Iran Amendment Passes Senate

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Sep 26, 2007 at 17:24

Yet another great achievement for the Democratic Senate:

By a vote 76-22, the Senate passed the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which threatens to "combat, contain and [stop]" Iran via "military instruments." Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) called the amendment "Cheney's fondest pipe dream" and said it could "read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action."

Only Twenty-two Senators voted no, and it is something of an odd collection:

Biden (D-DE), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA), Brown (D-OH), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Dodd (D-CT), Feingold (D-WI), Hagel (R-NE), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Leahy (D-VT), Lincoln (D-AR), Lugar (R-IN), McCaskill (D-MO), Sanders (I-VT), Tester (D-MT), Webb (D-VA), Wyden (D-OR)

Obama did not vote. Clinton voted yes. Although this is obviously very bad, I can think of two bright spots:

  • The anti-Iran war faction in the Senate starts out far more bi-partisan and cross-ideological than the original anti-Iraq war faction in the Senate. Back then, only Lincoln Chafee and progressive Dems voted against the AUMF. This time, conservatives Lugar and Hagel are already opposed, and several more conservative Democrats are also opposed. This speaks positively to the potential for a broad, future coalition opposing military action in Iran.

  • Second, the worst parts of the amendment were removed earlier today. Originally, the proposal included these two paragraphs:

    (3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and [stop] the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

    (4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.

    That language would have functionally served as an AUMF, or at least made an AUMF against Iran impossible to defeat.

In a post earlier today, I wrote that I didn't get the anti-Clinton arguments being made by progressives, because the differences between her and other Democratic candidates did not appear to be all that great. Well, this level of saber-rattling against Iran is an undeniably wide gap between at least Clinton and Dodd / Biden. I have to say, Dodd certainly is voting the right way, talking the right way, and at least making a real effort to lead on issues in the Senate, even if there has been little success so far. I really wish he would get more traction in Iowa and New Hampshire--he deserves a much larger place in the discussion.

The entire "sense of the Senate" amendment on Iran can by found in the extended entry. If you in any way doubt the desire of many in Washington to take military action against Iran, read this lengthy document.

Chris Bowers :: Iran Amendment Passes Senate
Here are the gruesome details:

  (a) Findings.--The Senate makes the following findings:

  (1) General David Petraeus, commander of the Multi-National Force Iraq, stated in testimony before a joint session of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives on September 10, 2007, that ``[i]t is increasingly apparent to both coalition and Iraqi leaders that Iran, through the use of the Iranian Republican Guard Corps Qods Force, seeks to turn the Shi'a militia extremists into a Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests and fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq''.

  (2) Ambassador Ryan Crocker, United States Ambassador to Iraq, stated in testimony before a joint session of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives on September 10, 2007, that ``Iran plays a harmful role in Iraq. While claiming to support Iraq in its transition, Iran has actively undermined it by providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state''.

  (3) The most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, published in August 2007, states that ``Iran has been intensifying aspects of its lethal support for select groups of Iraqi Shia militants, particularly the JAM [Jaysh al-Mahdi], since at least the beginning of 2006. Explosively formed penetrator (EFP) attacks have risen dramatically''.

  (4) The Report of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, released on September 6, 2007, states that ``[t]he Commission concludes that the evidence of Iran's increasing activism in the southeastern part of the country, including Basra and Diyala provinces, is compelling ..... It is an accepted fact that most of the sophisticated weapons being used to `defeat' our armor protection comes across the border from Iran with relative impunity''.

  (5) General (Ret.) James Jones, chairman of the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, stated in testimony before the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate on September 6, 2007, that ``[w]e judge that the goings-on across the Iranian border in particular are of extreme severity and have the potential of at least delaying our efforts inside the country. Many of the arms and weapons that kill and maim our soldiers are coming from across the Iranian border''.

  (6) General Petraeus said of Iranian support for extremist activity in Iraq on April 26, 2007, that ``[w]e know that it goes as high as [Brig. Gen. Qassem] Suleimani, who is the head of the Qods Force ..... We believe that he works directly for the supreme leader of the country''.

  (7) Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the president of Iran, stated on August 28, 2007, with respect to the United States presence in Iraq, that ``[t]he political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly. Soon we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course we are prepared to fill the gap''.

