Joseph Wilson on Hillary and Iran

(Guest Post by Former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson)

On Iran, Hillary has been right in her strong criticism of Bush

I was pleased to see that last Monday Hillary joined Senator Jim Webb in co-sponsoring a bill that would prohibit the use of funds for military action in Iran without specific authorization from Congress. Last week, Hillary voted to support a non-binding resolution that designates the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. As a former diplomat, I have had considerable experience in the use of such resolutions to bring pressure – diplomatic pressure – to bear on a regime to rein in rogue elements. And make no mistake about it, the Guards are not only in operational control of Iran's policy toward Iraq and Afghanistan, where Iranian supplied munitions are costing American lives; they are agents of reaction and repression inside Iran. While it is a fact that the Bush administration's duplicity should give all Americans pause, we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that we have real enemies in the world, and that we must be prepared to exercise the appropriate levers of power in support of our interests.

Both Hillary and Jim Webb correctly worry that the administration is considering a preemptive military strike against Iran. That is why Hillary continues to confront the Bush-Cheney White House and to challenge the legitimacy of any attack against Iran without prior Congressional approval.


In February, at the first sign that the Bush-Cheney White House was laying the groundwork for an unauthorized war against Tehran, Hillary drew a bright red line in a speech on the Senate floor when she warned the President that he lacked the authority to take the nation to war against Iran.

Hillary has been right in her strong criticism of the Bush administration's refusal to talk directly to Iran about its nuclear program. She has deplored the refusal of the President to heed the counsel of senior statesmen like Jim Baker and Lee Hamilton to pursue diplomatic solutions. As President she will end the "shoot first, ask questions later" approach of this administration, aggressively support bilateral diplomacy and rebuild our alliances. I am confident that she will restore presidential leadership to the conduct of American foreign policy and exercise prudent statesmanship rather than instigate reckless wars.

In the intervening fourteen months, until January 20, 2009, she will continue to stand firm against any effort by this administration to sideline diplomacy, circumvent the Congress, or send our troops into another preemptive war.

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    Mr. Wilson, please comment on (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 07:41:45 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton's vote for Kyl-Lieberman.

    Ambassador Wilson, please (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by oculus on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 09:40:40 PM EST
    communicate to Hillary Clinton and to Wesley Clark how strongly participants at this forum support defunding the war in Iraq now and bringing the U.S. military home.  We appreciate Hillary Clinton's Senate votes for defunding and setting a firm withdrawal date, but we would very much appreciate her speaking out strongly on this issue, not only during her campaign, but also on the Senate floor before voting.  She has the bully pulpit and should use it for this purpose.  Polls establish the U.S. populace wants the U.S. out of Iraq as soon as possible.  Thank you.

    Put the Brakes On! (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by AshleyA on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 01:04:56 AM EST
    I think the strong criticism towards the Bush-administration is a good way help our nation on the War on Terror. In order to end another war, the Bush-Administration wants to start another? Bush is reaching way the constitution's limits. The Bush-administration needs to calmly take a step back and figure out an alternate route, otherwise America's headed for a big collision.

    Talk is Cheap (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by SanderO on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 06:31:41 AM EST
    Amb Wilson,

    I think we need to know what a real enemy is of the USA? Do you mean people in some nation which have animosity for the policies of the USA? Sure we have that sort of enemies. What can THEY do> Scream, protest... mischief at American property in THEIR country.

    Do we have state level "enemies"? Well if you mean governments which have made statements which indicate that they don't like the USA's policies and actions in various places around the world? We've heard rants from Castro, Chavez and others.

    But what is the threat from these nations to the PEOPLE of the USA?

    Are they going to attack America? Will there me an invasion on the shores of Cape Cod? Hell no. Never gonna happen.

    These "anti USA" government might seize USA corporate owned assets.. oil rigs and so forth located in THEIR countries. They might prevent USA corporations from doing business in their country like Kin Jong Il. Who cares? Who suffers? Americans don't. Koreans might.

    The fact is that the USA has an aggressive foreign policy which essentially is about making the world safe for trans national corporate business... involving resource exploitation, labor exploitation and access to offshore markets. I don't think that these are interests of the American people.

    Well we need oil, as it's the life blood of our economy. FIne. We can purchase it.

    When Buish came into power Oil was $23 a barrel, now it's $80+. We spent half a trillion "securing american (security - read oil) interests" in Iraq and Iran is the next target as are the Caucuses.

