’ll stumble into it anyway.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), a former prisoner of war who was tortured by the North Vietnamese, has spoken out forcefully against the practice of waterboarding. He said waterboarding is “a horrible torture technique” that “should never be condoned in the U.S.”
Last week, ThinkProgress questioned whether McCain would be willing to hold up Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey’s confirmation until he provides a clear-cut answer on whether he believes waterboarding is illegal.
On ABC’s This Week, McCain said, “Anybody who does not know if waterboarding is torture or not has no experience in the conduct warfare and national security.” The comments were a direct criticism against Rudy Giuliani and Mukasey, both of whom have refused to clearly condemn the practice.
Host George Stephanopoulos said, “You obviously feel strongly about this. Will Mr. Mukasey have to say clearly that waterboarding is torture to get your vote for attorney general?” McCain visibly stammered, hedged, and then refused to take a bold stance against Mukasey:
I can’t be that absolute. But I want to know his answer. I want to know his answer. Obviously, you judge a candidate for office or nominee for office on the entire record. But this is a very important issue to me.
McCain’s answer did not preclude him from holding up Mukasey’s confirmation. But, he did not lend his support to efforts by a number of Senators to refuse to confirm Mukasey if he does not come out firmly against waterboarding.
If McCain isn’t willing to stand up to Mukasey, he will have to explain why someone who “has no experience” in national security and condones a “horrible torture technique” deserves to be Attorney General.