  (8) Ambassador Crocker testified to Congress, with respect to President Ahmedinejad's statement, on September 11, 2007, that ``[t]he Iranian involvement in Iraq--its support for extremist militias, training, connections to Lebanese Hezbollah, provision of munitions that are used against our force as well as the Iraqis--are all, in my view, a pretty clear demonstration that Ahmedinejad means what he says, and is already trying to implement it to the best of his ability''.

  (9) General Petraeus stated on September 12, 2007, with respect to evidence of the complicity of Iran in the murder of members of the Armed Forces of the United States in Iraq, that ``[t]e evidence is very, very clear. We captured it when we captured Qais Khazali, the Lebanese Hezbollah deputy commander, and others, and it's in black and white ..... We interrogated these individuals. We have on tape ..... Qais Khazali himself. When asked, could you have done what you have done without Iranian support, he literally throws up his hands and laughs and says, of course not ..... So they told us about the amounts of money that they have received. They told us about the training that they received. They told us about the ammunition and sophisticated weaponry and all of that that they received''.

  (10) General Petraeus further stated on September 14, 2007, that ``[w]hat we have got is evidence. This is not intelligence. This is evidence, off computers that we captured, documents and so forth ..... In one case, a 22-page document that lays out the planning, reconnaissance, rehearsal, conduct, and aftermath of the operation conducted that resulted in the death of five of our soldiers in Karbala back in January''.

  (11) The Department of Defense report to Congress entitled ``Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq'' and released on September 18, 2007, consistent with section 9010 of Public Law 109-289, states that ``[t]here has been no decrease in Iranian training and funding of illegal Shi'a militias in Iraq that attack Iraqi and Coalition forces and civilians ..... Tehran's support for these groups is one of the greatest impediments to progress on reconciliation''.

  (12) The Department of Defense report further states, with respect to Iranian support for Shi'a extremist groups in Iraq, that ``[m]ost of the explosives and ammunition used by these groups are provided by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force ..... For the period of June through the end of August, [explosively formed penetrator] events are projected to rise by 39 percent over the period of March through May''.

  (13) Since May 2007, Ambassador Crocker has held three rounds of talks in Baghdad on Iraq security with representatives of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

  (14) Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress on September 10, 2007, with respect to these talks, stating that ``I laid out the concerns we had over Iranian activity that was damaging to Iraq's security, but found no readiness on Iranians' side at all to engage seriously on these issues. The impression I came with after a couple rounds is that the Iranians were interested simply in the appearance of discussions, of being seen to be at the table with the U.S. as an arbiter of Iraq's present and future, rather than actually doing serious business ..... Right now, I haven't seen any sign of earnest or seriousness on the Iranian side''.

  (15) Ambassador Crocker testified before Congress on September 11, 2007, stating that ``[w]e have seen nothing on the ground that would suggest that the Iranians are altering what they're doing in support of extremist elements that are going after our forces as well as the Iraqis''.

  (b) Sense of Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate--

  (1) that the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region, the prospects for democracy for the people of the region, and the health of the global economy;

  (2) that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi'a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq, including by overwhelming, subverting, or co-opting institutions of the legitimate Government of Iraq;

  (3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;

  (4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;

  (5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224; and

  (6) that the Department of the Treasury should act with all possible expediency to complete the listing of those entities targeted under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2006 and March 24, 2007, respectively.

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Okay, but the presumptive front runner (0.00 / 0)
of the Democratic presidential primaries voted yea on this. There isn't an upside , not in the political sense or substantive.

Well (4.00 / 1)
I didn't mean to imply at all that this was good. I was just trying to find the silver lining.

[ Parent ]
Silver lining? (0.00 / 0)
These postures are the slow chess moves that will redefine the language of the debate leading to another war in 5 to 10 years.

[ Parent ]
Personally I don't find (0.00 / 0)
any of the Sense Of The Senate language objectionable except for #5 regarding the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. That is the one that Webb objected to also.

Other than that in a practical sense Iran is helping keep us in Iraq which is something none of us want.

[ Parent ]
I amazed (0.00 / 0)
at this point how so many of you so-called political junkies and experts etc can be a) so naive and b) short sighted. are you seriously going to argue a 4 walls of the document argument? please tell me that's not your argument within the greater context.

