I was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and am now a journalist. I am the author of three New York Times bestselling books -- "How Would a Patriot Act" (a critique of Bush executive power theories), "Tragic Legacy" (documenting the Bush legacy), and With Liberty and Justice for Some (critiquing America's two-tiered justice system and the collapse of the rule of law for its political and financial elites). My fifth book - No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance State - will be released on April 29, 2014 by Holt/Metropolitan.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Joe Lieberman: Iran's Best Friend

By Anonymous Liberal

By Anonymous Liberal---As Glenn points out below, in his Washington Post op-ed today, Joe Lieberman all but declared war on Iran. Lieberman summed up the fault lines in the current conflict in Iraq thusly:

On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States.

Let's put aside for the moment the fact that this is an absurd description of the actual state of affairs in Iraq. Let's put aside the fact that Lieberman implies here, and throughout the piece, that al Qaeda and Iran are somehow in cahoots (which is totally ridiculous). Let's just accept Lieberman's premises, as simplistic and strange as they are. Let's assume for the sake of argument that Iran really is the Supreme Enemy and is pulling all the strings behind the scenes.

If you accept all that, you are left with one inescapable conclusion: our Supreme Enemy has no better friend than Joe Lieberman.

There can be little doubt that, from an Iranian perspective, our invasion and occupation of Iraq has been an extraordinary windfall. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Saddam's Iraq was Iran's chief enemy and regional rival. The two nations had fought a long and costly war that eventually ended in a stalemate. They were checks on each other's power.

But then, at the urging of Joe Lieberman (who co-sponsored the Iraq war resolution), we invaded Iraq. In doing so, we not only eliminated Iran's chief regional rival, we replaced Saddam's regime with a Shiite-led regime that is destined to become, if it hasn't already, a client state of neighboring Iran. Not only that, but in the process of implementing this regime change, we managed to get ourselves bogged down in an endless guerilla conflict which exposed our weaknesses, depleted our manpower and resources, and rendered us both unable and unwilling to confront Iran in any meaningful way.

And throughout this slow-motion trainwreck, there has been no more outspoken and influential advocate of this policy (other than the President himself) than Senator Joe Lieberman. Seriously, had Iran managed to plant a "Manchurian Candidate" in the United States Senate back in 2002, a candidate whose secret agenda was to advance in any way possible policies that benefit Iran, that Senator could not possibly have done a better job than Joe Lieberman actually did. Iran is in an infinitely better position than it was four years ago, and due almost entirely to policies for which Lieberman has been the chief advocate.

Lieberman claims that if we don't "win" in Iraq, it will be a big victory for Iran. But, as Steve Clemons points out, the government we're fighting to support, the al-Maliki government, has the support of Iran. To the extent "victory" is defined as leaving Iraq in the hands of this Shiite-run, Iran-friendly regime (which is what Lieberman seems to think), it's hard to see Iran being terribly upset by such an outcome. I believe this is what's called a win-win situation, at least from Iran's perspective (from ours it's pretty clearly a lose-lose).

Moreover, it was beyond predictable that the primary beneficiary of our invasion of Iraq would be Iran. Yet I don't remember Joe Lieberman giving this obvious consideration even a moment's thought in the lead up to the Iraq invasion.

Lest my sarcasm be misunderstood, I obviously don't think Lieberman has been consciously trying to help Iran. But there can be no doubt that the policies he has championed have benefited Iran, immeasurably, a fact which makes Lieberman's current lectures about the dangers of Iran all the more exasperating and intolerable.

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