The Pentagon's most likely next target is Iran.
Hillary Clinton says "no option can be taken off the table."
Barack Obama says that the Iranian government is "a threat to all of
us" and "we should take no option, including military action, off
John Edwards says, "Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to
have nuclear weapons." And: "We need to keep all options on the
A year ago, writing in the New Yorker, journalist Seymour Hersh reported:
"One of the military's initial option plans, as presented to the White
House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical
nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."
For a presidential candidate to proclaim that all "options" should
on the table while dealing with Iran is a horrific statement. It
signals willingness to threaten and possibly follow through with
first use of nuclear weapons. This raises no eyebrows among
Washington's policymakers and media elites because it is in keeping
with longstanding U.S. foreign-policy doctrine.
This year, with their virtually identical statements about "options"
and "the table," the leading Democratic presidential candidates
Clinton, Obama and Edwards have refused to rule out any kind of
attack on Iran.
If you're not shocked or outraged yet, consider this:
On Feb. 22, the national leaders of MoveOn sent an e-mail letter to
more than 3 million people with the subject line "War with Iran?"
After citing a need to give UN sanctions "a chance to work before
provoking a regional conflict," the letter said flatly: "Senator
Hillary Clinton has provided some much needed leadership on this."
The MoveOn letter quoted a passage from a speech that Clinton had
given on the Senate floor eight days earlier: "It would be a mistake
of historical proportion if the administration thought that the 2002
resolution authorizing force against Iraq was a blank check for the
use of force against Iran without further congressional
authorization. Nor should the president think that the 2001
resolution authorizing force after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, in
any way, authorizes force against Iran. If the administration
believes that any, any use of force against Iran is necessary, the
president must come to Congress to seek that authority."
But, while quoting Hillary Clinton's speech as an example of "some
much needed leadership," MoveOn made no mention of the fact that the
same speech stated: "As I have long said and will continue to say,
U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not,
we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in
dealing with this threat, as I've also said for a long time, no
option can be taken off the table."
Earlier this year, David Rieff noted in the New York Times Magazine
on March 25, "Vice President Cheney insisted that the administration had
not 'taken any options off the table' as Iran continued to defy United Nations
calls for it to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The response from Democrats was
not long in coming. Senator Clinton helped lead the charge, reminding the president
that he did not have the authority to go to war with Iran on the basis of the
Senate's authorization of the use of force in Iraq in 2002.
"But what Senator Clinton did not say was at least as interesting as
what she did say. And what she did not say was that she opposed the
use of force in Iran. To the contrary, Senator Clinton used virtually
the same formulation as Vice President Cheney. When dealing with
Iran, she insisted, 'no option can be taken off the table.'"
To praise Hillary Clinton for providing "much needed leadership"
Iran and to mislead millions of e-mail recipients counted as
MoveOn members in the process is a notable choice to make. It
speaks volumes. It winks at Clinton's stance that "no option can be
taken off the table." It serves an enabling function. It is very
The stakes are much too high to make excuses or look the other way.