New York Senator Hillary Clinton, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, will never be accused of being an anti-war firebrand when it comes to Iran. Her September 26 vote for a non-binding Senate amendment urging the Bush administration to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist entity only heightened concern about her hawkish views.

But, amid mounting concern that the 76-22 Senate vote in favor of the resolution would be read by the Bush administration as an authorization to ramp up preparations for an attack on Iran, Clinton is pulling back from the brink — and trying to get the rest of the Senate to do the same.

The senator has signed on as a co-sponsor of legislation requiring formal congressional approval for any attack on Iran.

The legislation, written by hawkish Virginia Senator Jim Webb, would bar the use of appropriated funds for war against Iran without authorization by the House and Senate.

“Any military action against Iran will have an immediate impact on our troops serving in Iraq, our allies in the region as well as long-term U.S. strategic interests,” says Clinton. “Senator Webb’s legislation insures that Congress will play its constitutional role of providing proper oversight over the administration’s policy toward Iran. Congressional oversight and debate can help avoid the mistakes and blunders that have afflicted U.S. policy in Iraq. We cannot allow recent history to repeat itself.”

Clinton’s stances on issues of war and peace are rarely reassuring. But in demanding that Congress play its proper role — something she failed to do prior to the attack on Iraq — the senator has come down on the right side of an essential question.