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It’s primary time: Bill Clinton’s "evolving" Iran strategy
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Think Progress quotes former President Bill Clinton concerning Iran:
During a speech Friday at Kansas State University, President Bill Clinton warned against a military strike on Iran, saying it was unclear whether “we could take out whatever incipient nuclear efforts they have,” and that even if we could, it is “not clear it would be the most effective strategy.”

“Attacking them is a whole different kettle of fish,” Clinton said. “There are three times as many people as live in Iraq.” Clinton pointed out the growing pressure on Iranian President Ahmadinejad from the country’s political establishment, including many conservative elites. He also noted that Iran’s population is decidedly more moderate and pro-American than its leadership. “What we have to keep in mind in all of our dealings with Iran is not to forget about where two-thirds of the people are, …those two-thirds of the people have nothing to do with the terrorist operations, the training, and a lot of these other problems we’ve got.”

“We may not have to go to war, and we may not have a disaster,” he said. “And my view is, no matter what [President Bush] says, you need to talk to everybody before you bomb them.”
Ah. How nice. Of course, I think that's what has been attempted for, oh 4 years at least? I mean, even the glacially slow UN has finally grown tired of Iran's intransigence and authorized sanctions.

However, this present "strategy" Clinton spoke of (warning against military action) is apparently a new strategy for him. One might assume that's partly because, well, it's primary season and one should automatically take the opposite position of your ideological/political opponent (regardless of whether that is really what is best for the country). Of course it could also be because the Democrats are busily engaged in attempting to limit the President's responses to Iran.

Speaking previously of the Iran problem, Clinton said:
"I basically will try to support President Bush on this because I do not feel there is an easy answer here. My own view is we should never take the military option off the table. They should always wonder whether this is something that it might come to, because it could be very dangerous."
So which is it? We should never strike them (thereby taking the military option off the table) or we should hold that option open ("never take that option off the table")? Seems to me I'm hearing Clinton now say that we should indeed take the military option off the table.

Does it make sense to you to unilaterally give up any option when negotiating? Obviously it didn't make sense to Clinton either ... well, until recently apparently.

And Democrats are up to the same thing right now by loudly and unnecessarily trying to impose restrictions on the President concerning Iran. Essentially they want to unilaterally remove the military option from play while demanding the President negotiate with Iran. Seems contrary to what most folks would consider "negotiating 101" wouldn't you say?

I know, a desire for "a foolish consistency", the hobgoblin of little minds, eh?
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Obviously, you cannot handle nuance.

sarcasm/humor alert
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
"We may not have to go to war, and we may not have a disaster," he said. "And my view is, no matter what [President Bush] says, you need to talk to everybody before you bomb them."

Clinton acts like the wise man, counseling Americans that it may not be necessary to have a war with Iran, and in any case we should try diplomacy first before bombing, despite what Bush may be telling them to the contrary.

This feeds right into the preconceptions of the base that Bush is a crazy warmonger who has already decided to attack Iran, but the truth is that Clinton’s counsel echoes what the administration has been saying about Iran all along. It doesn’t contradict anything that "Bush says."

In fact, it was recently announced that the US would attend a pair of regional conferences on Iraq attended by its neighboring states, including Iran and Syria.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
This is hardly the first time Clinton’s walked both sides of the same street. It’d be nice if he’d shut up for a while instead of seeking the spotlight wherever he goes.
Written By: steverino
McQ... I don’t think your representation of Clinton’s position is accurate and I think your criticism of his statements is invalid.

Attempting to not go to war by pursuing peace talks is clearly not the same as taking the war option off the table. It seems to me that Clinton is making an accurate assessment of the current situation in Iran and encouraging actions that would produce the best possible outcome. (IE an outcome that resulted in the deaths of the fewest possible people.) It does not sound to me like he is removing the option of force, merely encouraging a peacful solution.

While you and many others may feel that there has been "enough" talking, I think the sentiments of the Iranian people expressed via their recent elections (Didn’t their Dear Leader’s party lose quite a few seats?) are very positive for international interests. I think continuing to encourage democracy in Iran through those opposition parties could be a much more peaceful course of action.

And if that doesn’t work, we can Nuke the ****ers. But we should at least try.
Written By: Shinobi
I think the biggest difference between the two remarks is who the audience was.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
I don’t recall President Bush ever saying that we are going to attach Iran (or did I miss something?). By taking this stand, which all will assume is the opposite of the President’s, he as much as accuses the President of being a warmonger. Good tactic for the Left, but dishonest to the extreme.
Written By: Wild Bill
URL: http://
Clinton must have amnesia again on how badly HE screwed up another threat scenairo he now trashes Bush on.

How he GAVE NUKE WEAPON PLANS TO IRAN they now threaten to use against us and our allies.,12271,1678134,00.html
Written By: RufusLeeKing
URL: http://
A President or former President should take the position of “Never say Never”, that only emboldens possible enemies. The possibility of an attack on Iran is a “Straw Man” designed by Bush’s enemies to pillory the president. It is not realistic. Because of cuts during the Clinton administration we do not have the military force to succeed in a conventional attack, and a nuclear strike would brand America as a pariah nation.

The most likely scenario would be for Israel to launch a nuclear attack on Iran’s reactors and enrichment facilities. Much of the world already considers Israel to be a pariah, so the political harm would be irrilivent.
Written By: James E. Fish
URL: http://
It doesn’t matter what Clinton, his presumptive wife, or any other Dem says. They will turn tail and run from their statements, votes, and promises at the first sign of difficulty or opposition at home.

They are politically spineless (as are a large portion of the GOP), and apparently don’t understand that there are some decisions that cannot be un-made. They’ve gotten away with their duplicitous abandonment of their reponsibilities over and over again; why would anyone trust them now?? Really, how hard is it to find many, many statements from the Bill Clinton/Harry Reid/Kerry/Rockefeller/Etc. crowd fully in support of deposing Saddam? Not very hard at all. So, where are they today? In full-throated denial of their vote, somehow thinking that purporting to be easily fooled cretins is somehow better than demonstrating the courage of their convictions, a la Lieberman.
Written By: Daveg
URL: http://
Shinobi seems to be correct that Clinton doesn’t really say we should take the military option off the table, although it does seem Clinton is playing partisan politics with this issue.

And what did Bill mean by this:
“And my view is, no matter what [President Bush] says, you need to talk to everybody before you bomb them.”

Talk to who? Should Bill have had a face-to-face with bin Laden before he nailed bin Laden’s camel with a cruise missle?
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I remember, and I am only going from memory here so details may be off, Clinton attacking Bush 1 during the election season for stopping Haitian refugees from landing in Florida. It was a big and repeated campaign issue. And immediately after becoming president, Clinton turned back the inevitable tide of Haitian refugees that tried to pour in.

I voted for Clinton but reluctantly and that was one result of campaign rhetoric he used that hurt a lot of people.

I hope he’s more careful now.
Written By: bb
Yes I think shi is factually correct. My view is that Bill is just playing politics. His statements don’t directly contradict each other, but are obviously at odds in their connotation. This can be explained simply by the audience he was talking to each time.

Tell the Jewish Federation Council we can’t take military action off the table, then tell a bunch of college students that we should have caution and diplomacy before big mean Bush attacks.
Written By: ChrisB
URL: http://
Aldo: you know what can happen to someone who uses to walk on both sides of the street (confused appeasers’, like that of Bill Clinton, suggestions)? You can have your balls easily torn off by passing cars...
Written By: Bogdan
URL: http://

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