Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Most Democrats Won't Protest Iran Rhetoric

The Raw Story | As rhetoric builds, Democrats in Congress lie low on Iran:
"There is no formal consensus among Democrats on Iran. One Democrat – Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) – has endorsed the possibility of using airstrikes to “delay” Iran’s nuclear program, though most are more vague, saying they won’t take “any options” off the table. And they appear to be serious: Not even the Democrats’ liberal heavyweight in the House, Nancy Pelosi, has ruled out the possibility of using nuclear weapons, keeping 'all options' on the table, an aide said."
(. . .)
Asked about Democratic strategy on Iran, the aide said, “The strategy is simple: Give the Republicans enough rope and they’ll hang themselves.”
(. . .)

Not all Democrats are silent on Iran. Perhaps the most outspoken and most cogent voice is Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Speaking specifically about Iran to the Council on Foreign Relations in early April, Harman portrayed US intelligence on Iran as a potential minefield. (Harman's full remarks, along with that of former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin, are available here.)

“I think that some of the intelligence I see -- and I did ask to see the intelligence case on Iran -- is not close to where it needs to be,” Harman said. “I'm not going to reveal the classified information, but I did have a reaction in the briefing I got that some of this might be disinformation, not information. And I know we are passing around our intelligence case, the administration is, to the [International Atomic Energy Agency] and some of our allies.”

As the leading Democrat on the Committee, Harman is one of only four Democratic members of Congress who receive top-level briefings from US intelligence agencies. This is part of the party’s struggle – one senior Democratic aide said that nearly all Democrats were in the dark because of their lack of access to the latest intelligence.


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