[ Parent ]
Democratic failure is never objectionable (0.00 / 0)
defeats are spun into victories. Bad votes are minimized, or ignored. The lack of any discipline in the caucus is to be embraced as a positive signifying diversity, as opposed to the negative that is the monolithic GOP that achieves far more in relation to their actual numbers then the Democrats ever could without a 150-seat majority in the House, or a 25-seat majority in the Senate. THe Democrats control both chambers, yet the agenda is still Republican, resolutions that could have been authored by PNAC, or Karl Rove make it to the floor with astounding speed, then pass overwhelmingly. Try to imagine a body controlled by Trent Lott, Mike Mansfield, Lyndon Johnson, Sam Rayburn, Tip O'Neill, or Newt Gingrich letting crap that reinforces the opposition's narrative onto the floor of the House, or Senate. It would have never happened. Neither Reid, or Pelosi have no control over their caucuses. It's an embarrassment. 

[ Parent ]
Silver Lining? (0.00 / 0)
Are you out of your gourd?

[ Parent ]
happily (0.00 / 0)
my Democratic Senator (McCaskill) voted "Nay". I'm pleasantly surprised.

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

Why isn't Clinton a Bush Dog? (0.00 / 0)
I was hoping you would write on Lieberman-Kyl.  I'd heard about HRC's vote before I read your piece "Anti'Hillary?  I Don't Get It."

What I honestly don't get is how anyone could confuse HRC with a progressive.  Progressives don't warmonger to show they're tough;  they don't take directorships at Wal-Mart; and they don't curry favor with Rupert Murdock and insurance companies.  Where is the corporate cash going?  I could be wrong, but I don't believe any Republican has received as much as Clinton. 

re: Why isn't Clinton a Bush Dog? (0.00 / 0)
Probably because she has one of the best Progressive Ratings in the Senate. At different points in time she ranks higher that Obama or Edwards.

[ Parent ]
So it should be easy to... (0.00 / 0) one progressive issue she has successfully taken the lead on.  Ever.

[ Parent ]
For One (0.00 / 0)
Minority Healthcare.


You can just google and find others. When finding the link above I saw a link that said starting in 2001 she has sponsored 332 bills with 278 never making it out of committee. Of course most of those 286 were when the Repubs were in the majority.

So you are right - it was easy.

She not only ranks high in Progressive ranking but in Progressive bills which btw, most organizations when they rate congress people factor in both votes and bills sponsored or co-sponsored.

Sorry to bust your bubble.

[ Parent ]
That's it? (0.00 / 0)
I followed your link and found nothing but a bill which appears to not have been voted on and which HRC didn't even mention in tonight's debate despite questions on her healthcare "successes".  So  Hillary was pandering; what else is new?  The question is "What has she done?"

HRC will often pay such lip service to the left, but the Health Insurance Companies still get to write her health plan.  Which is only fair, they paid a lot for the privilege.

[ Parent ]
Are You Lame (0.00 / 0)
or just can't read? Most of here bills and the bills of other Dems were held up by the Repub majority as I wrote. Sorry you don't understand how congress works.

What bills of any significance did any Dem sponsor or co-sponsor that actually got voted on during the Repub majority? Duh!

[ Parent ]
The question was "What has she done for progressives? - ever." (0.00 / 0)
HRC has been running as the "experienced" candidate. Apparently that includes time before her (as you admit) "do nothing" six years in the Senate.  How about the time spent setting back universal health care for decades (for which she has been handsomely rewarded by the insurance companies)? How about the time spent representing the rich and powerful with the Rose Law Firm? How about the time spent as a director of Wal-Mart? 

I asked a simple question, and you (unable to come up with even one example) respond by personally attacking me. I'm through with you. Amateur.

[ Parent ]
All I Can Suggest (0.00 / 0)
for you to do given that you have no sense of reason is to look up her Progressive Rating by any number of Progressive organizations and you will find her in the top ten if not higher.

You might start by finding the post on mydd that Chris Bowers linked to not too long ago that pointed out her high Progressive ratings. Then after you read what he agreed with that echos what I have said we will see who is the amateur.

edit: In fact here. Read 'em and weep.

BTW you can google up many more ratings.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (0.00 / 0)
I have to say that you amaze me more and more every day in your thinking on Hillary.  How can you say there is no difference between JRE, Obama, and Hillary.  JRE has never taken lobbyist money ever, and Obama is not taking lobbyist money right now.  Hillary has always taken lobbyist money and you don't see this as a big difference?  No real progressive would take lobbyist money ever.  You are WRONG.

