Obama and Iran – The Democrats Select a Modern-Day McGovern
June 12, 2008, 8:38 pm
Filed under: Obama, national security disaster

Accuracy in the Media | By Joel Himelfarb

Judging from last week’s address to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Sen. Barack Obama doesn’t want voters to see him as soft on Iran and its genocidal President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And he certainly doesn’t want people to see him for what he is: part of the far-Seft fringe of the Democrat Party, an ideological ally of former Sen. George McGovern. McGovern, who lost 49 states to President Richard Nixon in 1972 (and his South Dakota Senate seat eight years later) has endorsed Obama this year.

Last September, Obama was one of a minority of Senate Democrats who couldn’t bring themselves to condemn the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) – part of the terrorist infrastructure directly involved in killing and maiming American GIs in Iraq. But large chunks of Obama’s AIPAC speech last week sounded as if they could have been written by his Republican foe, Sen. John McCain, who addressed the group several days earlier.

“The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region,” Obama declared. “It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race and raise the prospect of a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists. Its president denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is grave; it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.”

As a description of the Iranian threat, Obama was on the mark. But just three paragraphs later, Obama signaled that Tehran that it shouldn’t take his rhetorical flourish too seriously. For starters, President Obama will make sure that Tehran needn’t concern itself with 150,000 or so U.S. troops next door in Iraq. “Keeping all of our troops tied down indefinitely in Iraq is not the way to weaken Iran – it is precisely what has strengthened it. It is a plan for staying, not a plan for victory,” Obama said in his AIPAC speech. Instead, he proposed a “responsible, phased redeployment” (withdrawal) of U.S. troops in Iraq. (Anytime a politician feels the need to specify that his or her proposal is “responsible,” voters should probably assume it’s a bad idea.)

Obama’s idea is nonsense – dangerous nonsense. Leave aside the fact that Iran began “strengthening” itself with conventional and non-conventional armaments decades ago – long before President Bush deposed Saddam Hussein. And Tehran has been building its local and international terror networks ever since the 1979 revolution.

Does Obama really believe that we strengthen ourselves by pulling out of Iraq – in the face of a violent Iranian campaign to drive us out? Following Obama’s logic, the road to victory in World War II would have been ceding the beaches of Normandy a few months after D-Day to Hitler or the Vichyites. Perhaps Israel should have “redeployed” from the Sinai Peninsula a few weeks after the Six-Day War. And maybe President Lincoln should have done the same right after Gettysburg.

But in the real world of the 21st century, Obama’s withdrawal scheme would be a tremendous victory for Ahmadinejad and Iran. The regime has employed the IRGC (and, in particular, a branch known as the Quds Force) in facilitating the flow of rockets and roadside bombs to Iraqi Shi’ite and Sunni Jihadists. The IRGC reports directly to the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It operates its own air force, navy and ground-force, and maintains its own special-forces units. The IRGC is also involved in projects worth billions of dollars to build oil and natural-gas pipelines.

Steven Perles, an attorney representing relatives of some of the 241 U.S. Marines slain in the October 1983 bombing of their barracks in Beirut, told The Washington Times last year that the U.S. government has electronic intercepts showing that IRGC operatives drove the truck that carried out the bombing. Ahmadinejad rose through the ranks of the group during the 1980s.

More recently, however, the IRGC and the Quds Force have been involved in aiding Hezbollah and Palestinan terrorist groups such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and in helping send rockets to the Taliban in Afghanistan. Last year U.S. military officials in Iraq said that Quds Force is bringing groups of up to 60 Iraqi insurgents at a time to training facilities near Tehran, where they learn how to stage kidnappings and use improvised explosive devices and rockets to kill and maim American troops. American officials say the IRGC is responsible for smuggling explosively formed penetrators into Iraq. The EFPs, which can penetrate the armor of a Humvee, have accounted for scores of American combat deaths.

On September 26, 2007, Sens. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, and Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut Independent Democrat, introduced a nonbinding amendment to the defense authorization designating the IRGC a terrorist group because of its role in killing American soldiers. “The consequences of this Iranian terrorism in Iraq have been immense and terrible for our men and women in uniform and for their families and friends at home,” Lieberman said in explaining the need for the amendment. “According to LTG Ray Odierno, the deputy commander of our forces in Iraq, Iranian-supplied weapons were responsible for a full one-third of American combat deaths [in July 2007].That builds on a similar record in preceding months. Let me repeat that: Up to a third of the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq in July were caused by sophisticated explosive devices used by people trained in Iran, with those devices supplied by Iran. That means the Iranians and their agents are killing our troops.”

The Iranians “understand – sometimes, it seems, better than a lot of Americans do – that if American power collapses in Iraq, if we abandon our allies” then “our position throughout the region will become much weaker and Iran’s position much stronger,” Lieberman added. The Senate – including well over half of the Democrats – voted for the amendment, which passed 76-22. Obama, who was absent, said he opposed the amendment because it could be used as pretext to invade Iran. Obama denounced Kyl-Lieberman as “reckless” and criticized his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for supporting it.

But Obama’s assertion was patently false. As Lieberman pointed out, he and Kyl removed that language from the bill to address those very concerns. Even Sen. Richard Durbin, Obama’s fellow Illinois Democrat (who had already endorsed Obama for president), voted for the bill and said he disagreed with Obama’s argument against it.

However tough he tries to sound when talking to AIPAC, Barack Obama’s real sympathies are with the George Soros/MoveOn.org wing of the Democrat Party.


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