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Halting Joe-mentum Towards an Attack on Iran

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman has been escalating his hostile rhetoric towards Iran. On June 10, 2007, Lieberman told Face the Nation's Bob Schieffer: "I think we have to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq." When challenged by Schieffer to clarify his bold statement, Lieberman offered the following: “if there's any hope” of stopping Iran's nuclear program...we can't just talk to them. … We've got to use our force and to me that would include taking military action.” I wrote this open letter in response to Lieberman's comments.


Dear Senator Lieberman,

Under no conditions should the United States be threatening military action against Iran at this point in time. Under no conditions.

Senator, I don't know whether you saw a story that appeared in the NY Times a few weeks back, chronicling how Hezbollah has agents in several South American nations prepared to cross our porous southern border, and wreak havoc on the people of the United States. Perhaps you missed it. I didn't miss it. Job One of the United States Senate must be to protect our southern border, and guarantee the people of this nation that no Hezbollah or al Queda terrorist will be able to sneak in, and bring terror to the streets of New York, San Antonio, Los Angeles, or any American city. If you can't protect our borders from terrorist infiltration in the event of a military conflict with Iran, don't even think about threatening Iran.

Don't even think about it.

Let me make another point. The martial ideology advocated by the neo-cons failed spectacularly in Iraq. Yet, instead of being properly humbled by the failure of the policy that you helped champion, and apologizing to the American people for materially weakening our strategic position around the world, you have now turned your focus to Iran.

I tell you Senator, given your actions over the past few years, I can't decide who's the greater nutjob - you or the President?

The United States, with its military forces stationed in the midst of the Shiite heartland in Iraq, in the crossfire of a terrible civil conflict, is in no position whatsoever to be threatening war with Iran. Imagine what would happen to our brave men and women in Iraq if we suddenly, and foolishly, were drawn into a conflict with Iran? Imagine how many more would be killed, wounded, and maimed?

The only sensible approach to dealing with Iran involves diplomacy, and the United States regaining the intellectual high ground around the world through demonstration of compelling, visionary leadership. This type approach would likely involve a couple of key components:

- A call for a new round of Nuclear disarmament talks, with the U.S. pledging: a) to produce no new nuclear weapons; b) to reduce it's own current arsenal by a significant degree; c) and to adhere to a no first strike philosophy;

- a repudiation of the policy of regime change, a return to a cold-war strategy of containment.

If the United States ever hopes to triumph in the larger war of ideas, it is essential that it regain the intellectual and moral high ground in the eyes of the world. Once it can accomplish this, then a new alliance can be formed to combat the legitimate threat posed by the forces of Islamic extremism across the planet. But so long as so many in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, continue to see us as a greater threat to international stability than terrorists and unhinged foreign leaders, then this nation will remain on a trajectory of decline, and perhaps even on the path to its own eventual destruction.

Sincerely yours,

Matthew Carnicelli © 2007. All rights reserved.

Originally published June 16, 2007.