Wrong X2 (0.00 / 0)
JRE has never taken lobbyist money ever, and Obama is not taking lobbyist money right now.

Actually both take money DIRECTLY from companies that have DC lobbyists - they just don't take it from the lobbyists themselves. Big difference huh? No not actually but it is a big scam.

Here is the game. I want your money but I want to say I don't take it from lobbyists. So just cut me a check directly and I can pull the wool over everyones eyes.

Don't ever think the Obama and Edwards aren't "politicians" and are not taking money from the very same companies that they slam Clinton for taking money from!

[ Parent ]
what's your screen name on mydd? (0.00 / 0)
that's a common talking point by Clinton supporters to justify the money she takes from lobbists. Well, that or pretending its a non issue. It's been refute pretty thoroughly so many times its clear you aren't interested in the truthfulness of what you assert.

[ Parent ]
I don't post at Mydd (0.00 / 0)
But it's not just a talking point it's fact. There are many articles from reputable sources that mention some of the companies both take money from that have DC lobbyists. Obama has taken money from state lobbyists also who are represent the same companies that have federal lobbyists. Not a lot of degrees of separation when the money originates from the same companies. All they are doing is eliminating the middleman which is not eliminating the source they are beholden to for the money.

You can google up the article if you want as they are not hard to find.

[ Parent ]
I frankly dont believe you. (0.00 / 0)
Once I cross that thresh hold with a poster I don't bother to respond. You answers and analysis are exactly out of the Clinton supporters handbook 101. They are too exact.

[ Parent ]
OK Goodbye (0.00 / 0)
and frankly I don't care what you believe as it makes no difference.


[ Parent ]
The vote breakdown (0.00 / 0)
What's interesting is how it broke down, especially compared to who voted for the war in 2002:

Aging senators who made a big to-do about their foreign policy bonafides and voted for the bill in 2002 such as Biden, Lugar, Hagel, Dodd, Kerry (remember Biden-Lugar?) would have none of it.

Harkin, Cantwell, and Blanche Lincoln (from a red state!) switched to vote against it.

New senators from reddish states--Webb, McCaskill, Klobuchar, Tester (and of course Brown and Sanders) voted against it, with Webb leading the charge.

In 2002, there were five senators who know defense policy well and I really respect that voted against the war: Reed, Leahy, Levin, Durbin, and Bingaman. Durbin, Reed, and Levin voted for the amendment this time around (although Durbin, to his credit, spent his time on the floor making sure grafs 3 and 4 were removed).

Hillary AND Bayh voted for it. When asked about it on a press conference Monday (according to the video but I couldn't really hear so I could be wrong) they said they hadn't heard about the amendment.

The reason I keep on gravitating to Obama is that I think Hillary could wage war on Iran, Obama wouldn't (and his advisors are the type of "liberal hawks" who wouldn't consider it despite any talk he's given on investment), and Edwards strikes me as an oppourtunistic cipher on foreign policy who is good at driving home a message but has underwhelming instincts.

I think its overwhelmingly clear that if the dems want to put forward a new, robust, offensive message on foreign policy and confront the nagging spectre of cultural politics without swinging too far to the center than Jim Webb is the obvious choice for VP. Hell, he can even tell stories well. And he spent a year in Beirut in the 1980s.

I think the debate today will hash some of this Iran crap out, vaguely.

Lugar can never bring anyone with him. (0.00 / 0)
It really surprises me.

Lugar is an independent thinker and occasionally, an independent actor.  It's not too hard to find instances where he went against the Administration, even though they're on B list issues like Bolton and not A list issues like Iraq (although, the Biden-Lugar amendment to the AUMF could quite possibly have stopped the war right before it started, so even there he tried to do something serious).

And yet, for all the verbal respect everyone everywhere gives him, he never actually pulls any votes with him when we need them.  Guys like Lamar Alexander who ought to be following Lugar like puppydogs just don't.  On votes like this one, Lugar will come over to our side, but he won't bring 8 or 12 other Republicans with him.  That continues to surprise me.

I've had it with Hillary (0.00 / 0)

  America deserves better leadership than this craven, bloodthirsty, warmongering AIPAC lapdog.

  We need a female Joe Lieberman like we need to dive into a pool of horse piss.

  If we do go to war with Iran, may she experience the most excruciating physical pain possible for the rest of her life.

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn


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