    We need to defend out shores, not our corporations.

    While I hate to see oppressive regimes, the USA has hardly used its military might for humanitarian purposes, especially if there is no strategic interest associated with it.

    The ISA government now serves the corporations first and the people's needs second. This is why we are told we have enemies and inset ourselves into the affairs of other nations where we have no business doing so.

    Further, We need to step aware from pre emptive war... and renounce the first use of nuclear weapons including DU.

    We also need to to remove the US military from bases around the world. They have no business being anywhere but on our shores or the high seas.

    "Former diplomat" (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by diogenes on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 08:15:54 PM EST
    Maybe the former diplomat Mr. Wilson can tell us how effective bilateral diplomacy has been in Darfur and Burma.

    You support Bush's war (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by glanton on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 10:23:40 PM EST
    and yet speak of "effective"?  And expect to be taken seriously?

    Stay alert, diogenes, and stay with Fox.


    military action (1.00 / 1) (#12)
    by diogenes on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 08:30:57 AM EST
    Military action with real troops has done wonders for minorities as Bosnia, Kosovo, and Kurdistan (i.e. Kurdish Iraq).
    I'm still waiting for results of diplomacy vis-a-vis Darfur, Burma, or Tibet.

    Not to be too snarky (none / 0) (#1)
    by manys on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 06:23:00 PM EST
    But this seems like a calculated move to mask her Iraq votes. The bigger deal they make about Iran, the more into the past the Iraq...unpleasantness...becomes. This way she can be the dove and be the anti-(Iranian)war candidate. She's out in front of her message!

    "Nonbinding Resolution" (none / 0) (#3)
    by Aaron on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 07:45:47 PM EST
    All due respect to Joe Wilson, who I believe is a true patriot, but nonbinding resolutions aren't worth the paper they're printed on, especially with this administration.

    Until the Congress starts passing binding resolutions and forcing the president to exceed to the people's will, then our representatives in Congress are just playing nonbinding political games with our mandate.

    The Democrats should start tacking on things like S-chip and everything else America is crying out for to every Iraq war funding bill that comes along, but they won't do that, because they just don't have the guts, they're too damn afraid of losing the ground they've gained.  

    Our Democratic representatives in Congress are willing to let George W. Bush go on running this country into the ground, thinking they'll repair the damage once there's a Democratic president. Perhaps this is a prudent tactic, but it also means that the American people, the US economy, and our nation will continue to deteriorate while we wait out this administration.  This also supposes that George Bush won't choose to act unilaterally with our military at some point, since the Congress has done nothing to try and hamstring this renegade president's power.

    George W. Bush can pretty much do anything he likes, the Congress might squawk a bit, but George knows they won't actually do anything...binding.  

    WW3 (none / 0) (#7)
    by ramasan on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 11:08:23 PM EST
    The Clintons seem to think the world is looking for a new Thatcher, which is exactly the LAST thing we need or want. Why go backwards?

    The world has changed in ways thet have yet to comprehend.  They still don't get that the peace movement was RIGHT and the Clintons were wrong.
    You would think they would ponder on that, but no.

    Iran's president continually alludes to a new spiritual awakening and brotherhood among all people. www.share-international.org has more on
    this, and it is well worth considering.

    Joseph Wilson supports the occupation regime (none / 0) (#8)
    by Andreas on Thu Oct 04, 2007 at 11:14:30 PM EST

    Hillary Clinton and Joseph Wilson represent US imperialism. That is why they agree with George Walker Bush to "designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization" and support the occupation regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    As the WSWS wrote in August:

    In a move with ominous implications, the Bush administration, according to articles in yesterday's New York Times and Washington Post, has resolved to brand the entire Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a "specially designated global terrorist" organization. In doing so, Bush will use powers provided under a presidential order signed shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    The highly provocative step not only sets the stage for intensified economic pressure on Tehran, but also formalises a potential casus belli for US military action against Iran.

    The decision to unilaterally criminalise a major branch of the military of a sovereign nation is unprecedented. The IRGC, which was formed after the 1979 Iranian revolution, has an estimated 125,000 soldiers and other personnel in its land, sea and air forces.

    The designation will place the IRGC in the same category as Al Qaeda, Lebanon's Shiite militia Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups, all of which have been attacked either by the US military or its Israeli allies, and their members detained and tortured as "terrorist" suspects.

