For months now, Indiana Senator Evan Bayh has been traveling all across the country fashioning himself as the latest incarnation of warrior Democrat. A key part of Bayh’s routine is talking "tough" on Iran. Bayh says Bush "was right to label Iran part of the axis of evil," and agrees with the President that a military strike option should remain on the table. Bayh recently introduced a Senate resolution calling for strict sanctions on the Iranian regime–including cutting off supplies of refined gasoline, denying foreign investment and isolating the regime "diplomatically, financially, and culturally."
No doubt Iran is a bad actor and its anti-semitic President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a full-blown lunatic. But these sanctions sound very much like a pretext to war. If anything, they will only intensify Iran’s effort to develop a nuclear weapon. Which is why Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Bayh to take a chill pill on Sunday. From ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Lugar, time for sanctions?
LUGAR: I would hold off for the time being until we’re certain that they’re going to be effective. And they will not be effective without European friends who are in our negotiations quite apart from the Chinese, the Indians and the others.
I believe, for the moment, that we ought to cool this one, too. The rhetoric has been pretty hot and heavy with the president of Iran on TV constantly. It appears to me they’re not making that muchheadway. And we need to make more headway diplomatically.
Well said. If anyone wants to imagine what war with Iran might look like, read Sy Hersh’s terrifying new piece in The New Yorker.