via Lobe Log

Lobe Log publishes Hawks on Iran every Friday. Our posts highlight militaristic commentary and confrontational policy recommendations about Iran from a variety of sources including news articles, think tanks and pundits.

Joe Lieberman, RFE/RL: The independent senator who said in April that if Iran ”is approaching a nuclear weapons capability, then we have to act militarily” reiterates his stance more explicitly:

“So, we’re coming to a point where there will only be two choices for not just the U.S and Israel but other countries.” Lieberman said. “Will we simply sit back and let Iran become a nuclear power and destabilize the region and start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East? Or will we be compelled to take some military action to delay or destroy that program?”

He said it “doesn’t make any sense” to wait until Iran actually possesses nuclear weapons to take military action. “What we are saying,” he said, “is [that] we have to be ready, if all else fails — economic sanctions, diplomacy, etc.”

But many, even in the intelligence community, have suggested that an attack on Iran would not totally eliminate the Islamic republic’s ability to produce nuclear weapons, since Iran’s nuclear facilities are believed to be located deep underground or inside mountains.

Asked about that, Lieberman replied that a military strike would at least delay Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and buy time until a new Iranian regime, possibly more amenable to negotiations, came to power.

“I think we have the capability either to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program or to disable it in a way that it will be delayed for enough years that we may hope and pray that there will be a regime change and that there will be a more democratic and friendly regime,” he said.

Elliott Abrams, Council on Foreign Relations: While referencing a poorly sourced and unverifiable Wall Street Journal report alleging that Iran is militarily involved in Syria, Abrams agrees with a Washington Post editorial board op-ed calling American policy today “reprehensible” and “morally indefensible” for its passivity”:

We appear to have concluded that passivity is the best policy, that nothing important is at stake, and that an Iranian victory is nothing much to be concerned about. We appear unconcerned as well about public opinion in the Arab world, where people can hear Syrian rebels criticizing the United States for providing only rhetorical support and being indifferent to their slaughter. The president who traveled to Cairo in 2009 to court Arab opinion has apparently decided that speeches are one thing, and action another.

I have little to add to the Post’s rhetoric in its editorial today. This is a shameful, and damaging, moment in American foreign policy.

John McCain, Republican National Convention: Even NBC’s Chris Matthews was taken aback by the former presidential candidates militarist speech at the RNC this week. Here’s what McCain had to say about Iran (and Syria):

When Iranians rose up by the millions against their
repressive rulers, when day beseeched our president, chanting in
English, “Are you with us or are you with them?”  When the
entire world watched as a brave young woman named Neda was shot
and bled to death in a street in Tehran, the president missed an
historic opportunity to throw America’s full moral support
behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest
interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorized
the Middle East and threatens the world.
(APPLAUSE)

In other times, when other courageous people fought for
their freedom against sworn enemies of the United States,
American presidents, both Republicans and Democrats, have acted
to help them prevail.
(APPLAUSE)
Sadly — sadly for the lonely voices of descent in Syria
and Iran and elsewhere in the world will feel forgotten in their
darkness and sadly for us, as well.  Our president is not being
true to our values.
(APPLAUSE)
For the sake of the cause of freedom, for the sake of
people who are willing to give their lives so their fellow
citizens can determine their own futures and for the sake of our
nation, the nation founded on the idea that all people
everywhere have the right to freedom and justice.  We must
return to our best traditions of American leadership and support
those who face down the brutal tyranny of their oppressors and
our enemies.