In case you missed it last week, Senator Joe Lieberman provided the missing two-part harmony to Senator John McCain’s famous riff on "Barbara Ann." But when McCain said, "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb-bomb Iran," he was joking, sort of. Lieberman, unfortunately, is serious.
Until now, calls for bombing Iran have been mostly limited to the unelected warmongers of the neoconservative right, led by the redoubtable Norman Podhoretz of Commentary and various denizens of the American Enterprise Institute and other think tanks. But in a September 29 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Lieberman joined their ranks, calling on President Obama to use the famous military option that he’s always leaving on the table.
Calling Iran "extreme," "expansionist," and "terrorist," Lieberman praised the sanctions that have been piling up against Iran this year. But he seems to have missed utterly the point of economic sanctions: if they work at all, they take time—years, in most cases. Lieberman seemed almost alarmed at the fact that the "fanatical" regime in Iran is probably going to come back to the negotiating table this month. He said:
"We have now come to the moment in this long struggle when the Iranian regime must understand that we will not wait indefinitely for sanctions to work."
How long is the senator from Connecticut willing to wait? Only until the end of 2010. And then:
"If [sanctions have] not produced meaningful change in Iran’s nuclear weapons policy by then, we will need to begin a national conversation about what steps should come next. This inevitably will involve consideration of military options."
Lieberman went on to wax orgasmic about the pleasure of blowing Iran to smithereens:
"It is time for us to take steps that make clear that if diplomatic and economic strategies continue to fail to change Iran’s nuclear policies, a military strike is not just a remote possibility in the abstract, but a real and credible alternative policy that we and our allies are ready to exercise if necessary. It’s time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table."
According to the CFR transcript, Lieberman received applause for these comments, rather than laughter, derision, catcalls and shouts of "Get that idiot out of here!"
Nor did any of the questioners in the Q&A that followed suggest that Lieberman was off his rocker. (One questioner, in fact, appears to have been the father of one of the people who advises Lieberman on national security.)