    The pretext for the move is the unsubstantiated US claim that the IRGC is "interfering" in Iraq and Afghanistan and supporting "terrorist" groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. Bush administration and Pentagon officials have been engaged in an escalating propaganda offensive in recent weeks claiming that the IRGC, in particular its elite Quds Force, has been arming, training and directing Shiite militias engaged in attacking US troops in Iraq. ...

    The US propaganda against Iran bears an eerie resemblance to the lies used to justify the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    New provocation against Tehran - Bush to brand Iranian force as "terrorist"
    By Peter Symonds, 16 August 2007

    I'm Sorry But... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Alegre on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 09:39:52 AM EST
    Hillary Clinton and Joseph Wilson represent US imperialism.

    Don't you think that's just a tad bit bit over the top????


    I know this is a simple retort but (none / 0) (#9)
    by Eureka Springs on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 12:54:08 AM EST
    if Lieberman supported it and he did, it must be dangerous. No way would Lieberman vote to temper the rhetoric much more restrain Cheney or Bush in any way from an unfettered ability to attack Iran at will.

    I also wonder if this type of amendment is necessary binding or not. Perhaps it is since congress has abrogated over the years it constitutional power (Korea Viet Nam Iraq etc..) to declare war. What a pickle we are in and this vague bill is not appropriate with almost no discussion or debate, imo.

    And I cannot shake many disturbing things about Hillary who I have followed all of my life.. especially her statement in the last debate where she allows for Iraqi occupation through what may very well be her first term and beyond.

    Hillary may be leading but she is not demonstrating leadership by just voting correctly against war in the morning and declaring more endless war in prime time. Lets see her be consistent on both sides, perhaps write and submit her own bills. Lets see her lead where she should be now.

    We don't need her to coddle the current fascists and we don't need her to be ready to be a war criminal on day one who doesn't mind staying that way for years. We will never see the truth or accountability even after Jan '09 with her attitude.

    Joe, you stole the thread with the raw truth during firedoglake's McNearny visit, rightfully so, and I want to thank you again...but please be careful here... HC is not what many/you? want her to be.

    Having said all of this I would be interested to hear more about why you actually support her candidacy and wonder if you will run for Domenici's senate seat? I hope to hear you say yes very soon and have my email at the ready to notify everyone I know in New Mexico the moment you say so.

    Continued Presence in Iraq (none / 0) (#16)
    by Alegre on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 09:38:09 AM EST
    Correct me if I'm wrong here - but didn't ALL of our viable candidates say exactly the same thing during that debate?

    I'm no military expert but I think anyone who tells you we won't need a residual force in Iraq for some years to come is either lying - or they're fooling themselves (and US).


    Sorry, my mistake (none / 0) (#14)
    by Eureka Springs on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 09:04:28 AM EST
    Lieberman did not vote for the Webb amendment, HC did. I blame advil p.m. However, I stand with the rest of my concerns about HC and questions and hopes in the rest of my comment.

    coffee anyone? g

    Well Said Ambassador Wilson - Well Said! (none / 0) (#15)
    by Alegre on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 09:35:53 AM EST
    I'm so glad she's got the support of someone of your stature and experience.  Between you and General Clark, she's getting some amazing advice and counsel and I can't think of a better team to take us out of the dark days of the Bush administration.

    Keep up the great work sir - we've got your back!

    unlit lamp (none / 0) (#18)
    by diogenes on Fri Oct 05, 2007 at 06:21:31 PM EST
    Joseph Wilson was not executed by Saddam Hussein not because of his powers of moral persuasion but because Saddam Hussein did not want to provoke his own overthrow by military force.  Even the wimp George HW Bush would have finished the invasion in 1991 if Saddam killed an American ambassador.  A diplomat who always acts without backup military force is like a poker player who bluffs all the time; the other players eventually catch on.

    North Korea (none / 0) (#20)
    by diogenes on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 10:15:36 PM EST
    It ain't over 'til it's over with North Korea.  My bet is that they will either bait and switch at the last minute or that they have several nuclear warheads hidden away and thus will now pretend to be disbanding their nuclear program to prevent any future preemptive action.  We'll see.  Diplomacy certainly gave them more than enough time to develop nuclear weapons, and is doing little to slow down Iran.