You remember Kyl-Lieberman, right? It became a big issue in the primary because Hillary Clinton supported it. She took lots of heat primarily because it classified Iran's Revolutionary Guard as an international terrorist organization. This week, after McCain criticized Obama for opposing the measure, Obama said he opposed it because of its implications for the war in Iraq, not because of its language on the Revolutionary Guard.
The right-wing press is accusing Obama of flip-flopping, but this, in fact, has been Obama's position all along, or at least since he finally clarified his position. He was wrong then, and he's wrong now.
Here's Obama, in yesteday's speech.
And we should work with Europe, Japan and the Gulf states to find every avenue outside the UN to isolate the Iranian regime - from cutting off loan guarantees and expanding financial sanctions, to banning the export of refined petroleum to Iran, to boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which has rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.
What was wrong with designating Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization? It's obvious, no? Jim Webb put it quite well.
Webb said that amendment’s attempt to categorize the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp as “a foreign terrorist organization” would, for all practical purposes, “mandate” the military option against Iran. “It could be read as tantamount to a declaration of war. What do we do with terrorist organizations? If they are involved against us, we attack them.”
Shakes put it even better:
It's exactly this kind of asinine, belligerent posturing that empowers the Iranian mullahs and makes life eminently more difficult for moderate Iranian reformers who don't support the mullahs and who don't support Ahmadinejad and who also don't want to fight a war with America.
Let me add a couple of final points. This kind of measure undermines the kind of diplomacy with Iran that Obama supports. And to call the soldiers of a nation terrorists is to broaden the definition of terrorism to the point that it ceases to have meaning. Or, to the point where it means whatever we want it to mean. This measure essentially redefined terrorism to mean "our enemies." We know from Orwell that such despoiling of language leads to troubling political consequences.
This is an awful position. (Like a lot of other people, I missed the moment in the fall when he took it.). Please don't give me any nonsense about pragmatism; he didn't have to take this saber-rattling position to win.
Speak up, progressives.