Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hillary’s Iran Problem

For quite some time the Obama and Edwards campaigns have been looking for a way to attack Hillary on her Iran vote this fall. For the most part, their attacks have been weak and ineffective. Yesterday’s huge news that Iran gave up its nuclear program, however, represents a huge, huge problem for the “experienced” candidate.

Hillary’s defense of her Iran vote has essentially been two fold. First, she has claimed that it was intended to stop the Iranian military from sponsoring terrorism, particularly in Iraq. She claims that the resolution has “worked”. Either she has an overinflated sense of importance for the US Congress or she thinks that she can lie as easily and effectively as George Bush. Because there is no way to prove that the resolution has had any effect and it’s more likely than not that it has merely bolstered the Revolutionary Guard’s standing at home as well as made them more recalcitrant. Propaganda goes a long way in politics.

But even more egregiously, Hillary has compared her vote to the “carrots and sticks” policies advocated by her husband (who, btw, she claims she “advised” on foreign policy matters all the time). The response, of course, is that, no Mrs. Clinton, this is not a policy of “carrots and sticks” it’s a policy of “sticks and sticks”. “Carrots” would be when you give them something they want, not when you call their military a terrorist organization and threaten them with military action. Her appeal to this vote as a “carrots and sticks” policy is, frankly, a bold face lie and more than reveals enough about her character for me.

That being said, the new National Intelligence Estimate represents an even graver threat to her foreign policy inclinations as it clearly shows that Iran is NOT the threat that the Neo-Cons have been pushing. The fact that Hillary bought into the Neo-Con agenda either shows incredibly poor judgment, it reveals her true foreign policy inclinations, or it’s evidence that she’s not willing to challenge the GOP on controversial issues even when those challenges are justified and necessary.

For someone who claims to be experienced and sage, particularly on foreign policy issues, this looks like the type of blunder a first year senator would make. Sadly, Obama didn’t have the courage to vote against the bill (he opted to not vote). But I think this incident makes clear that Hillary is not one to stick to her ideals, even when those ideals make the most sense. Instead, she is one to “move to the center” and follow in Bill’s footsteps. Forgive me if I suggest that “moving to the center” is the very reason why we are in Iraq in the first place and is the heart of a great number of troubles our nation has. Sometimes, it’s good to do the right thing, even if you get tarred and feathered for it.



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