There was more political posturing on the Iran issue today, as 30 senators sent a letter to the White House “warning President Bush not to take offensive military action against Iran without the consent of Congress.”
Noticeably absent from the list of signatories is presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-IL.
According to its authors, the letter was designed to clarify the ambiguity of the recent Kyl-Lieberman amendment designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Obama has been critical of that amendment as well as the Bush administration’s aggressive rhetoric towards Tehran. Yet the senator from Illinois turned down a request to sign on to the White House letter.
“I was surprised and disappointed,” John Isaacs, president of the Council for a Livable World and one of the catalysts behind the letter, told the Huffington Post. “I contacted virtually every office and to me it was a no-brainer that Obama and [Sen.] Biden [whose name was also not on the list] would both sign on. Neither did.”
The letter, which was spearheaded by Sen. Jim Webb, D-VA, was signed by presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, who voted for the Kyl-Lieberman provision, and Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, who opposed it.
The full text of the letter and the signatures is available here. So just what caused Barack Obama to balk at signing the letter? The Swamp reports:
Obama’s campaign just responded that the letter, led by Sen. Jim Webb, is not enough top deal with the situation.
“Senator Obama admires Senator Webb and his sincere and tireless efforts on this issue,” the campaign said in a statement. “But it will take more than a letter to prevent this administration from using the language contained within the Kyl-Lieberman resolution to justify military action in Iran. This requires a legislative answer and Senator Obama intends to propose one.”
Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt also said the Illinois Democrat on Thursday introduced a binding resolution that would “nullify the vote the Senate took to give the president the benefit of the doubt on Iran.”
We’ll see where this all goes next I suppose. In the meantime, the N.Y. Times just happens to have an interview with Obama in tomorrow’s edition and the headline just happens to read: Obama Pledges ‘Aggressive’ Iran Diplomacy. I still not convinced that Obama’s position is any different from Clinton’s on issues like Iran and Iraq. For a guy who’s been getting all up in arms about what he claims is Clinton not being clear on the issues, I think he might need to take a look in the mirror. His lack of experience is showing through in my book. There’s a very simplistic notion that the Dems should be unified in putting across to Bush on Iran: No War With Iran. Screw the posturing. They all should have signed the letter.